In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m taking a look at my long time muse, my Mom. My Mom is by no means a typical lady or mother, but is definitely an inspiration and example of strength and beauty.
When I was growing up, I spent more time being embarrassed of my Mom and disagreeing with her than appreciating her. I was embarrassed by her accent on certain words, not understanding American conventions and systems, and her need to make a point when I would rather walk away. She was strict and a force to be reckoned with, making my sister and I hold squat positions as punishment instead of grounding us. As a teenager I was a particular handful running away, talking back, and choosing to not live with her for a year. We weren’t exactly close nor did we see eye-to-eye.
But even in the harder years of our relationship, I was lucky to have my Mom. She took care of my sister, me, and the household so we could do every extracurricular activity you could think of without worrying how we would get there. When I decided I wanted to take dance classes at age six, she signed me up on the spot. She took us to the library as much as we wanted and gave us Spanish lessons in the backyard. She helped my Brownie troop even when she was judged by the other moms for doing things her own (unconventional) way and not being familiar with traditions. She made dance recital costumes and cheerleading outfits that always had her own flair (and sometimes made me cringe), but the bottom line was she would stay up all hours of the night to create anything we needed. She dealt with the catty attitudes of other parents and my lip as I just wanted to fit in. If anyone said anything mean about me, my Mom was the first and fiercest to defend me. She told me who to stay away from, even when I didn’t want to listen, and no matter what, rejoiced in everything I did and accomplished.
When I moved away to college, I saw my Mom in a different light. Space and other circumstances allowed me to look back and see the things I hadn’t really acknowledged about her. My Mom was an independent woman with her own goals and ideas for herself. She bravely came to the United States and left her entire family in the Philippines after she was married. She chose to stay home with my sister and I growing up for our own good and didn’t make us partake in certain traditions of hers so we could assimilate. She took care of two children alone when my Dad was stationed away from home. She made personal sacrifices she never pointed out to me until I thought to ask why she made certain choices. She went through a hard divorce and broke down, but she did the best she could and got back up. She taught me very clearly what unconditional love is. She faces family drama for the sake of my sister and I. And through my recent hard times, my Mom took on my burden, checked in on me, but let me have space to work through it, though not alone. She told me she may not always know what to say or what to do, but she would always listen and always be there for me, no matter when.
My Mom always has a point of view, marches to the beat of her own drum, and is hard not to notice. She grills people she first meets, not to be mean, but it’s just her nature to make people (waiters especially) blush bright red. When you’re not being grilled, you’re probably laughing in her presence. Her outfits are always thought out and often altered to make them a bit more special. At 5’2″ and slim, she has style and a figure girls my age envy. Men hit on her daily and she tries to set them up with one of her daughters. She laughs as she tries to learn how the kids dance these days and teaches ballroom dance lessons at the age of 57. She is grateful every day and reminds be to be happy that I’m “alive and kicking.” She shows me what it is to know who you are and not be ashamed of it.
As I grow and mature, I am happy when I find things about myself that I get from my mother. It may be in my fashion style or the way I fiercely love my friends and family, but whenever I’m compared to my mother, I consider it a compliment. She’s a wonderful mother to me, and an amazing lady overall.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.
Image Layout: StephanieD
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