Sunday, May 10, 2015

Thinking of Rosie on Mother's Day

She wasn't perfect, like many of us.

A slave driver, she'd harrass and terrorize the househelp, hardly giving them time to rest. 

She was so frugal she bought herself only one (1) new dress and only one (1) new pair of shoes every year.  She hardly threw anything away and collected used plastic bags, bottles, and gift wraps and ribbons. She even kept little jars of used cooking oil which she got rid of only after they reached a dark brown color. "Never use oil from cooking fish for frying meat," she'd often say.

But she stashed money away in various places only she knew about and then promptly forgot she hid them. When her children needed money and didn't have the temerity to ask and go through her inquisition-like interrogations, all they needed to do was silently scavenge around her house and thank her later.

She liked to haul home goodies. She'd go on vacations to her farm in the country and return to her house in the city bringing sacks of rice, fruits, vegetables, fish and even several live chicken, with their feet all tied together so they wouldn't get away.  Her children were always in fear that one day she'd come back from the country and enter her house with a whole live cow in tow.

She loved gaiety. It didn't take much to get her to dance, sometimes just by herself. She'd cook for days, invite kin and friends to party and then complain of being tired and vow not to do it again, which of course she did. And repeatedly.  It was a never ending cycle of cooking, partying and then complaining. Sigh!

She had an extra pair  of antennae.  She'd tell stories of having been visited by her long-gone father or her favorite aunt.  Some mornings, she'd get out of her bedroom and announce that  she had smelt candle smoke and that so-and-so  had passed away. Somehow she knew when a friend or relative died even before she received news of the death.

Hers was somewhat an arranged marriage. Her husband's mother courted her mother. The two were classmates in cooking school.

Apparently, she had learned to love her husband. She was always at his side and nursed him through a stroke he suffered. Later, her husband did the same for her. They both passed away in the same year, as if they could not bear to be without each other. He died in March and she in August of 2004. 

She was a stern disciplinarian.  Nobody was allowed to leave the dining table unless his/her plate was clean of food. Spare time was to be used darning frayed clothes, wiping dust off furniture or watering the plants in the yard. She set curfews for her children, even if most of them managed to violate them and still get away unscathed except for a tweak on the ear.

Yet when one of her children had an untimely pregnancy, she gave only love and comfort  instead of condemnation and reprimand.

Her name was Rosie.  She was my mother.

Rosie, my mom, after graduating from college with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy
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  1. Wow, I see a whole lot of your mom in you. The antenna, the frugality, the saving of stuff. Don't see the disciplinarian side, that's good. My mom had that trait too, but like yours, she was also loving.

  2. She sounds like a strong and thoughtful woman.