Archive for March, 2010

We watched Alice in Wonderland days ago, but I can’t get the movie out of my mind. The movie was splendid (although I think 3D is overrated), but what really got me thinking was a Facebook conversation I had with my sister, to which our mother unceremoniously butted in with: “YOU MAKE YOUR OWN DESTINY. You owe nobody for who you are and what you are and what you will still achieve. Hardwork, perseverance and the right attitude will take you to greater heights.”

Now, my mother is far from perfect, and we’ve burned and rebuilt and burned so many bridges just between the both of us that we’d need an accounting firm to keep track of it. But thinking about Alice in Wonderland and thinking about her, I realized that she had always raised us in that non-conventional, often controversial, empowering way.

When I was in elementary school (probably about ten), I had a strange conversation with a very close relative who related how her mother would pick the clothes she would wear everyday. And I remember thinking: “What a strange thing to do.” And I noticed more of it as I grew up: friends who wouldn’t do anything without prior approval from their parents, who were afraid to speak their minds or disagree (with anyone, and I mean anyone!), friends who were afraid of being labeled “different.”

Compared to them, I must have seemed like a bull in a china shop, which my late paternal grandparents (may their souls rest in peace) had no qualms about reprimanding at the drop of a hat.

My mom raised us to think and decide for ourselves.

As I said, she is not perfect. She’s had her own share of mistakes. But I can never fault her for giving us that freedom. I’m sure there were many times when she regretted it, especially when we would talk back or refuse to do as she told us to. I am sure it must have caused her a great deal of heartache when other people would ostracize us for our choices.

Nevertheless, she made sure we received the right education to help us reach our goals, even though I know there were times when she had to scrounge for every last penny to make it happen. She took us to plays, concerts, and let us join clubs and go on trips. We were not a rich family, and there were many times when it felt like we were not even middle class, but it only makes the present even sweeter.

After this we will still argue and ocassionally hate each other’s guts. But whatever I have achieved today, I achieved because she made sure I had a strong foundation. She probably won’t believe me (the older mothers get the more they are obliged to be dramatic, I think),but I will forever be grateful for it.


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