Growing up, we had a firm but loving mum. She was very hands on. She knew all our assignments. She’d outline all our lessons. She made sure we had healthy meals and ran our household like clockwork. TV was only allowed on Friday nights for one show. I think it was Power Rangers for a few years then X-men (which came first, I’ve forgotten).
And Saturday nights were family movie nights with popcorn. Our first laser disc movie was Robocop.
There were times when we were naughty. We’d turn on the TV during weekdays, have the electric fan on behind it so it won’t get hot. And tell our maids not to snitch or else.
When evening came, Dad would put his hand over the TV to check the temperature. And Mom would look us in the eye asking if we were good. We could never keep a straight face and almost always got found out. Patay!
Sleeping in was an anathema to her.
On weekends, without fail, she will wake all of us up not so gently with loud music blaring from the living room speakers; this was between 6 and 6.30 in the morning.
You had two options.
- Stay in bed and try to cling to the last vestiges of sleep.
- Get out of bed and join the madness.
Invariably, we would all get out of bed. Put our trainers on. Drink a cup of hot chocolate that was waiting for us and jog to Basilica.
We would spend half the morning, running around and having a good time.
Some of us (myself) who aren’t athletically inclined ended up as either time keeper or referee as the situation warrants.
Those were the best memories.
As a teenager, I argued with my mother.
You see, I came to view my security as a gilded cage. True, everything was provided for but I didn’t feel challenged.
Where was the hardship? Where was the desperation? (Little did I know that this would come in a couple of years).
I had none of these. My life was close to perfect. The ‘problem’ I had was some people not liking me.
So this problem became such a big thing to me in high school, I would obsess over it. Overanalyse and overthink.
What could I do for them to like me? Do I need to change anything? Why do they keep making me feel bad?
I came to my Mom for advice. And she told me that not everyone in the world will like you.
Like is such a shallow word anyway.
Never change for anyone. Be who you are, always
And the people who truly LOVE you, they will stay.
And this stayed with me to this day. Something that I will pass on to my son, Kaizen Roland.
Life is not a popularity contest.
Mom always reminded me to be good and do good. And good will come to you. Never forget to pray and keep your faith strong.
And though my mama is one of the most stylish women I know (I got my love of fashion from her), she is one of the deepest people I know.
Thank you for giving us the best life, Ma. Through all our ups and downs, know that we will always have each other. We love you always!