Sunday, May 13, 2007

Becoming Mom

Mom& P I suppose the task of childhood when your mother is a famous actress becomes much easier when it is lived away from the glare of the klieg lights. I am amazed at the way the younger ones do it nowadays. However, shielding me from the trappings of showbiz was my mother’s choice when I was growing up in 70s.

My mother and I do not look alike, at all. I am often introduced as “the daughter of …” and a joke I like to play with people I meet for the first time is that I let the introductory statement hang and say “Wait, don’t tell them, let them guess.” I often give them three chances to guess who my mommy is and 90% of the time they are unable to name mommy unless I shower them with very obvious clues. Mommy always gets a kick every time I tell her who my latest “mom” is.

However, the differences end there and now that I’m in my 40s, I slowly realize that no matter how much I tried to avoid becoming my mother during my younger, angst-ridden years, I am slowly becoming her. I can see my mother grinning as she reads this.

Our mothers role-model for us the women we eventually become. Their behavior and mothering styles during our growing up years really set the kind of pattern that determines the way that we, ourselves mother more or less to a certain degree. Unless you had a terribly dysfunctional childhood, you often become the same type of nurturer that you remember your mother to be. Your values, the manner by which you dress, relate to others, cope with life’s challenges – the small and big things that remind you of mom truly become a part of you later on.

My good friend and college batch mate Alya Honasan says that her mom, Alice Ballesteros Honasan role-modeled for her how one should bear life’s trials with grace and dignity. “I used to wallow in my problems, but seeing my mom get up and cook after just learning of her son’s death has made me aspire for such strength.” Honasan who is also known for her wit, says that she and her mother are the best of friends and share the same wry sense of humor.

Swimming champion Akiko Thompson says that she and her mom Hiroko share many of the same quirks and mannerisms. “For starters I eat like a rabbit all the time now, close my eyes when I am in deep thought or listening, literally giving my ear when conversing, not wanting to shampoo my hair everyday and putting weird stuff like smelly aloe vera on my face. I’ll be shocked if I start cutting my dog’s hair soon!” Truly, we become our mother’s daughters sooner or later in life.

Nina Lim Yuson who set up Museo Pambata with her mother the well-loved and highly-respected Estefania Aldaba Lim says that her late mother was a liberated and progressive woman who was not afraid to question a lot of things. “I was a very shy child but learned to break through because I saw that from my mom. We are also both hardworking and persevering.” Interestingly, Lim-Yuson was also widowed in her 40s just like her mother before her and she said that at this lowest point in her life, it was the memory of how her own mother carried on after losing her dad that helped her pull through as well.

My TOWNS sister, forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun had the most devoted of mothers. Fortun recalls how mom, Amelia Luisa del Rosario Fortun was a hands-on mom who would deliver (via tricycle and PUJ) hot beef sinigang, rice, ice and patis with kalamansi for my lunch at St Mary’s College in Grade 3, and dinner when I was on duty at UERM. She was the one who kept vigil as I took the entrance exam at UP
Elem School in Grade 5 and she dutifully fetched me everyday till high school in UPIS. And just like mom, Fortun says that she is “one who abhors kalat and is obsessive-compulsive about keeping things in order like me.”

One of good friends growing up was Leah Roa, eldest daughter of actress Boots Anson Roa. Leah and I went to the same exclusive girl’s school and were classmates from first grade all the way until 4th year high school. Like me, Tita Boots, who was like the Sharon Cuneta of the 70s, made sure that her children lead very private lives away from the cameras. Today Leah makes a home in Virginia and works at one of the top universities there. To this day, she gets asked by Filipinos in the
U.S. if she is Boots Anson-Roa’s daughter or her younger sister. Leah says that perhaps it is because of the striking resemblance. “Some even say I sound like her. More importantly though, I see and hear a lot of mom in me when I interact with others, especially with my kids. I end up thinking to myself, “Did I just say what my mom used to say?” Dad often teases mom by saying to her “ten words or less”. Now my kids and husband have to remind me of that as well!”

Of my own mother I have a trunk full of memories. For many years, mom put aside her acting career in favor of raising my brother and me. She only did television shows when I was in my elementary years and would drive me to and from school each and every day all the way until high school and on some days in college. One memory that stands out from those years is how during a storm, when the entire Katipunan Avenue was terribly flooded and impassable, my mother, with and my then 7 year old brother, waded through knee-deep waters to pick me up from school. It is a childhood memory that my brother and I treasure to this very day.

Mom who needs to run (or walk) several miles each week to keep fit, indulged in the sport when she hit her 40s, makes me believe that fitness is possible at any age so it is something that I am trying to emulate and live myself now that I am in 40s. As for quirks, as far back as I can remember, mom has carried a long-standing love affair with virgin coconut oil long before it was in vogue. As a child I could not stand the smell but now that I am much older I find myself turning into a VCO junkie as well. Mom’s glowing skin and jet-black hair are proof that it really does work!

How about you? In what ways have you turned into your mother?Happy mother’s day to my mom and my mother-in-law Dr. Naida Guballa. Thank you for all the love and support you have given me all these years. I am truly blessed to have you both in my life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Mother's Day, Cathy. You're right..our mothers shape who we are. All the best to your mothering:) - ajay of