Earlier this week, we celebrated women all around the world for International Women’s Day. Today, like many, I am celebrating a very specific woman. My mother.
I’ve talked a lot about my mother over the years and I genuinely don’t think I would have survived the last few without her. We’ve always been incredibly close, perhaps more so after my father passed away nearly five years ago.
To say life has been difficult would be a huge understatement. My dad had been in and out of hospital for as long as I can remember and I suppose I never really processed how serious it was. For me, taking the bus with mum to visit him post-operation in a hospital ward was just a regular thing we did after school and on the weekend. To this day, I still can’t comprehend how stressful and scary that must have been for my mother.
She’s a tough cookie. I mean, coming all the way to miserable, rainy Wales from an impoverished town in the Philippines would have been the biggest culture shock. I’d say she’s done pretty well and can only hope that I haven’t turned out too bad. Despite knowing how strong she is, I still feel viciously protective of her. We’ve both been on the receiving end of racism whilst living our lives in Wales and knowing how hardworking, kind and selfless my mother is, it just breaks my heart. It was part of the reason why I was eager to build a life and career far, far away from that small Welsh town in a city that was way more diverse.
Yet, regardless of whatever was happening, she worked hard, always made sure that there was food on the table and that I was able to have nice things like my peers. Looking back, I know that can’t have been easy. No matter what life seems throw at her, she manages to conquer it and always with a smile.
In terms of personality, I definitely take after my father. Opinionated, quick-tempered, hot-headed. All that and a double chin… I am SUCH a catch, I swear! I also am very useless when it comes to adulting which is something my dad never quite worked out either despite his professional ‘I’ve-got-this-shit-sorted’ demeanor. Mum, on the other hand, is the opposite. It’s probably why we butt heads a lot. She is calm, rarely raises her voice (unless I’ve done something to really irritate her) and is able to let go of things. She’s also very good at being a capable and competent adult who doesn’t have an anxiety breakdown every time one small thing doesn’t go plan. I promise I’m working on that, mum!
I’m in awe of my mum. Her tenacity, her resilience, her confidence and her compassion. I wish I was more like her. I’m learning to be, but one can only hope to be half the woman she is.
One thing I’ve definitely inherited from her is a sense of style. Much of my adoration of fashion comes from her and the many shopping trips we used to take together on the weekends. She was a style icon since way before I came on the scene and she’s still killing it now in her sixties! I won’t share the photos of her from the 90s here because she’d probably hate me, but trust me, she was a fashion queen!
When I sit down at my desk to work every single day, it’s not lost on me that I wouldn’t be here and having this certainly eventful and fun life without my mum. The sacrifices she made and the endless hard work she put in to give me the best possible route in life all led to me being able to follow my dreams and know that I was supported every step of the way. Even if I was deviating from the traditional lawyer/doctor Asian expectations… (Seriously, it’s all I get asked about when I’m in the Philippines!)
She’s always championed me. Whenever I start to feel like I’m not good enough, she’s the one that reminds me that I am and of everything that I’ve achieved. I know that I’m so, so lucky to have a mother like her! I love her infinite amounts!
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MUM!
*Flowers: Bloom and Wild