Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mothers' day


My mother and me

Last Saturday, my sister, brother-in-law and I went to Seattle. We celebrated Mother's Day with our mother.

Living with a family of boys to men, I find that these visits to my mother allow me to do and talk about girlie stuff that nobody in my house would relate to. At my mother's apartment, I can sift through her huge collection of trinkets, costume jewelry and cosmetics, and try them on, even take them back to BC. Last weekend, I used her mascara, tried on her different shades of lipstick, used her nail polish and gave myself a pedicure. My mother and I tried on her wigs too. She thought I should have one. I might just order one with that's dark brown with auburn streaks from her catalogue.

My mother's dresser is filled with beauty enhancers! My late father had gotten used to her taking a long time in front of the mirror. Sometimes he kidded her about it. Today, at 83, my mother still wears make-up even if she has nowhere to go. "Aba, maganda pa rin ang nanay pag nakaayos. Sino'ng mag-aakalang 83 na ako," she tells me confidently. (Your mother is still pretty when made up. Who'd think I'm 83?) She really looks younger than her years.

I grew up watching my mother, a full-time housewife, put on make-up every morning after tending her plants, answering the tabloid crossword puzzle and taking a shower. By the time my father came home for coffee break at 10:15 am. she was nicely made up. She retouched her make-up before my father came home at 4:30 pm.

I wonder if I'd be like her when I grow old. I am not a make-up person. I just don't have the time. I have a simple regimen. Moisturizer, foundation, lipstick, blush-on. Sometimes I put lipstick on the run while heading out the door, warming up the car engine or entering my office building. Eye shadow and mascara, if I have one, are for special occasions. And I hardly ever pluck my eyebrows. Ouch!

Back at my mother's apartment, I looked through her suitcases of Filipino costumes that she and my father had collected and used since the early 1990s when they became an active part of a Filipino seniors' group in Seattle. They performed in many places including the Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony. She's still actively folk dancing and singing today.


A part of the IDIC choir before going to a performance.
There could be more who were not present. The number of
men has dwindled in the last 10 years.


While I was trying on some costumes, she played Filipino folk music. I pretended to dance the tinikling with imaginary bamboo poles. I never danced tinikling when I was younger. Now I feel too old for it. I couldn't keep up with the fast music, and there was even no bamboo!

My mother is a very graceful folk dancer. Last Christmas, she taught me to dance the Kunday-kunday which we performed at the Filipino Christmas party at our church gym. I had to learn it five hours before the presentation because her real partner was unable to make it. "O, kendeng kendeng," she kept telling me. That's means I should bend my waist some more.

Before the dance, my mother grabbed the mic from the emcee and said without a bit of hesitation, "Pasensiya na kayo kung magkakamali kami. Ngayon ko lang kasi naituro ito sa anak ko." (Pardon us if we will make a mistake. I just taught this to my daughter.) Of course, if there was anyone who would make a mistake, it would be me.



My mother is better at this! But I did surprise a lot of people...
including me.


One thing that my mother and I do together is going to Ross or the thrift shop or the mall here in BC. Last weekend, we went to Walgreens and Bartell too. With her, I can take a long time shopping or browsing and it's all right.

Now my mother is here in BC and shuffling between our house and my sister's place. It's nice to have another woman in the house. I hope to look as young as her with I get to her age. As graceful too.

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