Happy Mother’s Day, everybody

I will not dwell on Mami’s passing, preferring instead to celebrate her life. I know she had had a hard life, but she was as devoted to me as any mother could have been to her child. For good or ill, she loved me more than anything in her life, and if I could not reciprocate it to the extent that she wanted, she did know that I did love her, and we were at least able to find a truce of sorts.

I have missed her terribly these last few weeks, and I suppose that will fade in time, but my love for her will remain with me for the remainder of my days. She did more good than harm in our time together, and now here I am at the age of 46, and my mother is no longer there to wish a Happy Birthday or a Happy Mother’s Day to. I settle instead for the next best thing: we went to church this morning, lit three candles (one for Mom, the others for Grandma, Mami Flor, Titi Rosie, Titi Erasma – whew!). But one just for my Mom alone. I said three Hail Marys, one Our Father, and spent the rest of the time speaking to Mom in the same low whisper I used the last time I ever spoke to her.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you.
But life on Earth is for the living. If this is the end of one cycle of life for my family, it is the beginning for Michael, and I always try to keep that in mind. He is the future, and now that the places have changed and I am the parent seat, I feel the sense of immense love that my mother must have felt for me, feel it for my boy.
The parallels do not escape me — the loss of a child (Alison for me, Joanne for Mom) has perhaps intensified our devotion to our remaining child. And maybe that is OK, if I can learn from the mistakes Mom made with me. One thing for sure — I am determined to be involved in our son’s life. No absent Dad stuff for Michael, no vague, half-formed memories to cling to in his adulthood, the way I have had to do. I will be an active presence in his life.
And that brings me to Ting, who has busted her butt for the last two years or so, striving to better Michael’s situation, whether that means fighting with service coordinators for increased services or shlepping him miles away to Long Island Jewish Hospital in Long Island by bus — dealing with his milk antipathy, his dietary problems, taking him to Gymboree, cleaning until late into the night and oh, by the way, cooking meals…all of which was not enough to keep her from feeling intense self-doubt, the notion that she was somehow failing as a mother when in fact the reverse was true.
So here in 2008, I salute my beloved wife Chiu Ting and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, her third of many. I love you, honey…and so does Michael.
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~ by Rob Parrilla on May 11, 2008.

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