As kids, we were embarrassed that we call our mom ‘Nanay’ because our classmates call their mothers ‘Mommy’ or ‘Mama’. Because though we were poor, feeling shashal pa din ang peg naming magkakapatid.
I am so glad my mother is old school and doesn’t use the computer. I bet she will gloat like anything if she knew just how much we, as adults, appreciate now what we detested then as kids.
The value of education
“Ang tanging maipapamana naming sa inyo ay magandang edukasyon.” (We can’t bequeath you with anything but good education)
“Mamili kayo, lalake o pagaaral?” (You choose, boys or school?)
***C’mon Weng! You finished school more than a decade already… you’re taking this way too far already. ***
We studied in private schools, poor as we are, and we’re not even scholars. That’s how much education is important for them.
We were NEVER allowed to have boyfriends or suitors until we finished our studies. But because I am hard-headed, I went out with this guy (a group date of sorts at Wendy’s… hahaha) I met during our soiree in high school and a suitor who happened to be our neighbor too when I was in college.
But that’s just about it. It never became serious because I was terrified that they will make good with their threat and I will stop if ever I’m found out. I’m glad I listened. I love where I am now; thanks for a good job that sees me through my family’s needs, a bit of wants and those little luxuries that we treat ourselves with on occasions.
The value of time
“Mabuti nang ikaw ang maghintay kaysa ikaw ang hintayin” (It is better that you wait rather than make others wait for you).
We were lucky that our school is within 5-10 minutes walking distance from our house and you will think that because of its proximity we have the luxury of waking up late. Hell no! If our classes start at 7:30AM, we are woken up as early as 5:00AM to give us enough time to prepare and eat breakfast.
She instilled in us the value of time and being on time. Even in college, rare were those occasions when I was late for class or projects. On job interviews, I arrive at least 30 minutes before my schedule so I can prep up and not look like the wind blew me in. If I have presentations to make, I go to the venue way ahead of time to check if everything’s in place and that gives me time to run through my deck and relax before the participants arrive.
Of course I get late on my friends but not that late. And I make sure I text them so that they can go with the plan and I’ll just meet them wherever.
Nothing ticks me off more than people who have no respect for other people’s time. I. Hate. It.
The value of money
“Huwag ubos biyaya, bukas nakatunganga.” This is a Filipino saying that means never waste all that you have in a day then just stare into space the next day.
We grew up with just the bare necessities, for our tuition and what little pocket money they can spare us since we go home for lunch anyway.
Then life got a little better because I was working already and my sister left for the UK (typical Pinoy family tale) and she sends us money, but my mom remained as stingy as ever. We have to goad her to do some shopping or that we go out of town for some relaxation, otherwise she won’t budge at all.
She has the habit of peeking over my shoulder when it’s time to pay the bill then she will murmur, “Ang mahal naman niyan!” To which I will tell her, “I’m paying, ok? And it’s not as though we do this everyday.”
Treat yourself well
“Pag ilalagay mo sa tiyan mo, dapat masarap.” When it comes to food, you should always go for quality.
Even as we had only enough, my parents took us to Goldilocks. FYI, since we don’t have enough money then, my father never orders food; he just waits for our leftovers.
Of course we eat fried chicken. But that half of a chicken breast is divided among us three siblings. Just so we can say we ate fried chicken. Then they will have dried fish for themselves.
Back when apples, oranges and grapes were fruits that only the rich can afford, Nanay will buy us a little of each so that we will know what these fruits taste like and won’t be ‘ignorante’ given that we are studying in private schools.
There is a slew of things that she taught us and though I may not have included them here, I am thankful that we were reared as were. Looking back on those days when we can barely get by, I promised myself, one day our fridge will have not just cold water but with cake, ice cream, juice, fresh milk, and chocolates and I will take them to restos where all of us can order the food that we like and no one will have to wait for leftovers.
Us, siblings made good with that promise. Growing up with barely enough to get by, made us appreciate what we have now; not much but more than enough.
Happy Mother’s Day, Nanay! You’re not perfect, you have flaws too (a lot perhaps 😉 ) but just so you know, we can never thank you enough for everything that you went through for us; ragged edges and all, you’re just the perfect Nanay for us.
Here’s a simple video I made previously; it’s a song that Nanay sings to us when we’re kids and now she sings to her grandchildren.