Sunday, May 13, 2012
My Mama, My Hero ...
I'd like to dedicate this blogpost to one of the strongest and hardworking women I know ... my Mom. Most of you know I am 100% Filipina, daughter to Filipino immigrant parents. We moved to the U.S. back in May of 1990, May 26, 1990 to be exact. Wow, almost 22 years ago; hard to believe and with all moves, it was a struggle.
It all started back when my Mom applied for her greencard in 1972, but not receive a response until 1988, by then already married with 3 children of her own (ages 9, 8 and 1). Most of my family and friends who also have immigrant parents tend to share a common theme and that is finding life/finding work and working hard once you find it .. "hanap buhay" in my home language. Growing up, it was the women who were the breadwinners. I remember both my father and mother working back in the Philippines and when we moved to the U.S., it was my mother who found a job first. Firsthand this is where my hardwork ethic blossomed from and why I believe that women should strive to achieve and accomplish as much as they can so they can survive in this harsh world of ours if necessary. We all hear it; tomorrow is never promised.
Plan B: Plan B is probably my most important lesson learned from Mom. My brothers and I can tell you while growing up, we would see articles on the bathroom mirrors (for when we all brushed our teeth before school), we would see newspaper clippings on the cabinet above the microwave (for when we heated up our breakfast) or we would see sticky notes by our lunch money ($2 a day each back then). The newspaper clippings ranged from 1.) the importance of saving, ROTHs, IRAs, etc. 2.) the importance of education and finishing college, 3.) lessons learned from too much credit cards, 4.) planning for the future and many more. My Mom believed in women to work because tomorrow is not promised to you. We all could have the most stable and loving relationship with our spouse, but God forbid should anything happen to the breadwinner, the spouse will have to step in to ensure the basic necessities are covered (i.e. food, shelter, clothing).
While my Mom worked, I remember having to grow up fairly quickly ... helping with taking care of my two younger brothers, cleaning the house, helping my brothers with their schoolwork and preparing meals. Back then, I may have missed (and wished) my Mom was home more often, but at age 31, a Mom myself, I understand now why she did what she had to do. Survival. It was difficult enough to leave your home country where you grew up most of your life, say farewell to family and friends, sell all that you have and move to a foreign place all on your own. We didn't speak any English. I can't even imagine what was going on in my parents' minds starting all over in the U.S.
I look back quite often especially now that I am a Mom myself. When you have a child, the world does not revolve around you anymore and your responsibility shifts to this person you brought into the world. I have a responsibility to raise this little boy, feed him healthy foods, provide clothing on his back and make sure he has opportunities in this world. I may not be around him 100% of his time, but I know I work to ensure I am able to provide for him and my husband .. or God forbid, step in and be plan B. That doesn't mean I don't miss my son while I work; I do every second of the day. But to know and accept that we are in God's hands, have a stable income from dual-careers, generous health insurance and an infinite love for one another, this all gives me a peace of mind.
Growing up, I may have not had the nicest things, but I look more at the bigger picture .. the fact that my Mom (and Dad) left her life in the Philippines so my brothers and I can get a piece of the American dream.
And because of my Mom, I am who I am today and so much more.
Happy Mother's Day Mom! I love you =) ...