I called my mom just now. Hearing her voice again and sharing a laugh with her truly made my day. I miss her so much. My dad died when I was young, so it was my mom who single-handedly cared for us through the years.
You see, hubby and I work and live abroad. For many years now, we’ve been living apart from family so we don’t get to see them as often, but we never fail to keep in touch. Even now as I write this, I get emotional just thinking about how my mom loves me so much. I have heard someone say this before and I couldn’t agree more – “you get to appreciate your parents more over the years and when you become an adult, especially when you start to have your own family - have children of your own”. Although I don’t have kids yet, what that person said rings very true to my heart, however, not having children of my own at this time doesn’t make me appreciate my mom any less. Notwithstanding, I know what it meant, and that you'll better understand the point when you experience parenthood first-hand. Looking back at all the sacrifices my mom did for us, loving and taking care of us through the years, I just couldn’t contain my heart from bursting with thankfulness. I’m not saying that my mom is perfect... she’s not, and at times we do have our disagreements (don’t we all with our parents?), but she continues to give us her best, in ways she knows how.
No, today is not her birthday, and Mother’s day has long passed, but our appreciation of our mothers shouldn’t only be constrained to one appointed day of celebration. Before saying our bye-byes to each other on the phone, I always make sure that I tell my mom I love her. When I was younger I was not in the habit of doing so, and up to this day I regret not being able to say that as often to my dad, until he passed away and it was too late. That has taught me an important lesson in life – to never fail to express your love and appreciation to those closest to your heart, since we all do not know the number of our days.
There was one forwarded email I received a long time ago about appreciating parents, it was a well-written essay in Plipino (my mother tongue) by Rev. Ariel F. Robles (CWL Spiritual Director, St. Augustine Parish of Baliuag, Bulacan, Philippines). I remember that it brought tears to my eyes as I was so moved reading it. I found an English translation and edited it a bit for everyone, here it goes:
A Letter from a Parent
When I get old, I ask for your understanding and patience with me. In case I break a plate or spill soup on the table because of my failing eyesight, I hope you do not yell at me. Old people are sensitive, always having self-pity when scolded.
When my hearing gets worse and I can't hear what you're saying, I hope you don't call me "deaf!!", I hope you’ll just repeat what you said or write it down for me. I'm sorry, my child, I'm getting older.
When my knees get weaker, I hope you have the patience to help me get up, like how I used to help you when you were a little kid learning how to walk.
I hope you can be patient with me when I repeat myself like a “broken record”. I hope you just keep listening to me. I hope you don't make fun of me or get sick of listening to me. Do you remember when you were a little kid and you wanted a balloon? You repeated yourself over and over until you got what you wanted. I had patience with you.
I hope you pardon me because of my smell. I smell like an old person, I smell like earth. I hope you don't force me to shower. Old people get sick easily, especially if they get cold. I hope I don't gross you out. Do you remember when you were a little kid? I used to chase you around because you didn't want to shower.
I hope you can be patient with me if I'm always cranky. It's all part of getting old. You'll understand when you get older.
And if you have any spare time, I hope we can talk, even for a few minutes. I'm all by myself all the time, I don't have anyone to talk to. I know you're busy with work. But I want you to know that I get so excited to talk to you, even though I know that sometimes you don’t care about what I’m saying. Do you remember when you were a little kid? I used to listen to you babbling stories about your teddy bear.
When the time comes that I get ill and bed-ridden, I hope you have the patience to take care of me. I'm sorry if I accidentally wet the bed or make a mess. I hope you have the patience to take care of me during the last few moments of my life. Besides, I'm not going to last too much longer.
When the time of my death comes, I hope you hold my hand and give me the strength to face death.
And don't worry… when I am next to God the Creator, I will whisper in His ear and ask to bless you… because you have showed love to your mother and father.
Written in my local tagalog spoken language:
“Nay, kung mabasa mo man ito, gusto kong muling maipahatid sa iyo at sa mundo, na kaming mga anak mo ay tunay na nagmamahal sa iyo… maraming salamat para sa lahat ng ibinigay mong pagmamahal, pag-aaruga at pagsasakripisyo para sa amin” - Mariz
"Mom, if you ever get to read this, I would again like to tell you and even declare to the world, that we, your children love you very much… thank you for all the love, care and sacrifices you have given to all of us.” - Mariz
I'll soon be seeing my mom this July, until then, I just couldn't wait to bond with her again....
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. - Deuteronomy 5:16