A Birthday Message and A Promise To You Mother


Growing up, I was never really that close to my Inang (mother in Kapampangan)

But it does not mean that we don’t have a good relationship as a mother and daughter. Most probably because it was my lola (grandma) who mostly took care of me when I was a kid.


But I am not also saying that she never really took care of us.

As far as my naïve mind remembers, my parents were one of the most hardworking people I know. They woke up, as early as 1 am to go to the fish port (pondohan) to buy supplies for their smoke fish (tapahan) business, and my mom sell these tinapa at the market until everything is sold, so she had to stay in the market for the rest of the day. And growing up, I am a true witness of how hard or difficult life was. Almost everyday, after school, I had to walk to the market to buy a kilo of rice (bigas). And honestly speaking, I don’t remember that we got a chance to buy a sack of rice back then. And every time there will be typhoon (bagyo) and our place flooded, my parents would not be able to sell tinapa, leaving us no food to eat for that day. But my mom will always tell my dad to go to her sister (my dad's sister was a well off because she had a good fruit stand business on that time) to ask for some help and when he got back, he had sardines, eggs, rice, balut, tuyo, which will be our food supplies until the weather got better. To make this sad reminiscing old days short, I could say our life is more of isang kahig isang tuka (one scratch, one peck) back then, in short just having enough to get by. So, if they wont work for a day, we don’t have food to eat.


Anyways, I am not here to write the melodramatic phase of our lives before. I am here to talk about my mom who is celebrating her birthday today April 7. She turns 79. And as a daughter, and more than anything else, my prayers to our good Lord is to always keep her safe, with a sound mind and body. Living far away from her, I could only wish for that next year, we can go back home again in the Philippines to celebrate her 80th birthday with the whole family.


And because it’s your birthday Mother, So, I thought of writing these things that I know about you to somehow pay a little tribute to you on your special day.


Your name is Perlita (little pearl) and so is my mother in law, unknowingly, the name Meg which I gave to my daughter is a Greek name for Pearl.


I just discovered when you were here that you loved ice cream, that you can eat ice cream the whole day even if you don’t eat regular meals. And guess who got that from you, my Meg who an ice cream lover like you are.


You do love stuff toys, figurines or miniature toys. No wonder when I was packing up your luggage when you have to go back there in the Philippines you took or hid a few of my stuff toys, uhm made me wonder that I got that from you, we love to collect these stuffs.


When I went back in the Philippines last year, my nieces told me that I am your look a like, well looking myself now, maybe I am the better version of you in short, I am more beautiful than you lol.


I call you Masa, masandal tulog, literally anywhere, you can find comfort to fall asleep. And which is the exact opposite of me, it just so seldom if I fall asleep even in long travel or trips, and I can’t blame you for that since I know all your life you always lack sleep because you have to be awake as early as the dawn to meet our family’s needs.


We are both bunso (youngest) but we have more of indifferences rather than similarities, I mean there will always be arguments every time we lived or stayed in one roof. Oh I don’t remember anymore how many fights we have and God knows I hate myself for being a stubborn child and done those arguments with you. And so I thought before that it is better this way that we are far apart, to avoid heated discussion but it did not necessarily mean I DON’T CARE FOR YOU. And again Mother, sorry for all the hurtful words and for those days that I was bad and mean to you.


On a serious note,


Nang, if you could remember back then that I wrote you a letter.

I think I wrote that when I got pregnant unexpectedly.

I wrote in there my dreams/ aspirations for you as your daughter.

I wrote in their that how sorry I was because I failed your expectations

And I wrote in their that I had to leave you to have a family of my own.

And I also wrote in there that someday I come back to fulfill my promise to give you a better life.


But circumstances changed, and also our destiny.

It brought me a million miles away from you

I know in myself that somehow I was not able to fulfill that promise; that I was not able to give you the moon and the stars

It was not the better life for you since I know you still wanted the best one wherein you don’t have to worry about tomorrow or for our future

But we are good and we should be grateful for we are far more blessed than the rest, maybe not materially, but we had our backs as a family.


It took this pandemic for me to realized that time is the most important one and that material wealth is only temporary. And I don’t want to lose time again to show or tell you how grateful I am for having you as a mother. You were not a perfect mom but you were the best for all of us. And nothing can equal the sacrifices you had for us since day one that you bore us in this world. And again I am making a promise to you, and that is to promise myself to be the best Mom for my children too, to give them all my love and care, and raise them well as you raised me up. And this is the only way I know to repay you for all the sacrifices and hard work you had not only for me and to the my siblings but down to your grandchildren as well. Our tatang is surely proud watching you from above because you did a great job being a Mom.





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