Happy Birthday Mama!

It was my mom’s birthday last Monday..

In the priest’s sermon during my uncle’s internment, he mentioned that children are parents’ best legacy. And even when someone passes away a part of him lives on through his or her sons and daughters.

On the surface, everybody knows I take after my dad. But what people don’t realize is that alot of my best qualities formed because of my mom.  I’m as much of a mommy’s girl as I am a daddy’s girl.

So mom, for your nth birthday (will not divulge her age, she lies about it even in official documents), I would like to celebrate your life by thanking you for everything you have taught me.

1. Thank you for being my biggest fan. You have been ridiculously proud of me since the day I was born. You seem to think I’m the prettiest, the most intelligent, articulate and capable person who ever lived. You look at every mundane task I accomplish with such marvel. Even the little things,  like how well I chose my wedding colors you brag about to your friends, and I sometimes get embarrassed because truth be told, I don’t have much to show for. Nevertheless, your unwavering faith in me has given me the tools to face life with confidence. I’ve dealt with a lot of difficulties relatively unfazed, and have genuinely shrugged off criticisms  because  you’ve taught me to believe in my own worth.

2. Thank you for letting us make our own decisions. Honestly, there were times that I wished you were like the other moms, that you would give us more guided direction and meddle in our business, but you were confident that we could find our own way and watched quietly and with alot of restraint, while we made one mistake after the other. You also never failed to silently cheer us on when we find the moxy to dust ourselves up and move on from our latest debacle. Because of your very rare parenting style, I learned to form my convictions early. I grew up more or less knowing myself and my capabilities. I pretty much had the strength to owe up to my mistakes because I knew that at the end of the day, that I had no one to blame for them but myself.

3. Thank you for teaching us to want a simple, quiet life. I know dad is probably rolling over his grave because you aren’t exactly known for your material restraint. The closetsful (– not a typo. 🙂 i really mean closets)  of bags, shoes and clothes is a testament to this. But you seriously, you  taught me to be grateful for the things that we have and to enjoy it to the fullest when it’s there. But you’ve also taught me to let all these wonderful stuff go when things are tough, to buckle up and live simply if need be. And, even though we’ve experienced some financial difficulties this past year, through your example, I’ve learned to take things in stride and not to wistfully pine for all the excessive luxuries that we used to have.

4. Thank you for teaching me the value of family. I used to whine about how we never had immediate family-only time and how everything we did had to involve the clan. But through these experiences, I learned  that not only is it much more comforting to have your cousins and uncles and aunts and grandparents around during tough times but  it’s  also so much more enjoyable to have them there during the fun times as well. I may not be as present and as involved as my brother (I still need my space) but I want you to know that I appreciate every single, quirky colorful, one of them.

5. Thank you for teaching me not to take myself too seriously.  I think one of the best qualities that you have is your ability to just laugh at yourself. You never felt the need to pretend to be someone else. You looked at your quirks with a sense of humor and would be the first one to poke fun at your unsophisticated, probinsyana  self.  You have endeared yourself to us and to those who know you because of this.  Through you, we learned to appreciate our own quirks, and to deal with the problems we encounter with alot of jokes and alot of  laughter.

Happy birthday mommy! I love you. I hope you realize how much impact you’ve had in our lives and how different we would have turned out if we didn’t have you for a mom.You are wiser than you realize and I don’t think we give you enough credit for the influence you have on who we turned out to be.


Goodbye to the Bold Voyager

My favorite uncle passed away last Saturday. He was my dad’s big brother and his best friend. For the life of me I never understood why they were so close. Aside from their passion for boxing, they really had nothing in common.  My dad was reserved and a  homebody, my uncle was adventurous and outgoing.  My dad was always cool, calm and collected my uncle was fiesty, emotional and temperamental,. My dad was jologs, my uncle on the other hand, was very cosmopolitan.

But I guess this had what people call true “bromance”. Their brotherly bond went beyond interests and common experiences. It even extended to us kids. I think my uncle always considered my brother and I as his children in the same way my dad thought of my cousins as his own.

His death came as a shock. And there were a lot of things I wasn’t able to thank him for. I know he reads every single entry of my blog. So I’m hoping he has his spectacles on heaven as I try to find the words to express my gratitude.

1. I know this sounds cliché,  but thank you for always being there for me.. I remember the many summers I spent in your house when I was growing up. You would generously extend your time  and your resources to take care of me. Mom even calls me your youngest child because I spent as much as time in your house as I did in ours.  It was only when I was older that I realized that some of those years were the toughest in your life. Yet you remained so generous and so gracious, making sure you took me to every family trip and showering me with the same presents you bought for your children. You never once lost your temper with me, even when I was being an inconsiderate prepubescent child and took forever on the phone or in the bathroom.  For you this was a feat. And I always marveled at how calm and gentle you were with me. Fast forward to my life as an adult, I appreciate the long informative messages in facebook,  the genuine interest you had in my business, your words of encouragement every time I came up with a marketing gimmick that you liked  and yes, even the bursts of temper that you unfailingly expressed every time you feel I’m being treated unfairly.  You were in every sense of the word, a very doting uncle.

2. Thank you for taking care of my dad. When he started getting sick, your presence became a source of comfort for all of us. You were always on top of things and we knew that no doctor will dare mess up on your watch. Your attention to detail actually became a running joke between me and Det. “Oh no. He’s coming to visit. Must. Memorize. Charts”.  Seriously though, the  love you had  for my dad was unprecedented and we can never thank you enough for being there for him. You were one of the last people he asked for before he passed away. And if there’s anything that makes me happy right now, it’s the thought that you’re once again reunited just like the old days.

3. Thank you for stepping up and constantly reaching out when Papa passed away. I knew you were dealing with your own grief, but that never stopped you from making sure that we were all okay. I remember how you used to ask me every week how everyone was doing. Saying “ok” wasn’t an option. You would inquire about all aspects of our lives, from our health, to our personal lives just to make sure that “ok” really meant “ok”. Your presence made me feel like a part of papa was still alive. Thank you for blessing us with that.

4. Thank you for keeping the family together. Yes, my dad may have been the voice of reason, but you were our heart. You made sure to stay in touch with every single member of the family. You did everything in your power to protect us and to make sure we were all taken cared off. There were times when was almost afraid to ask for certain things from you because I know you would bend over backwards just to help me out. If I needed someone’s number, you would message all your contacts just to get it for me. If I was asking about something technical, you would answer me in detail, complete with google and literary  references. If whine about some punk messing up my car, you would cuss out the unknown culprit and make sure I call the authorities.

I want you to know that you don’t need to worry about us. Through your efforts, our family is airtight. We will continue to extend ourselves and help each other the way you helped us. Rest well dear uncle. We love you.