For a moment, I was thinking of a morning, years before all four of us– Bebe, Kula, Bong and me– had to sit down on a table with breakfast already served while Mama would just lean on one of our kitchen corners, quiet and just observing. Often especially in the morning she would do just that on which as a kid, an observant one, bothers me. Mama as she stood there watching us, had something on her mind; something she held only in hers’ not letting it bursts out as she might be misunderstood by the four of us. Mama for her most awkward belief wished us to be forever kids, not because kids as we usually see are cuddly and cute but really because of deeper reason which was fear. Fear that our home, built by strong connections, of teases and loud laughter would soon turn into sad and hollow atmosphere if all four of us have been ripened by time. Bit by bit she had pictured it out, that we would soon leave them to find our destined place in this world, of which she believes to be inevitable and part of life. Of course it is sad for most parents especially mothers –the more emotional one, to see their children leaving the house. However, it is also poignant for children to be away from their parents whom they have grown dependent with.
My parents are like newlyweds now; they’re alone at our house. Mama would wait for Papa to come home after work, serve him and chitchat for a while then sleep. Days have gone humdrum, quiet and sad thus I knew with understanding how they feel these days.
Mama would always sigh and utter during our telephone conversation, words like “if only I can turn back time” or “I miss yesterday”. I can’t blame her to feel such kind of yearning as I am too, if only I have powers, would grant her wish.
My mom admits that she’s pining for those shrieks that my siblings and I create out of petty quarrels, of endless teasing and name calling. I can still vividly recall how she would yell and glare at us at times when we were high on our crabbiness. Often, she has this worn-out slipper ready to land on our skin if we run out of control. And she confides too on how she longs for our stubbornness; it is better than having no one to get furious with, she said.
Back in the time when we were still under one roof, I have seen how Mama took good care of us. Mama was always the one attending to our needs as Papa was always busy looking for business outside. From waking us up in the morning, to fixing our beds and up to preparing our breakfast, she does all of that. She tied herself to being a full-time mother, gave up her supposedly teaching career, and taught us, instead. It is said that once a woman became a mother, it is also the time they surrendered themselves to servitude. On which every single day of their life could mean a struggle, a survival against the stream of responsibility. That’s how they are (out of love and passion) willing to sacrifice. I can’t fathom how deep mothers can be into understanding the needs of their children that if only they can offer their lives they would, just to provide in whatever way they can.
Take for example my mom, an epitome of an unassuming, selfless being who nurtured the four of us. From the day of conception to the day we were born in this world, she never stopped caring. I still remember on how she would fix us before going to school, so we wouldn’t look like a mess in front of many. She would stay late at night, check if we’ve done our homework. She ensures if we’ve eaten enough. And when we are sick, she wishes to be the one inflicted not us. Being the only woman in our house, I admire how she fitted herself into our liking, even sacrificed her choices especially in watching TV. She has done innumerable things for the family that I rarely see her loosen up or enjoy on which as his son I’m feeling guilty of.
Many a time she feels sorry for her shortcomings. For the times that they weren’t able to give us what’s the best unlike other blessed parents can. For the times they fell short on giving us allowance. For the times they refused to buy us what’s the hip or the current trend. Mama in behalf of Papa feels sorry for that, for all that. Now that we’re grown up I come to ask myself: Have we really reciprocated the unconditional love my Mom has bestowed on us? As she would always say, her love is not payable by any material bliss but by togetherness and love itself.
I remember one Christmas vacation when my siblings and I went home and stayed at our province. Mama pampered us with her love, not letting us do any task and all we need to do was to relax. She’s very pleased seeing all of us on the same bed just like when we were kids and watched us until we fall asleep. I knew how she really missed us, her children whom she have cuddled and spent almost all her life with. To care and to love is to be a mother that was the message she conveyed through her act.
Everyday then, Mama would cook us sumptuous breakfast and would stand on one of our kitchen corners just like before, quiet and observing.