They say being a father isn’t about having a child, but about raising one. I can attest to this because I myself was raised by a single mother.
For Mother’s Day, my mom asked me and my sisters to write ten things we liked about her. Without asking why, we sent the letters to her, privately. After reading them, my mom said that when her time comes and she meets St. Peter at the gates of heaven, instead of telling him why she’s worthy, she’ll make him read the letters we wrote.
For Father’s Day, my mom asked me to post my letter to her online. Which is why, along with our photos, I am sharing here the ten things I thank my mother for. (Read: The Miracles of Motherhood: Readers share their soul-stirring stories)
1. For giving me a normal childhood.
My father may not have been around, but not once did I feel like our family was incomplete.
2. For providing for our family.
You assumed a mantle that wasn’t yours, and you did it well. You provided us years of education, food that’s more than necessary, simple luxuries, and so much more.
3. For having enough energy to care for us.
It baffles me that this is the part you think you lacked. Thanks for running me through my homework when I was young, for taking me to school every morning, for picking me up after swimming practice—all these after your long day of work. Thank you also for bringing me to church and making sure I learned a thing or two. (Read: An Expert’s Tip to Instilling Faith in Young Children)
4. For cooking for us.
Yes, this deserves its own number. I’ve paid an unreasonable amount of money for overpriced restaurant food, but to this day, nothing beats lasagna, baked chicken, beef wonton noodles, and so many other dishes that you cooked yourself. (Read: Cardinal Tagle’s Favorite: Nanay Mila’s Pinangat na Sapsap Recipe)
5. For trusting in me.
You were never “strict,” as other parents were. But I’d like to think you just knew exactly when to loosen your grip and retighten it. Back when I was a dumbass teenager, thanks for not resorting to any form of abuse and masking as a discipline.
6. For teaching me to be kind.
My values were honed by how you treat other people. Your kindness to workers and our helpers are manifested by their loyalty to us—even years after their service. Let me add that this is an underrated virtue that children often learn from their parents. In a world that overvalues fame and wealth, as if those are the only two measures of success, kindness is often overlooked upon. Thanks to you, I will always choose to be kind rather than successful and pretentious. (Read: We asked grandparents: How do you attain genuine happiness?)
7. For singing to me.
All those iconic Carpenters songs, the instrumentals you hummed and played while you took me to school, the one-liners that you never get to finish, I loved them all.
8. For teaching me to be patient.
You taught me through your inability to be. I now know that it was the result of the many stressors in the past that you had to face alone. I was completely unaware of them back then, all because you sheltered me from them. But thanks for that impatience, I am able to endure and understand a great many things. Plus, who would have known that you were just training me for the most impatient person I love in the world, Georgia.
9. For going beyond your responsibility.
Your kids are now adults, yet you still find the time to check up on us despite being miles away. Let me now tell you that your responsibility has ended when your youngest graduated, and that you deserve every bit of the life you want to have. Thank you for always putting our needs and wants ahead of yours, years ago. (Read: How Candy, Assunta, and Risa survived the hardships of motherhood)
10. For being who you are and what you mean to me.
That is something even I cannot express in words. You taught me so many things that are so deeply ingrained in who I am that I can’t even separate whether they are uniquely mine or acquired from you. This is for all the reasons that don’t fit this list.
Mom, whenever I see you fill your mouth with air and make your cheeks bloat like a puffer fish, I would always ask, “Why are you doing that?” To this, you always had the same answer, “Para mataba.” You taught me that life doesn’t always have to be serious—there are in-betweens, transition periods that are out of our control—and that sometimes, all we need to do is enjoy the ride while it lasts. (Read: A Prayer For When You Feel Like Giving Up)
You taught me to never put my pride over someone I care about. I remember when you accidentally threw out that sticker from the US that I had waited for months, you initially acted on anger but eventually apologized. Thank you for apologizing and humbling yourself. For all the unspoken things, other things you think you should be sorry for, you are forgiven.
I am also sorry if I ever made you feel unappreciated. I never thought I would have to say it, but you have been, and still are, the absolute best. I love you, Mom. Happy Father’s Day.
Aaron is an e-commerce professional in the Philippines who finds joy in telling stories through captions, music, and photos. He is a proud “momma’s boy” to Marilyn Uy who is now based in the United States.
Text by Aaron Gaddi.
(Article originally published in his Instagram account, @aaroniclife.)