I gently touched Mama’s shoulder… She fell asleep while waiting for me to finish the grocery. She was clearly startled and quickly looked around. Whatever it is she must be dreaming was cut short. She looked up and asked me if we have to go now. I said yes. I helped her get up and I pushed the cart to the exit door… Again- I left her beside the staircase instructing her to wait for me while I get the car… I was driving a few meters towards Mama. I blinked my car lights and opened the window… She rushed to the door and tried to pull the grocery cart. Luckily the security guard saw her and took the cart from her hands. I quickly went around the car to help her get inside.
She was happily mumbling and told me how the security guard mistakenly opened the door of the taxi in front of us. She let out a little laugh, “Abi niya Bin mag taxi ko!”… I smiled and looked at her. Just two hours ago- her hair was all gray. Now it was black. I thought the new hair color shaved off at least 5 years from her age. I looked at my mama and saw her once so smooth hands now all wrinkled. The same hands I used to hold when I was a little girl, afraid that if I’ll let go, I would be lost in the marketplace. I always grabbed those strong hands because I feel safe and know that whatever I need, I could always depend on Mama. Once, I must be 4 or 5 years old. I was so thirsty. We were attending church. She forgot to bring water with us. But since she’s my mama I knew she would know what to do. She took a really big leaf from a nearby tree, rolled it and got tap water from a nearby faucet. What a convenient way to make an instant ‘glass’!
She now walks with a limp. Her arthritis getting worse on cold days or just on bad days. She has to hold my arm for support when we walk. Once, when we went to a mall, she had to go to a restroom. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was this little girl afraid of getting lost without my Mama? Mama’s grip on my arm was now stronger. I forgot that it would be painful for her to walk quickly. I was hurrying to the restroom, giving her directions that she just have to enter the door and I would wait outside. I saw her face and understood that she is afraid to go inside alone. I told her I would just brush my hair and she went in… How times have changed..
I could still remember her crying the moment I told her I failed in something that I really wanted to do for the rest of my life… I wished at her old age- I could pursue that and tell her, “Look Ma, I did it- just 20 years later!”. But when I look into her eyes- I think she must be happy where I am now and what I have become. When I took her to the airport, I hugged her. I wished I could hug her forever. She looked at me and said ‘thank you very much Bin!’ I want to ask ‘what for, Ma?’ But I have to hurry up or I’ll miss my flight too. No- Mama—Thank you very much for bringing me into this world. For all the sacrifices. For taking an education and working for other people just to get one. For giving up a career early in your marriage so you can take care of me and my siblings. And later for taking up a career to help Papa feed us. For giving me baon when I was younger and preparing all those delicious meals.
I love you Mama! Happy Mother’s day!