The two most important women in my life were born one after the other. Yesterday we celebrated Tala; today I celebrate my mom.
One year ago, this was me in labor at home. My mom was right there, cradling my head in her lap and stroking my hair, being a mom at the moment I was about to become one. It wasn’t all beautiful and black-and-white; in the hospital I shouted “Don’t touch me!” at her when she tried to rearrange my legs on the bed.
But she was there all throughout my labor, swallowed her many anxieties and opinions (of which Marlon got an earful while I was knocked out on general anesthesia), and trusted me to do things my way at this pivotal moment in my life. Though she said she often felt useless, I didn’t need her to do anything except just be there. And she was.
After Marlon, she was the second person who got to hold Tala even before I did. I wouldn’t have chosen any differently.
The last year has made me understand my mom in a profound way. I wrote her a letter last Christmas saying, in about nine handwritten pages, something to that effect. Here’s an excerpt from that letter:
As a (new) parent, I am quickly learning that all parents are just doing the best we can with what we are given. You did spectacularly well with the situation life gave you. I don’t know how you did it, but I am so thankful that you did.
Looking at everything you did for Ate and me all by yourself, I don’t know if I could ever do the same. If Marlon and I are able to give Tala even half of what you were able to give Ate and me, I will be so happy and proud.
You and I may do the day-to-day things differently, but when it comes the big picture, you are my inspiration. Everything you have done for me shapes the way I am raising my daughter.
Happy birthday, Mom! I hope to always make you proud. I love you.