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.

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