The Things I Would Celebrate With My Mama If She Were Still Here
by Sherry Tadeja, May 08, 2020 5:53pm
Art by Ahl Mirambel
Every Mothers’ Day, instead of getting asked what I’d buy for my mom, I get questions like “How’s your dad?", “How are his dialysis sessions?”, “How’s your family?”. I can only wonder the details in which my late mom would have responded while I only respond with“Okay naman.”
Ah my late Mama Irene, it would have been a delight to see her in this day and age. Of having millennial children, catching up with (or judging) her friends on social media, and perhaps stressing over this pandemic. As her 2nd child of three, it would've been a delight to see her being all quiet, emotional, panicky, and sometimes a nag—because I guess that’s just how I am right now too.
A part of me is also thankful she isn’t here to witness all the chaos, you see, she passed away in 2004 due to severe asthma. It was a year when fame for artists was measured based on their appearances on our school notebooks; when connecting to the internet was accompanied by the sound of a dial-tone, and the social media we knew was just MySpace.
It’s Mothers’ day again soon, and being a writer, we’re supposed to create content related to the occasion. I broke through space, reason, and the Almighty, I made an imaginary list of events besides Mother’s Day I would gladly celebrate with her:
1. Creating her first Facebook Account:
“‘Nak paano ba ‘tong Pacebook na ‘to?”
I can imagine her quietly walking towards any of her three children, eyes scrunched with her phone’s brightness at 100%. Utterly confused about the Facebook her kumares are talking about. She would bombard us with questions like “Ano nga ulit yung email ko?” or “Paano ako mag-send ng ganoong gumagalaw na comment?”. It would be cool too to take her photos for her profile picture. I can imagine hers would be a photo of here during her youth.
It would be natural for her to ask things about Twitter (which she would refer to as “yung ibon”), Instagram, and Tiktok. Three of us would probably agree she won’t need it and she would agree. Tiktok, on the other hand, would probably amuse her.
2. My first Period
“Ayan dalaga kana, mas ingatan mo na sarili mo"
It was my father (over the phone at work) who gave me the “pep talk” when I had my first period, of what the red stain on my underwear was and what it meant. Not that my father was terrible at it, but it would’ve been more reassuring if my mom talked me through it. I can imagine she would be teary-eyed and would immediately put me through the timeless traditions of Filipinas on their first menstruation.
She would then talk to us about “the flowers and the bees”, scold me for the “ma, penge pang load”, the late-night texts, and secret relationships I went through high school and college. As of writing, my current relationship would have had her seal of approval and perhaps even be her favorite.
3. The Little Milestones of Being a Woman in Her Standards
*raps in Nanay*
Like most stay-at-home moms, she tried to teach any of us to cook, tagged us along to the wet market, lectured us on house chores, and taught us the lessons she learned the hard way that she wouldn’t want us to experience. We would have had a collection of quotable lectures from her by now.
The three of us would probably remind her of those days and she would either “Ay, talaga sinabi ko yun?” or “Akala ko pasok sa isang tenga, labas sa kabila kayo lagi eh. Buti naman.” Her Nanay lines and raps may be cliche, but it would be music to my ears now.
4. My Dad’s Dialysis Sessions
Okay, this may not be a cause for celebration, but I figured once she nails the routine of assisting my dad’s weekly sessions she would’ve enjoyed her visits to the hospital with my dad.
Within three months since my fathers’ first dialysis session, she would’ve made all the nurses and doctors her friends. Perhaps even make chika with fellow patients and to whoever is assisting them. And knowing my mom, she would’ve started a polvoron business there.
5. Celebrating Mothers’ Day in Quarantine
I can imagine her panic for our health, especially for her husband. We would all probably be drinking a herbal drink she found on the internet. Of course, we would remind her there’s still no proven cure, she would definitely use her parent card and say: “Wala namang mawawala kung iinumin mo yan”.
It would only be a matter of time ‘til she pulls us all to pray the rosary for the night. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I would’ve been writing articles on what to do or buy for mothers’ day (because I would buy from them too), or recall her life without tearing up in this article, but I’m writing this piece instead.
During this pandemic and period of quarantine, many children have lost their parents too, and I know how it feels to be in that state. Being quarantined with your mom is a luxury many of us can’t have. So I hope you spend it the best you could with your own moms and may you seize the time you have while she’s still here.
May your moms feel or hear how you love and adore her—because it wasn’t the case for me—I can only write what could’ve been, and I can only hope someone taught her how to Facebook and to internet in heaven so she can read this somehow.