A Mother is God's gift to us,
Sent from up above.
She dries our tears,
And calms our fears,
And wraps us in her love.
I'm fortunate enough to have three sets of grandmothers who are still all alive, and one absolutely awesome mother who (if you are a frequent reader of my blog) you should know I adore.
This is my grandma "R"...she is 75 and acts like a 30 year old. She didn't like us calling her Grandma or Nana or the more traditionally Filipino "Lola" so from as long as I can remember, my brothers, cousins, and I have all called her Mommy R. She raised my brother and I after my parents got a divorce and all my early memories have her in them in some form or another. She lives in New York now and loves to email me e-cards, sends me makeup in the mail (because beauty is beauty but no one said anything about making it better) and email me stories about how she went line dancing or how my aunt got mad at her when she flew to Florida on a whim because "she's never been there before" or how her recent knee surgery is really "slowing down her vibe". I got from her my love of makeup, my style, and my smile...see the resemblance?
This is my Lola "B". She is 79 and the quintessential grandmother (down to the fuzzy white hair!). She sews, knits, crotchets, reads anything and everything under the sun and can cook anyone under the table. She took care of my brothers and I when we first moved to the US. But don't let the quiet Nana look fool you. She was the one who taught me how to walk in heels (because she knew I would be short and she'd be darned if she had a grand daughter who "walked like a lumberjack on stilts") and I still to this day show her first when I've made a new shoe purchase. She taught both my brother and I how to Cha Cha, and Waltz...because everyone knows she was quite the dancer in her day. And she once confessed to me that if she were born a boy, the first thing she would have done would be get a tattoo on her arm. As a result, I told her first when I got my tattoo and I made sure she saw that her name was one of those engraved on my back for all eternity. I got from her my love of shoes and my love of reading.
This is my Lola "C". She turned 87 this year and still walks to church every morning at 6am. Her 85th birthday was celebrated by all 10 of her living children, all 40+ of my cousins and I, and 6+ great grandchildren. Her birthday mass was celebrated by no less than 20 nuns, 5 priests, and 1 bishop. She still has students from her days as a teacher over 50 years ago, visiting her just to say Hello. She exudes love and caring in every pore of her body. She just recently learned how to use Skype and is absolutely tickled at being able to video conference. Now, instead of calling on the phone every one of her family members on their birthday or anniversary she now can sing us "happy happy birthday dear one" on video! And yes, she remembers every milestone, birthday, anniversary, wedding...even though she has to say 5 different names sometimes before she hits on yours (hey, when you've got that many kids and grandkids...). I got from her the love of family and my love for the Church and God.
This is my mom. I love her more than anything in the world because she is understanding...patient...the smartest and toughest woman I know. She will and has done everything in her power to care for her kids and I appreciate her for that. She taught us how to be independent, to be ambitious, and to love each other. I know that no matter how badly I mess up she will always be there for me. I love hearing her unabashed way of laughing. There has been many a time when she would start to tell a joke, but busts out laughing in the middle of it...never finishing the joke but making everyone laugh anyway because of how happy she is. My happiest childhood memories are of her: napping in her dental chair when I was 4, having her sew sequins on my costume for a pageant when I was 6, running across the airport screaming and crying straight to her arms when we moved to the US to be with her when I was 9. She still calls my 15 year old brother "baby" and he will never tell her to stop. My 24 year old brother still calls her every week just to talk. I still give her big hugs when I see her...like I'm 5 again and seeing her is the best part of my day, and I still call her "Mama". She is one of my best friends. I got from her my intelligence, my "don't take crap from anybody" attitude, my wicked sense of humor, my simplicity and heart, and my face! Down to the eyes, nose, and dimple.
Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers and Grandmothers out there. Know that you are appreciated and loved!