I dreaded for this day to come since January this year. I used to love this day and do something special for my mother. I live thousands of miles away from her so I ask my brothers or sister to give her flowers or eat out using the money I send to them. This year, I didn’t greet her (heck we haven’t spoken for 3 months now), post any Mother’s Day greeting on Facebook, or text her. I just couldn’t. But I asked my brother to give the money I sent to her so they can go out and celebrate.
My husband, daughter and I went to the Philippines for a vacation January this year. I have been excited months before to be reunited with my family. I envisioned us spending quality time, making special happy memories, relaxing in the beach… it didn’t happen. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. I have been so stressed and unhappy the entire time – it was the worst vacation ever. There were other big factors that contributed to that nightmare of a vacation but I guess the fight with my mother was top 1 in the list.
We were having breakfast and talking about the repairs needed for the house – my mother’s father’s house which I bought from her siblings. I mentioned that I won’t be doing a lot of repairs yet because I will use the money to pay the 100K pesos balance I still have for the house. (Initially, the deal was for me to only pay 700K pesos to them, since there were 8 of them and I wouldn’t have to pay for my mom’s share. But then her brothers and sisters changed their minds and now they wanted me to pay 800K but my mother will still not have any share from it).
Mother said not to pay them anymore, that her siblings already got their share and that they didn’t even give her any. So I was offended, in my mind, what I heard was that I should give her the money instead (later she clarified that what she meant was that we can use the money to buy a car they can use to go to the farm). So I asked (in an offended voice and rather irritated tone), ‘So you still want to get your share? You and the family are the ones living in this house, why do you still want to get your share?’ And she started to yell, saying, ‘I will not live in this house anymore! I will take the kids (my sister’s 2 kids) to the farm right now! We will live there so I don’t have to take part in paying for this house!’
I was so deeply hurt by her words I started to cry. It hurt because I have been paying for this house so they can live in a nicer house (our old house felt like it would give in any time). Yes, I am making decent money but it’s just enough for our small family of 3 to live comfortably. I am being very frugal that is why I am able to send money to pay the house and help them when someone is sick or needed money. I choose not to buy myself expensive clothes, always going to a thrift shop to buy a 10 to 15 dollar dress so I can spare some money to send to the Philippines.
It hurt because I didn’t want her and my father to live in the farm, so far away from my brothers and because they are getting old, they don’t have to travel far if they get sick.
It hurt because I only see them and be with them physically every 2 years or so and she’s threatening me that she’s leaving after my family arrived in the house only the night before.
It hurt me really bad I almost couldn’t breathe.
I cried. My brother comforted me and asked my mom to stop. In my anger, I said that she has a horrible attitude (which also hurt her bad, she said that if she was horrible, she wouldn’t give her life for us to have a good one), but what I really meant was that the words that come out of her mouth are like poison to me. She never thinks first before saying anything, not caring how much she can hurt, she would just say anything as she pleases.
That was the 3rd time my mom and I had a big fight. The first was when I was in 1st year college – but that was my fault for being jealous of my adopted sister. The second time was only about 3 years ago, when she suddenly Skyped me. I was happy and excited to see her and then she started ranting and saying I should just forget about her and that I should think that she’s dead. I didn’t even know what I did to her, later I found out that she was mad that I didn’t give her dollars and I gave my cousin 20 dollars for taking me to the airport!
I love my mother. I do. And I know she has sacrificed a lot for our family. I commend and thank her for giving birth to me, taking care of me when I was a child, and sending me to school. I could never repay all my debts to her. That is why I helped in sending my brothers to college. That is why I send them money when they need it. That is why I bought that house for them.
I always thought I was a good daughter, but maybe I’m not who I thought I was. I always wanted to give them a more comfortable life, but it seems that is not what they want. Now that she’s retired, I wished she would be able to travel more, relax, and enjoy the fruits of her labor. Instead, she is taking care of my sister’s 2 boys in the farm, without electricity, where they have to fetch water from the underground river in the cave, maybe 200 feet away from the farm house. She has to wash clothes with her hands, cook using wood, and endure not having TV for entertainment.
She hasn’t spoken to me. She hasn’t tried. They didn’t Skype me on my birthday . Well, we sort of “patched up” 2 weeks before I left but it was never the same. She did live in the house while I was there. But ever since I got back in Texas, we never spoke. Of course I am used to not seeing or talking to them because I have been living by myself since I was 13. But we Facebooked and Skyped every couple of months and it’s different now. I have resentment in my heart because I am also a mother now. I thought she would want to see my daughter. I hurts me that she could bear not seeing her and while we were there, she didn’t really give much attention to her, not the way I expected, at least. She was too busy taking care of the 2 boys. Maybe I expected way too much from her. Or maybe she was also hurt by what I said. It goes both ways.
Anyway, it will take time but I know we will be able to fix our broken relationship. Just like any mother-daughter relationships, ours is not perfect.