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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Everyday Hero

My childhood was a little unusual. What I meant (among other things) is that I didn't grow-up in a typical home where the dad went to work every morning, mom took care of the children and managed the household. Granted that nowadays that type of setup is archaic. But I am writing about back in the 1970's when majority of the kids I knew lived like that. I have one memory of having dinner together as a family and that was when my mom tried to make the fried chicken recipe of Savory Restaurant in Manila...and she burned the chicken. I grew-up in a home where my meals were prepared by my grandma and shared my meals with them. They saw to it that I was fed, healthy and safe. They saw to it that I made it to school every morning and I got back safely in the afternoon. I grew-up apart from my younger sister and only saw her on weekends, school breaks or just by passing in school. Our parents married very young. In fact, by the time my mom was 20 years old, she already had me and my younger sister. I was raised by our paternal grandparents in the city and she was raised by our maternal grandparents in the village while our very young parents finished college. It wasn't the most ideal set-up, but it worked. I guess I could say now that everybody had a role in my growing-up. From our distant relatives, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, neighbors and friends - it really took a village to raise me. 

My mom was not a typical mother at all. I have no memory of her as a child just lounging around waiting for time to pass or socializing with other moms in school. She was always on the go. Always working, always giving, always doing her best to survive. I grew-up spending my time after school and on weekends helping out in my mother's apparel store at the local market. The market was always open, from sunup to sundown. And my mother was there even on holidays, Christmas and New Year, too. She often gave everyone else the days off, so guess who worked with her on those big holidays? Me, my younger sister and I remember a few times she was able to force our dad to sit and be a lookout for shoplifters.  I was so embarrassed when the rich kids from school would come to the market and see me working or bagging their stuff for them. I resented my mom for working too much. For not being the kind of mom who tended the home and waited for us with our snacks ready when we got home from school, just like my best friend's mom. I wished my mom took time to join the PTA or participated in our school activities. I wished she made it to my school performances or simply had the time to learn to cook. I wished she paid more attention to us growing-up. 

Now that I am much older, I realize that as a child I focused more on what I did not have, as most children do. As a parent of one adult son and almost adult daughter, I now find solace in looking back and feel no regret or bitterness whatsoever. I find myself feeling grateful that my mom was not a typical homemaker kind of a mom. I'm glad that she was the kind who was very driven, powerful, ambitious and pushy. Two words immediately come to mind to describe my mother, they're gutsy and tenacious. My mom is the gutsiest person I know, bar none. She's always encouraged me and my younger sisters to go after what we want and we learned from her that if there's a will, the way will always show-up. Clearly, she raised three daughters who kick ass, daughters who do not limit themselves to stereotypes and gender biases. Our mom is almost 65 now and when I look back at where she was and where we all were; and how she paved the way to give us the kind of lives we now possess...I feel nothing but gratitude because my mom has never been the kind of person who gets easily overwhelmed by roadblocks. Sometimes I wonder how she did it or how she overcome the things that could easily stop others from even trying. Mom tells people she's retired, but I don't think she even knows what the word retired means. She's busier than ever and always setting goals to achieve. Be it her businesses or more properties to acquire in the Philippines, working on her house and garden, caring for her grandchildren and staying active. My mother's willpower is out of this world. Often when we have our weekly dinners at her house, I watch her and think to myself...I hope to inherit her unwavering strength and I hope and pray that she stays healthy and strong for many years - because I cannot imagine a world where she's not in it. 

So, mom...this Mother's Day I want to say thank you for teaching me to work at an early age and for not being an ordinary mom. Thank you for being a Super Mom. I love you!

Thank you folks for stopping by. The list of products used to create this card is below. Happy Mother's Day to all of you amazing and crafty moms out there.

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