My mom left me when I was 1. She decided to work in the middle east contrary to their plans of moving here in the states in the mid-80s. Earlier on, I didn't understand why would she pick a place completely unfamiliar to her, let alone without her husband and her newborn by her side, whereas she had an open ticket to the west side where her college friends and some relatives reside. I never knew why, not that I asked, but whatever her reason was, it only brought the family good things. But I guess, myself excluded.
She gave us everything...clothes, money, gadgets, and her presence. But still, I found a way to make her feel that she was a worthless mother. I started going out when I was 15, going home late even at school nights, hanging out until the wee hours of the morning during weekends, sleepovers left and right, party, disco, smoke, booze, all but illegal drugs. It went on for about 3 years, until I was kicked out of high school. It was one incident that could only wake me up, and at the same time, successfully target my goal...her misery. My mom came home that March in hopes of seeing me graduate, but on our ride home from the airport, of all places, I knew I just had to let her know. "Ma, hindi ako ga-graduate", her reaction was plainly heartbreaking. She didn't yell at me, never cursed, but looked devastatingly flabbergasted. I cried upon entering my room that night, although I never planned or wished to, but the inevitable realizition hit me hard in the head. Rebellion wasn't the perfect way to let her feel what I wanted her to feel. I could have been more respectful of who she really is in my life, and what she does for me. But I didn't.
Now, when we occasionally discuss it, she can't help but plague herself with guilt, which is painfully unjust and depressively unbearable for me. I know I'm responsible for making her feel that way, but it was all my fault. For all I know, she was wiping indian-food-smelling asses of baby Arabs just so she could bring us the best of life. And I only put it all to waste. I felt sorry, I was and still am sorry, but I had no idea how to make it up to her. In my quietest ways though, I managed to quit smoking, abandon party-ing, and continue on with school. For her and myself, I've grown to be a better woman, and a completely different person. With all the mishappenings in my life, and the lessons it hauled, and eventhough it doesn't sound right, I have her to thank for everything. She might have been away most of my time, but that wasn't cessation enough for her not to become the best mother she could possibly be for me and my brother. And for that, I'm forever sorry that I brought her tears over time, and that she wasn't blessed with the perfect daughter she dreamed to have. But hey, God is awesome. We're together now, happy as can be, and I just can't wait to spend the rest of my life with her.
Happy Birthday, Mama!