Photographs. They are a common accessory to any mom. To most Filipino moms, they are part of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs probably somewhere near the top beside self-fulfillment, belief in a higher being and attention. And there is a really good reason why and when I realized it, I literally cried like a hammy actor in a Filipino movie.
I distinctly remember a time. Not the exact time or date but the exact scene in my head. I went home from an otherwise unlively day from work. It was the weekend. The house was empty. My brother was working the late shift and my parents were away on vacation in the Philippines.
Maybe it was the emptiness in the house but I felt very vulnerable. It was one of those nights where I was so drained emotionally and mentally and the prospect of spending a weekend by myself in the cavernous house was depressing.
I couldn’t help but stare at the many photos we had in our house. I reminisced about my childhood. About all those times my mom got frustrated trying to get a “decent” photograph of all of us. About the dozens of photo albums, we kept at our house.
Our present generation now may be addicted to selfies but before smart phones and social media predominated society, my mom was addicted to just taking photos of us. Her family.
“Yun lang ang aking kaligayahan,” (It’s my only joy) she always said. It was then I just realized all this time. The value of all those photos we took and why we took so many: The one true thing that made my mother happy was her family.
I’m not perfect. I’m too distant sometimes. I can say and do hurtful things even when I don’t mean to. But at the end of it all, I was still her pride and joy. She’s very critical of us but she’s probably worse to herself. We treat our loved ones the way we treat ourselves.
But I’ll always love her for that. And when I finally realized this I broke down and cried. I’m not sure why but maybe the epiphany was just so emotional but I’m glad I realized it when my mother was still alive and healthy.
Since this time, I’ve changed my mindset towards my mother. I moved out of the house and saw her in a different life. I no longer felt pestered by her and it felt like the pressures around us started to lighten.
I love my mother and I do what I can to keep her happy. At the end of it all, the greatest gift you can give your mom is your time and attention. I hope many of you realize this while she is still around so you can tell her and show her how much she means to each of you.