Dear Mom June,
Sawadee Ka, Suway! That means “hello, beautiful” here in Thailand. I know you’re smiling! Do you think I’ve already forgotten how to melt your heart? Nope!
I have been meaning to write to you but I couldn’t. It’s not that I do not have the time but I don’t have the courage. I have always been open to you. You were like my bestfriend, my confidante, my bank of secrets, but this time, opening up my heart would mean opening an old wound that never heals. You know that I always say what’s mulling around my head, and in the last 3 years, I am full of thoughts but letters won’t work with each other. My lips are dying to tell you everything but words won’t come out. My pen has ink but I lost the strength to write. However, I walked down the memory lane today. And while on my way, I kept on looking around because memories came rushing to me as if accompanying me in my reminiscing moment. I’ve tried recollecting the good times which brought tears to my eyes but still able to make me laugh.
Remember when I was 7 and you got mad at me? You yelled at me to go out of the house because I was hard headed. And since I am an obedient kid, I left and went to my huge play house made by Dad. It was already dark when you realized that I wasn’t home so you started looking for me. You found me sleeping on the mat but instead of becoming angrier, you laughed when I reasoned out that you shooed me away. So guess where I got my stubbornness?
Remember when I was in 5th grade when you let Aunt bring us to a festival? You said that you would wait for us at the station. It was already 7pm when Aunt let us go. Janne Rae was just 5 years old that time but I took her with me. I only had 2 coins in my pocket thinking that you would pay for the fare anyway, yet you weren’t there when we arrived. Horrified, I looked at the driver and said that I don’t have any money. One passenger said that he’ll pay for it so he let us go. We looked for you everywhere but you were not there. So at the young age, I tried to make a deal with another driver to take us home because you said to always use my common sense. And when we arrived safe, although you were nervous, I could see how proud you were at that time. You thought I was already a grown up.
Remember when I was in 6th grade and you said to add another piercing on my right ear? You said that it will look cool. I guess you were right because my classmates kept on asking me who did it and I was so proud to tell them, “Oh, my mom!” You were also after cute nice things. So when someone asked where I got my shirts, my skirts, my shoes, my sandals, my bags and bar pins, I always say the same.
Remember all the extra curricular activities I attended in my primary years? You were there all the time. You were a stage mom who was always ready with my costumes whenever we have dance competitions. And we always go home with an award.. and some cash..
Remember when I was in high school and our cheer dance practice was every midnight? You were sleepy but you were there holding my energy drink. You always made sure that I am not thirsty nor starving. And that pageant that was against my will? You were there to support me and even made sure that all my gowns are lovely. You even made my oratorical piece. I came home with too many sash that night and you were so happy to display them around the house. You even made a Wall of Fame for our achievements, or a memorabilia with all my photos and letters. You kept everything even the dried rose from my junior and senior prom.
Remember when I was in college and we tried to look for a room to stay but the owner was so mean that we have to move out the following weekend? How about the nights we had to sneak out just because we were hungry? You even bought me so many stuff that my housemates said that my room looked like a grocery store already, or a boutique because of color coordination.
Remember when you braided my hair during my Acquaintance Party? You put beads at the tip of my hair making me looked like a Rastafarian or a sister of Bob Marley. You did it for 3 hours and when I told you to rest, you only said that my hair would be so dope. True enough, our department won that day. You have supported me to absolutely everything.
Remember when we did the census in the mountains that we have to ride a motorbike and climb the hill in 90°? Remember when we have to hug each other in a tiny apartment because it was cold and we did not bring any jackets, when we have to eat with bare hands because we did not have anything and you said it’s fun just like in camping?
Remember when you bought me a thong just because it was cute? God! How could I forget that when I was so disgusted but you were laughing your heart out?
Remember when we chased the neighbor’s native chicken just because you were craving for Tinolang Native na Manok and Adobo? It was reported missing the next day but they did not find out who the culprits were because we hid the feathers so well.
Remember when it was early morning and we have to throw stones at the store just because we wanted to eat dried fish which we called “Goodbye Head”?
Remember when you get mad at me? But instead of nagging, you punched me directly. Lol. I guess that’s the reason why I’m a little bit punchy, too. I got it from you.
Remember when I was heart broken, you called and asked me why I was crying? You said to go out with my friends, go shopping, eat out and sell my ex’s stupid ring? And when I told you that I did, you just proudly said, “That’s my girl!”
All these made you smile. I know you. These were just some of your crazy doings. You liked talking about how crazy you were on your younger years and I can attest to that. You would be telling stories before bedtime, like how you ran away from home and Granddad didn’t catch you on that ship, like how you enticed the battalion’s commander from the rival school so that your troupe can occupy the space, like how you planned a trip to escape household chores and your face will be too red from too much laughing. You might be a crazy cool mom but I always kept the wisdom you shared with me.
As I get older, my appreciation and admiration towards you continue to grow tremendously. You were a perfect image of what to look up to. With everything you have faced in life, and the strength you developed, proves to me that when life is tough, I could be tougher. I hope I never disappoint you. There is nothing I would hate than letting you down because you have always lifted me up, and with all my imperfections, you always made me feel that I am perfect. You helped me see beauty in a cruel world, Mom, and with that, I am truly thankful. Saying “thank you” wouldn’t be enough even. You also said that I should be brave, to always be kind and have courage; to fight back when I know I was right and to stand my ground; to always wear my scars wonderfully as it add beauty to what I already am; to always stay mysterious and make people wonder; to always let go of the things that are not meant for me, that money shouldn’t be a big deal, and to always stay happy. You succeeded in keeping me grounded.
Anyway, I added “travel the world” to that list, if you didn’t already know. Oh, I also got a tattoo. Hep! You are late, I can’t erase this anymore. Actually, I am planning to add one. I know you’ll be mad at the thought but after that, I also know you’ll ask for its meanings. Well, for now I have a compass. This is to remind me that come what may, I know the way. That I always know my way back home.
And oh, I have another one. But it’s more like a living scar. It was sculpted in my heart when you left. It still bleeds and the wounds get deeper and deeper, and the bandage doesn’t help. You taught me a lot of things, but I guess you forgot to teach me how to move on this time. I can’t believed I have survived not seeing you nor hearing your voice. I know you know that every year, I always hold flowers for you – artificial flowers – to let you know that my love for you never dies. I miss you, Mom. Our home misses you, too.
Sigh… I know you will not be able to read this. I don’t even know if you heard me said I love you one last time over the phone before you took your last breath. But Mom, I am saying it again, Happy Mother’s Day and I love you from my heart to the heavens…
Your greatest fan,