I finally get it now Mama. I understand you. I get why you were the way you were as a mom. I finally understand your fears, your joys, and frustrations. I finally know and fully feel how much you loved me, how precious I was in your eyes, how much I meant to you.
I look into my daughter’s eyes and feel it, how much I meant the world to you. I caress my daughter’s face and understand that I was really the most beautiful girl in your eyes.
I call my daughter my baby doll and understand why you used to call me “Manika ko [my doll]”. I sniff my daughter’s hair and savor her scent as if it’s one of the most precious moments of my life and realize why you would kiss my hand at night.
I made you so happy. I was your world.
I remember you would sit in the passenger seat and watch me drive. You’d stare at me obviously amazed and say “Bakit ako nagka anak ng maganda. Ang swerte ko talaga [Why did I have such a beautiful daughter? I’m so lucky.]” I would brush it off as something silly because back then I didn’t understand why mothers say things like that.
You would listen attentively to my endless stories about school, about my friends, and laugh at my punchlines. You used to say I was so funny, now I know you really thought I was that amusing. I giggle at my daughter’s antics everyday the way you used to at mine.
Now I understand why you would tell me you love me often, as if saying it felt as good as hearing it. I now know how much my “I love you mama” meant to you, how it made you feel happy and fulfilled.
You gave up on your dreams to be with us, to be with me.I used to think you could’ve been an awesome lawyer and didn’t understand why you had to give up chasing that dream. I used to ask you “Do you ever regret quitting law school, mom?” and you’d smile and tell me how lucky you feel to have me.
I now know that I was infinitely more important to you than any title, any degree, or accomplishment. And that seeing your children happy was your life’s greatest achievement.
My daughter has me completely wrapped around her tiny little fingers, and I now know why I seemed to have had you in mine. You would have given me the world if you could.
Mama, I now understand why you would wait for me to come home at night, and why you would stay up to guard our house while I slept because it was just me and you at home then.
I now get it mom, why you would blast my phone with dozens of calls and texts whenever I’m out late at night. And how it feels to be worried sick to your stomach. To watch the news and constantly fear for your daughter’s safety. Because you thought the world was so scary and cruel for me, your precious little girl.
I now know you did all that to protect me, because I was a part of your heart outside your body. You felt vulnerable like your world could come crashing down if something bad were to happen to me. I understand it now.
I remember you used to cry whenever I’d be in pain, it was like you felt it twice as much. Now I know you really did, and wished you could take the pain from me and suffer it instead.
I get it now mama. I really do. Having a daughter made me feel how it was to love like you. To care for a little girl the way you used to.
While you were starting to get sick they’d tell me whenever you’d have anxiety attacks, you couldn’t sleep and worry about anything and everything often for days on end.
And I would come and lie down beside you to calm you down. Within minutes you’d be sound asleep like a baby.
Just as my daughter is an important part of me, I was a part of you. And everytime I’d be away you felt something was missing. Everytime I was there you felt complete, calm, as if everything will be alright.
A few days before you died you told me “Mahal kita [I love you]” and you asked for a hug. I understand that now mama. I understand that you were scared, and that you wanted to make sure I know that you loved me. You wanted me to hear it and feel it because you knew you won’t be with me that long.
And I understand mama why you still visit me in my dreams. I get you mama, I finally understand you.