An Open Letter to Mama

Let me take a break from my usual, happy and maarte posts, and just share with you an excerpt from something I've been working on. I hope it's worth your while. =)

From the Nook,

Art by Saundra Lane Galloway

Dear Mama,

I know it's close to impossible for you to read this, and that gave me more liberty. If that's a good thing we'll find out. You know me. All your life, you've been too busy taking care of everyone; I mean your siblings and their offsprings, and their electricity bills and tuition fees. I grew up in a house that never ran out of visitors, some stay for a few hours to eat with us, some a few months searching for jobs in the city, or throughout the years to take care of me and Michael (okay, my brother) My auntie became my yaya, and I'm forever thankful that I didn't have to grow up switching nannies. It breaks a kid's heart you know.

Because I chose to rebel at age 8, I stayed behind our old house to attend my school of choice. I can vividly recall how you tried to convince me that the foreign Academy is actually a better and happier place, with air conditioned classrooms and nice yellow painted school buses. Little did you know that I was happiest while walking to school. And because I was adamant, I purposely flunked my entrance exam, stayed behind, and therefore didn't grow up by your side. It proved to be my first life changing decision.

Being away from my mother made me a strong, independent, decisive girl. I chose where I want to live, what course to take, what I can and cannot wear, who to date, where to work. I had the freedom and I enjoyed it. Then, the inevitable happened and all of a sudden, we were forced back under the same roof, and it felt really really strange. I'm not used to having authority, nobody dictates where I should go, or what I should do aside from my then allowance. You changed quite a bit, too. You used to be all out in giving away everything you've got, from our money, the rooms in the house, your time. But since losing dad, I felt like you retrieved and pulled back from the world into your sad, lonely cocoon. You were suddenly needy and demanding, and we ended up fighting over trivial things, then of moderate concerns, then some really serious stuff that made me want to move out of the house and not look back. I was tired, cranky and overworked and you were very sensitive.

I didn't like the idea that you gave TOO much of what you/we have, that we ended up having less. I didn't like sharing my room, my clothes and my Christmas shopping money. But now I realized it's not losing material things I hated the most, but rather, I detest that you shared yourself too much, lost yourself in the process, and then, I lost you - my mother. How many times should a child lose her parents?

Now, having experienced a lot more in life (joy, heartbreaks, but definitely not enough of either), I found myself more composed and less dramatic. I started seeing things from your point of view; I realized what a b*tch I can be when I'm mad, I felt sorry I was always biased towards dad, and it scared me how your only daughter perfected hiding affection for so long she almost forgot how it felt to be someone's daughter. You must have been scared, too.
It was a long ordeal, but I slowly stopped being angry. And so some months ago, I mustered the courage to face the mirror and talkto the obviously hurt girl.
It's not too late to be someone's daughter again, I told her. And I'm quite sure she smiled back.

Your Daughter


  1. Oh wow.

    I'm really fascinated about the process that we all go through as we step into different roles: lover, wife, mother, and yes, daughter. The dynamics bet. a daughter and mother is very eclectic, and I related on how you saw your mother change, and how it affected you in the process.

    I may not know the whole story, but I really admire you for deciding to travel back to a place where you are becoming the daughter again - perhaps a daughter that your mother deserves and desires.

    An unsolicited thought: let your mother go, give her a sense of freedom that she has lost. I'm quite sure that as we step into the different roles, we lose a part of ourselves in the process. I hope you can help your mother find hers.

    See you soon.


  2. Hi Reyna, thank you for your comment. I'll keep that in mind. =) I appreciate it, really!

    Though I have to tell that this is not entirely my story, just bits and pieces that I encounter along the way. Stories of myself and other daughters I met and talked with by chance. Michael for one, is a pseudo name. But of course, I shared a part of me in it.

    Thanks again, see you soon! =)

  3. Aren't mothers a fascinating character to delve into? I've always kind of known (a little) about this from years of friendship and glad to see and read everything you wrote above.

    PS: Sabi ko na kilala ko yung writing ni Anon eh! :D

  4. naiyak ako :(

    i grew up without my mom beside me too...when she got back, she had another daughter and i felt more alone. we fought a lot and i almost wished she didnt have to go back. but yeah, everything changed. now i understand her more and well, baliktad na mundo...ako na nanay nya.hahaha

  5. @iamsutil: Jheng! I didn't know that, because now you and your mom are so close now not to mention both very kikay. :) Well, I guess our moms fought their own battle being away from us, too. I'm striving to be a better daughter (or mom?) because you're right, things change and so are our roles in life! :) Miss you dear! I hope to see you soon. :(


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