This morning’s story was inspired by Mother’s Day, specifically what I thought it would be like if Mommy were still alive. So much time has passed that I’m no longer certain if these are things that would happen if she didn’t die 12 years ago.
Would she make kalbichim and that drink with water chestnuts coated in red mochi? What would she wear? I remember her purple capri pants with a matching plaid 3/4s polo shirt. What gift would we get her?
Memory is a tricky thing. Sometimes, I wonder if I fill in the gaps with things I think happened or what I wish happened. This is the part when I wish I had a diary tucked in somewhere that contained all the tiny details of my life before she passed. And then I could just go back to it all the time to remember.
When I was planning to resign from my first job, I asked her what I should do. I cried to her every morning at the breakfast table, telling her how much I hated doing things outside of my job description. She told me, “trabaho lang ‘yan. Hindi dapat iniiyakan.” And that was that. She didn’t tell me to stay or to leave my job. She just told me to stop crying. I resigned soon after and I decided that on my own.
When I got my heart broken for what seemed like the nth time, she told me, “Hindi ka pa talaga marunong pumili.” Back then, I thought how insensitive and hurtful of her to say this to me while I was crying. But was she wrong? I don’t think I really actively pursued dating after she passed. I was always worried I wouldn’t choose well. Sometimes I think, how did she know Daddy was the one? He was her first and only boyfriend.
Whenever I see something I want to buy, I always go back to something she told me when I asked her if I should buy the purple shoes. I was just starting out in publishing and not really earning much. “Anong gagawin mo sa pera mo, kakainin mo?” So the answer is always yes. Yes to the purple shoes. Yes to that slice of cake. Yes to that pleated bucket. Yes to that laptop. You earned it all and you should enjoy the fruits of your labor.
In 2004, I wrote an article about her that came out in the newspaper. She said thank you but didn’t really make a big deal out of it. I found out later on (from checking her phone, hehe) that she had sent a text message to all her friends about it. She replied to one of her friends, “Truly she’s God’s gift and I’m forever grateful!”
I wasn’t always a proactive employee in my last job. When I was starting, we had weekly meetings with the “superboss” and I would just keep my head down and only speak when I was asked stuff. So it was funny when my mom told me she had met my boss at the acupuncture clinic she took my dad to. Honestly cannot remember how she even figured out who it was but I asked her if she mentioned I was her daughter. She told me, “Of course! I showed her Mong’s article in Inquirer and she read through it. Matagal ko din siyang naka-chika.” In our next meeting, my boss told me she met my mom and that I shouldn’t be afraid of her anymore. LOL!
There was a message in my old phone that read “Good luck!” She sent it to me hours before the very first shoot I did for a food magazine. I saved it and looked at it whenever I needed some motivation. I wish I still had that phone.
I wonder, what would she say to me today?