like mother, like daughter


Mom at Queens Center (aka "happiest place in Queens, y'all")

When my mother was growing up in a small village in the Philippines, she was a beauty. She still is a beauty. She won a small beauty pageant when she was 19.

When I was growing up in Queens, I had bad skin and frizzy hair that I sometimes cut myself and I was fat. I won the district wide spelling bee in fifth grade, an honor that came with a medal and a trophy and a blue satin jacket from The New York Daily News that had the legend DISTRICT WIDE SPELLING BEE CHAMPION on the back.

I must have had a lot of juice because somehow I got an extra jacket that fit my dad perfectly and he would wear with pride until, like, LAST YEAR. He’d get hearty congratulations from strangers on the subway when he wore the jacket. And he wore that thing all the time.

When my mom was my age, she had just moved from the relative tranquil of Okinawa to the strange place that is Queens. We lived in a one room apartment with my dad’s parents. I have no idea how four adults and three children lived in so small an apartment.

I currently live in a one room apartment (I prefer to think of my studio as a “mini loft”). I have no in-laws or children, but I do have waaaay too much stuff .

My mother puts up with a lot of bullshit from me. A lot of times when I don’t call or visit enough, don’t tell her enough about my life. Not because I don’t want to share, but because I foolishly think she won’t care or, even worse, understand what I am talking about. I spent part of my life underestimating her, and I don’t think I could do enough to make up for it. If I could afford to send her a gift every day for a year, and not just one day a year, that wouldn’t begin to pay her back for her humor, her patience, her faith, and her wisdom.

But for now, the card and the [redacted! she hasn’t gotten it yet] I ordered from Amazon will have to be a start.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy. I love you so much.



Filed under family

3 responses to “like mother, like daughter

  1. Rachel

    Awww. 🙂

  2. jose davila

    It pained me to see what you had to write, I suppose, after some soul- searching. After all these years, you’ve finally come to a realization that you must have hurt someone you now profess to love so much. But we’re all, to a certain extent, guilty of hurting, most grievously, at times, those we really love. It’s an irony of human nature.
    You never thought mom could be sensitive enough to endure your transgressions. But she had, on numerous occasions, complained to me about it. And I was adamant that she dealt with it forcefully, I didn’t want to do it for her. I felt she had to assert herself for import.
    But she always begged off saying some day you would realize what you were doing. And I see that you’ve chosen to deal with it on such an auspicious day as Mother’s day.
    Mom was in tears after she read your email, blog, etc. She easily acknowledged that, not only you, but all your other siblings, in one form or another, had transgressed in the same manner.
    But now that you’ve brought it up and seem truly penitent about it, we can put closure to a painful episode in our collective lives, and try to move on. Indeed, we dont know how much time we have left to be nicer to each other, and more caring and appreciate the love we all feel for each other.
    I’ll settle for one gift every week or even every other week. (Just kidding)


    • jose davila

      What have I done? I started speaking for your mom and ended up putting her name on it anyway. Ayayaayay
      Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, Off with the head
      It calls for public flogging,

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