Mom, I remember …
…how you loved Rogelio Dela Rosa and Carmen Rosales.
…that you were a fashionista way back in college — being the first-born among a brood of 8, you had the privilege of always having new things, and never had to wear hand-me-downs.
…how you liked wearing heels to help add precious inches to your 5’1” height.
…that you used to design and sew dresses by hand, including beautiful beaded wedding gowns, and had clients like veteran actress, Boots Anson-Roa.
…that you adored two of the most handsome (yet closeted gay) leading men of the Golden Era of Hollywood: Montgomery Clift and Rock Hudson.
… that you baked macaroon cupcakes, chiffon cakes, and apple cinnamon pies.
… that when you were a young college student in UP, renowned artist and Amorsolo’s contemporary, Ireneo Miranda (the “Dean of Filipino Cartooning”), took a liking for you (*ahem* since you apparently looked like his wife) and often invited you to model for his portraiture classes.
… that you valued the importance of reading and it was because your decision to invest in books like the Dr. Suess series and Companion Library Book Digests made a lifelong reader out of me.
… that you liked joining spelling bees in high school; and your tips on how to spell (close your eyes and ‘see’ the word; spell by syllables not by letters) were quite helpful even up to now when I teach MY students to spell.
… that everyone said the same things about you… that you were the favorite niece, the favorite cousin, the favorite daughter-in-law, the favorite aunt… I of course didn’t bother to ask why. We all knew why.
… that I used to watch Nora Daza‘s cooking shows with you every Sunday morning; I found it fascinating how you would be ready with your little notebook and pen, how you would jot down the ingredients but not the directions (which you mentally noted instead)…
… how I didn’t heed your suggestions on suitable career paths for me, but now I see. Moms are always right all along.
… the shape and softness of your hands and fingers as I held them in mine, and the contours of your face since I often caressed them when I was little.
… that you were not gifted with robust health even when you were young — reminding me to not take for granted my own health – to eat healthy, to exercise more, to sleep early.
… that we had you for a such a short time — reminding me not to take for granted my own existence, my own dreams, my own time, and the people around me – to live and appreciate life fully, and to love dearly.
… that you never had the chance to enjoy your grandchildren, but if you were still here, I’m sure they would have loved you to bits because I bet you would have made an awesome grandma.
Love you, Ma, and Happy Birthday!