Daughters never really appreciate their mothers until they have daughters of their own.
Sons are easy. I mean, you put them in short pants and tell them to keep their hands and other extremities to themselves and they turn out fine.
Daughters are a different thing altogether.
Daughters are certified adorable until they learn to imitate their mothers. That’s when the fear sets in. That’s when all the ghosts of days and nights when this daughter didn’t listen to her mother come to visit with all sorts of implied–but nevertheless dire–threats of repercussions both immediate and future. It’s when a mom catches herself telling her daughter “When I was your age, my mother never let me (insert questionable activity here),” and while it may well be true, things usually change the instant mothers turn around. It’s when a mother sees her daughter growing up to be just like her, and is either happy because she’s happy, or frightened out of her wits because no, being like her is the last thing she wants for her daughter.
Mothers, of course, always want the best for their daughters, biological or otherwise. My biological mom, Adelaida, told me to keep reading books as I went through an all music phase. My favorite teacher, Rebecca Montaño, taught me to speak and write English the way I do now. My literary mom, Jenara Regis, kept telling me to rewrite my short fiction because of details I overlooked; she prepared me for the time when it was Mom Edith Tiempo’s turn to teach me how to write, and why I needed to forgive. When I went back to Manila after decades of having been away, Jinky Duncan made sure I didn’t starve through nights of overtime at the office. And through all that, There was my aunt, the one who raised me from when I was little (yes I was, hard to believe, but I was), the one whose advice I remember now that I have my own daughter–Teresita K. Parks.
Happy Mother’s Day, Moms!