[Family] How I ‘met’ my mother

Joulo Visabella
RAPPLER Joulo Visabella grew up under Spartan-like discipline from his mom.

TOUGH LOVE, TOUGH BOND. RAPPLER Joulo with his disciplinarian mom. Photo from Joulo Visabella

MANILA, Philippines – My mother would qualify for the position of Mayor in Stepford. She is a former beauty queen; demure, dainty but strict and could be downright cruel. She was like the witch to my Hansel, except that she ate all the candy I thought was sweet.

She never let us out when the other kids were playing in the street. She packed us restaurant-style snacks when our classmates bought theirs from the canteen. She never let us watch television except for the news. She would endlessly check up on us through our mobile.

The chores she’d make us do, oh, you have no idea. She’d always say that — when we grow up and have our own home — we’d know how to take care of it. The whole time I was polishing the floor or washing the dishes on my schedule, all that was running through my mind was, “Mom, we’re not going to be household helpers when we grow up.”

In school, I got good grades, was never late and participated in extra-curricular activities. Whenever I told her about the achievements I got for the day, she’d just smile and say, ‘Good,’ like it wasn’t that important. I never really understood her.

Then something happened.

I was leading a group for a class project and everything turned out perfectly. I was proud. My classmate laughed at me and said, “If you weren’t a little Hitler we wouldn’t be able to pull this off.”

I was surprised.

I looked in the mirror and met my mother.

I suddenly understood her. I realized I am the product of my mother’s rigorous discipline. I realized at that moment that I wouldn’t be me without her.

You know how I felt? I was proud.

To everyone else, my mother is the epitome of Betty Draper. But in our household, she is Don-Draper-meets-Martha-Stewart-on-crack and that’s why I love her.

She wasn’t the cool mom the I desperately wanted; she wasn’t the tender-loving-care type either and she definitely wasn’t the hipster mom.

She was — and still is — simply Lea Visabella, the mother I adore and cherish.

I never say this…

I love you, Ma. – Rappler.com

(We at RAPPLER Life & Style thank all of our readers who shared with us their Mother’s Day stories. Thank you for the time, effort and trust. As Mother’s Day month ends, we will publish the remaining blogs that were sent our way. We hope that you will continue to support us as Father’s Day month rolls in. Thank you for being part of the RAPPLER community. Keep sending us your Life & Style stories to desk@rappler.com.) 

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