My mom was never my best friend or even my friend. We didn’t always agree, but I respected her. My mom was a very good provider- she always had her medical billing job at a hospital (she sometimes brought work home, when it was busy), a couple side jobs (ie. making lumpia), and later, her own business (Bay Area bus tours to Reno- she was one of the first people to do that). For many years, she was the matriarch, the head of the household. We had incredible stability being in the same house for many years (and my mom owned one car). She didn’t do it alone- she had the support of my grandparents and extended family members, like my uncles, and later, my aunt (I appreciate it, to this day). We never had an empty refrigerator and we always had food in our bellies. Grocery shopping always meant a full cart. (If she had business trips, she would always bring something back for us.)
Shopping trips (clothing and shoes) were for us (I loved Back To School shopping), and she’d often pass on buying herself things (but she did start shopping for herself in later years). We had our weekly home tasks (dishes, cleaning, laundry, harvesting from our garden, food prep, caring for our dog, etc.), so we had a weekly allowance. An important job- our number one priority, however, was our school work- she did expect us to get straight A’s (*I was an A & B student* but I made Honor Roll, and graduated With Honors from High School). Education was really important to her (she was a teacher). Sunday mornings were for church (this was a given).
The only thing we missed out on, looking back, was vacations (compared to other kids), because my mom was always working. I don’t think it was a big deal because everything else was handled (dental appointment, doctor appointments, school events, and other necessities). I did notice that we did have one thing few of my friends owned, and that was a piano. I didn’t like them at the time (wished I went further), but we had weekly piano lessons. And, something really important, my mom always provided a birthday party (Pancit, Lumpia, a birthday cake, and 7-Up) for my class in elementary school.
Growing up, my mom always told us why she came to the US, that it was really hard to advance in her home country, the Philippines. I knew how lucky we were, and came to appreciate everything that my mom did, being a single parent. In her own right, she was able to achieve the American Dream (she came to the US with friends, she got her green card, later, became a citizen, she had a job, she had a family, she bought her home, she had her own business).
My mom was a good mom. She worked hard, she made sacrifices. The best feature I have from my mom is her resilience (I wouldn’t have been able to get over my own challenges without it). I saw her overcome the divorce and she beat cancer. My mom is a survivor. She kicked butt, time and time again. She was practical, fair (she didn’t have favorites), always stressed the importance of sharing between me and my sister, and taught us important lessons along the way. She never wanted us to feel like we were missing anything from our lives. I love my mom.