[Mother’s Day] In and across the world

Jyle Sulit

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A son talks about his mom who bridges the distance between them with loving thoughts

SAME HEAD TILT. Doesn’t hurt to have inherited her mathematical skills as well. Photo from Marivel Cruz-Sulit

MANILA, Philippines – It was in 2008 when our family was shaken to its very core. 

During this time, both my siblings were already taking their college education; my sister in her 3rd year, my brother in his 1st. I was the only one left in high school, in my junior year in an exclusive school for boys in Makati. On the other hand, my father was into his 5th year of retirement due to medical conditions, and my mom was working as an accounting executive for a card systems company.

Sure, it sounds like an average nuclear family, and I would say that we were one. That’s until our breadwinner, our only employed member, got promoted – all the way to Singapore.

During her stay in the Lion City, I was able to fully appreciate how much she really loved us, her children. She would randomly send out e-mails, text messages, and chat messages, and even though I had always claimed to be too busy to respond to them, she never really got tired of checking up on us. 

In fact, she would even set aside expenses just to shoulder a monthly weekend visit from any of the three of us; and when that’s not possible, she would be the one to come back here despite her hectic schedule. Looking back, I guess she really missed us more than we missed her, and that should be telling of something altogether.

AWKWARD HUGGING. With my mom on a tourist trip back when she wasn’t pun-ny yet. Now I think she’d say “Getting Poor in Kuala Lumpur.” Photo by Micah Sulit

After a good two years, she came back home to work again here in the Philippines. This was the most time I spent with my mom, as it was convenient for both of us to have her dropped off at her office in Global City, before I head over to my classes in Diliman, and later pick her up on the way home. I learned first hand that her affection wasn’t just a result of a long distance separation anxiety – her concern carried over in proximity, evidenced by her constant nagging for me to always eat breakfast before classes, or not to stay up too late when there are classes tomorrow, even if reasons for the all-nighters are for the classes tomorrow. 

It wasn’t long before my mom got another promotion, and when it happened, it happened so fast. Her stay back here in the country barely lasted a year before she was off to Europe, where she currently resides as she alters between Salisbury and Madrid in her assignments. By this time, we had gotten used to not seeing much of her in the house, but that didn’t really stop any one of us from missing her even more.

What I love about my mom is that despite all conceivable flaws I may have in my relationship towards her, she still loves me for who I choose to be. Whether that would mean that I do not reply to her messages, nor eat breakfast before classes, nor sleep a little earlier on weekdays; she still supports me in my every endeavor, even if she doesn’t understand it at all.

For instance, she couldn’t understand why I had to go to the Senate to cover a mass protest for a news package requirement for my video production class. “Can’t you wait for it on the news?” she once told me in our chat. But her worry and concern did not stop her from still allowing me to borrow her car and a camera for this requirement. And it still came with a “good luck and keep safe” text before the rally began.

Four years ago, the easiest thing for all of us was to wait for me to graduate from high school here, and then find a university to enroll in in Singapore. After graduating from college, my siblings would be free to join us as they please; and we’d be one complete family in Singapore, probably until today. But it only took one “I’m not sure I want to leave the country,” from me to make her reconsider these plans. 

"STOMP"-ING TOGETHER. Nope, that is neither my father nor my brother. Photo from Marivel Cruz-Sulit

Fast-forward to today, and it seems as if the whole household is a mess. But I’d say we didn’t regret it one bit, and I owe it all to my mother.

Whether she’d be “roaming in Rome” or taking a “chance in France” (This is the way she names her photo albums in Facebook. “No Hassles in Brussels” was a hit; “Touched by Taj [Mahal]” was not) she never forgets about her pamilya  in Manila. (Okay, that one’s from me now. I just needed to prove that corny jokes are hereditary.) 

I’d have no reason to believe she isn’t the greatest mom, both in and across the world.

Happy Mother’s Day, Ma! I love you. –

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