When I was 11, I had to do a project on my hero for one of my classes. For lack of a better idea, I decided to do it on my mom. At the time, it seemed like an easy solution.
Ten years later, I finally realize that my 11-year-old self was right on the target.
One thing you should know right off the bat — my mom and I fought constantly while I was growing up. To this day, I call her “crazy lady” and she says I’m unappreciative of everything I have in life (I obviously disagree with this statement).
My dad says it’s a clash of cultural mindsets. My mom grew up on a small island in the Philippines, where life was strict and the rules were unbendable. I was an American born and raised child of the ’90s and ’00s, sarcastic and out to prove that I don’t need help, damn it.
But looking back, I see how much my mom did for my brother and me. She worked night shifts to make sure someone was home to pick us up from school. She cooked dinner, even when she was exhausted.
She chauffeured me around town, which in Vegas is a rather impressive feat. It didn’t matter if it was a for a forensics tournament or a choir concert. I always got where I needed to go.
She pressured me to get good grades because she understood the importance of education. She pushed me to go to UNR instead of going to school across the country because getting $50,000 of debt per year was ridiculous.
I’ve always known my mom loves me. But it never clicked how much until she was sitting with my aunt one day in 2006, discussing the details of my birth. I’d been four weeks premature and had underdeveloped lungs. As the hospital we were at didn’t have the technology to care for me, I was flown in a helicopter to UC Davis. Eventually, I was brough back to South Lake Tahoe, but it was weeks before my mother could take me home and months before I was able to breathe on my own without the assistance of a machine.
My mom spoke of the fear that she felt when she thought she could lose me. I heard an unfamiliar tremor in her voice.
My aunt nodded in agreement, having gone through a similar scare with one of her own daughters. Then she turned to me and said, “Your mom really loves you, you know that?”
I met my mom’s eyes.
“Yeah, I know.”
My mom probably won’t see this, as she is technology challenged (yesterday, she interchangeably used iPod, iPad and iPhone), but I figure this is as good a place as any to say what I mean to say.
Thanks for everything, Mom. I love you too.