The few times I saw my mother
It was never easy to have a mother like her.
My mother just turned 46 in March. The day before she celebrated her birthday, I turned 29.
She is omnipresent. I did not grow up knowing her in person, but I felt that she was just around since my aunt and my lola told me stories about her.
They told me that she was a funny kid who always liked going out and exploring the world. My aunt recalled those times when my mother sneaked out of their house during siesta hours to go to the nearby beach, and that time she stowed away from Tacloban to Manila just for the sake of adventure, only to return home hungry and thirsty for another journey.
How I met my mother
I first met my mother in the flesh when I was 9.
She seemed excited to see me, but after a tight hug and a few kisses, her excitement died down. I already noticed that in her during our first acquaintance, though I was quick to shoot those thoughts down because she is my mother.
It is funny to note that despite having reconnected with each other back then, my mother never made any effort to establish herself as an essential character in my life, especially during my growing up years.
She would arrive unexpectedly in our house in Pasig and stay there for a week at most. She would clean, do the laundry, and attend to other household chores. Then she will leave and we would not hear from her until the next few months or years.
The funnier thing is that while she has this quick affinity for children, she was never affectionate with me.
These things bothered me a lot as grew older.
I did not know if she really acknowledges me as her daughter, or if she had issues about entering my life and playing her supposed role: my mother.
To give her the benefit of the doubt, I told myself perhaps she suffered from post-partum depression. Giving birth at 17 makes all the difference on this earth, and maybe being separated from me allowed her to cope and return to her normal self.
These issues later turned into resentment towards her and towards myself. I asked a lot of questions. Did she really love me since I am her only child? Or did she have no choice but to give birth to me because the situation called for it?
I sometimes wished she did not give birth to me at all. Had I not been her child, maybe she would be able to live her dreams to the fullest without that sense of guilt or obligation haunting her in the middle of the night.
But while these feelings of resentment have mellowed down as I entered my 20s, the same questions still linger in my head. However, I found no chance to throw these questions her way.
Last time I saw her
It was in September of last year when I last saw my mother. I think it was after 5 or 6 year.
She looked older than her age, with the wrinkles starting to form on her face.
We sat down on a bench for a short conversation about random things. She talked to me like she was talking to a younger cousin or sister, exchanging sentences with expletives acting as punctuation marks. She still laughed like crazy, and her eyes squinted each time she did.
A photographer attempted to take a photo of us together, but she ran off and said she is camera shy.
I do not know when we will see each other again. I'm also not sure if she will finally oblige to a mother-daughter photo of us when that moment arrives. – Rappler.com
Fae Cheska Marie Esperas, 29, works as a monitoring and evaluation assistant for a recovery project of Community and Family Services International, and is currently based in Zamboanga City.