Things My Mother Taught Me

Happy Mother's Day everyone. I hope you're all celebrating with a special mother in your life, whether it's your own mother, a friend who is a mother, your wife -- or, if you're a mother yourself, I hope you're celebrating too, preferably by being covered up to your chin with bubbles or some other indulgent spa treatment! My sister wanted to take my mom indoor skydiving today, but being pushed upwards by great blasts of air is not my mom's idea of a good time (I'm sure she'd be afraid the strong winds might give her wrinkles), so we're just going to eat out somewhere later today.

My mom might not be a sky diver, but she's still a Bongga Mom who has helped shape me into the wonderful human being I am today :) To prove it I'm listing down some great things she's taught me over the years:

She taught me to be practical...
My mother has always been very frugal with money. We hardly ever ate out at restaurants when we were growing up, and we bought new cars only when our old ones collapsed on the road. All those trinkets that kids whine for their parents to get them? Like candy at the grocery checkout line? Souvenirs at the souvenir shop? Not with my mom! And now that I'm an adult, I'm really grateful to her for training me to live within my means, think carefully about my purchases and resist the temptation to spend, spend, spend. She would always tell us to be thankful for what we had, and that you can never tell how much money a person actually has based on his material possessions because he could be up to his ears in debt, or a millionaire who's careful with his spending. It's a lesson that has stood me in good stead, and one that I'm trying hard to pass on to my own kids, especially now that we live in Silicon Valley surrounded by dot-com millionaires.

...but she also taught me that some things are worth spending for.
Even though she's careful with money, my mother doesn't hesitate to spend money on something that matters to her. When she finds a dress or a pair of shoes that flatter her and fit her well, she'll buy one in every color. She encouraged us to aim for the best schools, no matter what the cost, because a good education is always a solid investment. When I got married, she and my dad gave me a strand of Mikimoto pearls because she said they are the best and they will last a lifetime. She happily helps us out with the cost of airfare for our visits to the Philippines, because family is important to her and having her kids and grandkids all together brings her more happiness than a week at a spa.

She taught me to be independent.
My mother was always a working woman, even when her peers were stay-at-home moms who attended luncheons and scheduled weekly hair salon visits. When my friends were being driven around in chauffeured cars, she taught us how to navigate the wild, crazy world of Metro Manila's public transportation system. When my friends were being given weekly allowances, she gave us a monthly allowance so we'd learn how to budget. She always stressed the importance of a good education and good grades so we could get good jobs and stand on our own two feet.

She taught me to be comfortable in my skin.
I was the world's biggest slob and the bane of my mother's existence when it came to good grooming. I was self-conscious about my height, so she was always telling me to straighten up, and she was probably the only parent of a teenager who begged her daughter to put on more makeup instead of less! I still don't use makeup, but I've finally taken her underlying message to heart: being comfortable with who I am and taking pride in my appearance. And my mother does get the last laugh: I now struggle daily to get The Pea to comb out the tangles in her hair and straighten her back. If my mom weren't so ladylike, she'd smirk and say, I told you so.

For all that you've taught me, mommy, you have my thanks and my love! Happy Mother's Day!

No comments: