I woke up this morning trying to read a note handed by my mother in my dream. I could not read the message. It looked blurred. As I tried to focus my eyes on the torn paper where about three lines were written, I woke up. Five hours later while waiting for my flight at O’Hare International Airport, I bought a book called, “The Power of Kindness,” by Piero Ferrucci. It is just the kind of book I have been looking for. It is peppered with short anecdotes, the kind that I use in this blog to introduce a topic. I felt a strong connection to my mother while reading. I needed to write this blog about my mother. Perhaps that scribbled note I could not read in my dream was giving me the message to remember my mother who passed away in 1992 and in remembering her she remains alive to me.
If there was one name to name my mother, that would be “wonderful.” She was patient, kind, helpful, respectful, wise, loyal, cheerful and optimistic. She was also creative, innovative, a problem solver, a peacemaker, a leader, a facilitator and a doer. She had many talents: teaching, coaching, counseling, inspiring, coordinating. Her homemaking skills included cooking, sewing, gardening, embroidery, home decorating. She was constantly learning something new, even going to school and earning advanced degrees in her 60’s. She told me to continue going to school and when I run out of things to study, study law. She also began her law studies. She was humble to learn from her daughter. At the twilight of her life, she loved Montessori. She studied the method, acquired my Montessori materials, organized a training program in the Philippines and had a small school at her house.
As she laid suffering from cancer, she continued to talk to me about Montessori relating how practical life is essential during the growing years. She planned for me to stage the “Nutcracker” the following year at her school and to start teaching her assistants while I was in town. I taught some dances to her helpers.
My sister arranged musical blinking Christmas lights on her wall so Mama can have some Christmas spirit to look at while in bed. As those blinking lights played “Joy to the World” I knew that was her last Christmas and I could not help but leave her room so I can cry my heart out.
My mother and I had some laughs. One time while she was talking to the town’s folks that she had a rich “anak” (offspring, not specifying the gender), I joked with her asking, “Which one?” That is a joke since she knew I was living from paycheck to paycheck.
While taking a walk around our home in Glencoe, one of the richest places to live in the U.S.A., she commented, “How did you ever manage to get into this place?” To that I replied, “How do you know I am not rich?” Again she laughed heartily. We had our understanding that though short of cash, I somehow manage because I spend wisely and save a lot.
I could write a book about my mother and perhaps one day I will. I want to thank my mother for guaranteeing my survival as a baby when the family rode a “banca” from Manila to Bohol as World War II broke out. She managed to have brought powdered milk along with other provisions. She described this journey in a tape-recorded narration.
My mother brought us up with the right values, to pay attention to what is important and let go of the superficial things. She was proud of her three children and was truly present for them.
My mother used to tell me that my father gave her a mantra just before delivering her babies which made all her deliveries painless and swift. She never gave me those mantra because there was a danger of premature delivery if said too soon. I could have used them since both of my boys were born “bigger than their mother.” While cleaning up my sister’s belongings last year I ran into the mantra. It is too late for me to use it but the next generation may need it. I have to look for it and safeguard it once found.
I still have a lot to learn from my mother and I will continue remembering her as a living person happily smiling at my jokes. Like a rose, my mother is forever beautiful, smiling, encouraging, and caring.
“Happy Mother’s day, Mama. I sing to you, "Mrs. Wonderful, Mrs. Wonderful, Mrs. Wonderful, that’s you.”
“Happy Mother’s day to all the mothers of the world.”