The Woman Who Taught Me Everything

“Look with your eyes, not with your mouth”, I heard Mama say it when I opened my mouth to complain about not finding what I needed. It was just one of her momisms. This is the woman who taught me everything about life. Her loving ways was balanced with a toughness that I admire about her. It makes me laugh now especially when my husband uses that “mama one-liner” on me. It brings me back to my happy place of when she was yet alive. You see it’s her 65th birthday today and she shares this birthday with my only brother…and that makes this day even more special. To celebrate my mama, I reminisce what it was like growing up with her constant presence. She would often say that her family was her pride and joy…and I felt it. As I wrote down the list of the things I so fondly remember about her, I can’t help but thank God for letting me experience the love of my mother.

  1. Mama used singing (over the sound of the music tape) as an alarm clock to wake us up every single day. My mother’s happy voice—her singing–is still the sweetest thing I have ever heard in my life.
  2. Mama would wake up early to cook breakfast and brush my long tangled hair every morning before I went to school.
  3. Mama would write the best letters during my student years while living in a dormitory. Oftentimes a few bills for my allowance and that month’s laundry money would be neatly tucked in there, too. The letters kept coming until my adulthood even when the money dried up eventually. I miss those letters.
  4. Mama knew me very well. In my teenage years, she would show me how things get done (I was involved in oratorical contests) which I did not appreciate at that time. And although it hurt her feelings, she understood. Oh, how I cried, feeling all bad when she left me to do things my own way.
  5. Mama gave the warmest hugs. I still remember her hands, those hands that gave me massages and held me close when I was sick. Or when I was seasick which was too often. She would cradle my head as we travel. Or that she was always ready with a barf bag if in case I needed it. Eeww. Yeah, but it’s true.
  6. Mama believed in me. She said it in words all the time, like “I know you can do better”. It was her way of encouraging me without being too pushy.
  7. Mama was meticulous. She demonstrated how to clean a room, starting from one corner, and never missing a spot. Although being a perfectionist was not her best trait, it made her the best at whatever she did.
  8. Mama gave up of herself way too many times. She was one of the very few people I know who always had the courage to defend the weak. She’s the voice of those who could not stand up on their own. She didn’t tolerate bullies. She fought for what was right.
  9. Mama never missed any school event that my siblings and I were involved in. She made herself available to us, anytime, anywhere. She volunteered her time and efforts to causes she supported.
  10. Mama had a passion for learning. She was always at the forefront of what’s new and current. She was a fast learner and she loved technology.
  11. Mama was oozing with so many creative talents —from writing scripts to drawing, singing to dancing, public speaking to choir directing. She also enjoyed doing all kinds of crafts, like sewing cute matching outfits for me and my siblings. She got us involved in a lot of creative activities which she initiated.
  12. She was a natural-born teacher. She taught many children. She clothed and fed many of them. Her last emails before her passing was all about taking care of some children living in the streets. She led many to Jesus, including myself.
  13. Mama could laugh hard until she cried. She’d laugh when Papa would “sweetheart carry” her across the room. She’d laugh at his silliest jokes. She was his no 1 support. Her loyalty and faithfulness to their marriage was incredible.
  14. Mama gave her life to Jesus after she met Papa and since then she had never looked back at her old life. She diligently studied the Scriptures and became so well-versed she was always ready to speak about her love for Jesus.
  15. Mama loved her family even to her last breath. She kept her promises and stood by the words she would say. Through her actions, her words, her heart — I know she did.

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Today, I am a daughter and I celebrate my mother. This is the 4th year that I will celebrate Mama’s birthday and Mother’s day without her. Despite that, her influence has remained true and she still is the woman who taught me everything. So many things remind me of her, maybe because she occupies a big chunk of my heart. I terribly miss her presence for she was the kind who loves quietly, honestly and passionately. I will forever miss that love. Forever, a longing.

This month, I invite you to return the favor to the woman in your life who has taught you so much. Love her. Sing her praises. She deserves it. Happy mother’s day/month to all!

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