What they’ve learned from their mothers
I was seated at a café the other day waiting for my daughter to come back from her first-ever job interview a few buildings away when suddenly a memory came to me.
Just as my mother had done for me 26 years ago, there I was seated in a café, waiting for my first-born to hurdle a milestone.
I suppose, among all the lessons that my mother has taught me, this is the one that I have mastered by heart. That at various periods in a child’s life, as he or she navigates the road to adulthood (and sometimes, even beyond), it is important for the mother to be there to show her unconditional love and support, and for the child to know and feel that, no matter what happens, mom will be there.
The paradox of parenting is such that we do our best to nurture our children’s roots while they are still in our nests so we can prepare them to one day leave the nest and soar with strong and stable wings.
My mom has always been there for me, but at some point she had to learn to let me go and live my life, make my mistakes as she watched cautiously from a distance.
I have always been secure in the knowledge that whatever happens, I will have my family of origin to fall back on. Yes, there have been turbulent years—what family does not have them anyway? And what mother-child relationship has not gone through rough periods marked by silence, sometimes punctuated by harsh words but always in the end, overcome by love, forgiveness and redemption?
In addition to unconditional love and support, my mother taught me tolerance and kindness. In spite of her celebrity, she looked at everyone equally, and always had that gift of making people feel important.
Whether you were a CEO or an elevator operator, Mom would treat you with the same kindness and respect. “Pare-pareho lang iyan. Sabi nga ng daddy mo, lahat tayo pumupunta sa banyo tuwing umaga (Everybody’s the same. Like your daddy always said, we all have to go to the bathroom every morning),” she always liked to say.
Mommy can be quite frank and quick to the draw at times, but she also taught me the value of forgiving easily. “Maikli lang ang buhay. Kung hindi mo naman ikamamatay (Life is short. If it’s not going to kill you), let it go.”
Perhaps because our family has known how it is to lose a loved one in the blink of an eye, we learned early enough not to harbor ill feelings. We learned the value of expressing love and affection because next time might be too late and you may not get another chance.
Laughter when we are together as a family is always in abundance. We like to crack jokes and trade funny and strange stories. At a recent family event, she asked me if we knew anyone in the restaurant. When I asked her why, she said, “Ang ingay natin. Nakakahiya … (We’re too loud, it’s embarrassing.)” In the same vein though, she is averse to loud voices. “Bingi ka ba? (Are you deaf?)” or “Wala tayo sa talipapa. (We’re not in a market.)” She likes to chide us when the decibels go up a notch too high.
Optimism is another lesson I learned from my mother, “Itulog mo lang, o itakbo mo kaya (Sleep on it, or go for a run). Go under the sun, darling. Lilipas din iyan (It will pass).” And it’s true, there is nothing like a good night’s sleep, a brisk walk or run and basking in rays of sunlight to change your perspective.
But the most important lesson of all that my mother has passed on to me is that of keeping the faith and believing that all the people, events and circumstances that come into your life, no matter how painful they might be, were allowed into your journey by the Lord for a reason. The faith that has seen my mother through countless trials and challenges is the same faith that carries me through today.
“Hindi ka pababayaan ni Lord, at walang imposible sa Kanya. Tandaan mo, kung para sa iyo, iyo talaga iyan. Walang puwedeng kumontra. (The Lord will not abandon you. Remember, if it’s for you, you’ll get it. No one can stop it.) ”
My mother and I believe that there is no such thing as an unanswered prayer because, in all things, God always works for what is best. Our lives, as mothers, have shown us time and again that when things do not go the way you planned, it only means that He has something better in store for you.
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