Is My Mother a Superhero?


My mom used to say this a lot: “Maiintindihan mo din ako kapag nanay ka na.” And really I want to say she’s wrong, but she isn’t.

I really do understand her more as a mother ever since I became one.

As I write this, I am slumped on the floor in one quiet corner of the house just so my 11-month-old gets to nurse and sleep in peace. It isn’t the most comfortable position for me, but it is for him. These days, it’s been a practice to tell myself that I must put his needs before mine, because the season calls for it. It makes the hard sacrifices a little more bearable when you know there is only a window of time provided when kids are extremely needy.

Because these things end. One day, my children will want others for company. They won’t need me to go to sleep, prepare their food, or make sure that they brushed their teeth.

But I do hope I’m raising people who, even at the time who will not need me anymore, will still want to be with me, and will still want to be loved by their mother.

Thank you for recognizing that inevitable need to be needed and wanted by their children, Jello.

Everyone, here is a Mother’s Day piece from my friend, Jello de los Reyes.

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Is My Mother a Superhero?

By Jello delos Reyes

Twenty years ago, I saw the film “Anak” and it became the first Filipino movie that made me cry a lot. I will never forget what happened that day.

Our group of friends suddenly decided to watch a movie together, so I asked for permission. But my mom refused because we were very poor at that time and we barely had money for our basic needs. I no longer remember how much a movie ticket cost at the time, but I can be sure that it was pretty pricey.

She was washing our dishes by the sink back then, when I forced her give me movie money. She was adamant at first but eventually gave in to my crying tactic. Scooping money from her pocket, she told me, “Wala na tayong pambili ng pagkain mamaya!” I, on the other hand, just walked away.

Why hadn’t I thought that “Anak” was actually a movie about a mom who sacrificed and endured a lot for her family? And it was Vilma Santos, for crying out loud! I was a crying mess in the cinema the whole time, overtaken by guilt because of my mom.

I always thought of my mother as a superwoman.

My siblings and I had a very rough childhood. We’ve seen the reality of drugs, poverty, and domestic violence as kids. We didn’t just know it from movies and TV—we’ve actually tasted its bitterness and lived through it.

Yet throughout all the hardships that come with this reality, one image stands out in my memory: that of my strong mom who soldiered on despite the tragedies in our family.

I remember how my mom carried on and did all that she can to provide for our family. I remember her selling inihaw until late evening, under the pouring rain, just so I can join the school field trip. I remember my mom begging the school principal to allow us to take the exams despite our unpaid balance. I remember her selling Avon and Tupperware in order to feed us and send us to school. I can still clearly see my mom enduring both physical and verbal abuse just to keep our family together.

I have no memory of her getting sick. She was always brave, strong, and capable. Or is she?

Because every time I see her scream because of the scary videos that appear on her Facebook, I am reminded that she’s no superwoman at all. Every time I see her cry over television drama, it reminds me that my mom is emotional just like any other girl.

She can also get scared of lizards and spiders, causing her to run around the house whenever she sees one. Once she saw a snake in our backyard and she screamed like a little girl.

Moreover, my mom also gets sick, tired, and lonely because, heck, she’s human. Just like all of us.

Now that I am older I finally understand that my mom is no superwoman. That she, too, is getting older by the day.

And that as she ages, I need to teach myself to listen to her telling the same stories over and over again without getting bored. I need to learn not to interrupt her or to make her feel that I don’t want to listen anymore. In front of my mom, I need to remember that it can only be good to give back to the person who patiently carried me, took me to the bathroom, or listened to my repetitive stories. Would that be so much to ask for someone who taught me how to read and write, and took care of me whenever I was sick?

Sadly, our generation tends to be impatient with our parents who complain about our excessive use of the cellphone or the friends we are adding on Facebook. In the face of these trivial matters we forget that if not for many of their sacrifices, we really won’t be where we are today.

To be honest, I still don’t like it very much when my mom still treats me like a kid. I don’t like it when she reminds me to bring an umbrella or to take care of my things every time I leave the house. I don’t like it when she yells at me to eat my lunch in the midst of a busy day. Sometimes I think she forgets that I’m a fully-grown adult who is capable of making small and big decisions in life.

But then I realized this: Kids will grow up and will outgrow their season, but moms will never stop being a mom and wanting to care for their kids no matter how old they get.

They can’t help but remember us as that tiny baby they nurtured in the womb for nine months. Or that little helpless creature they held in their arms and tucked to bed. Moms will always see the needy kid in us no matter what. So maybe, one of the best gifts we can give to our moms is to allow them to be a mother to us and to give them a chance to take care of us even when we’re already capable to care for ourselves.

Because while our moms are no superheroes with supernatural strengths, themselves fragile and weak, and even imperfect, they still do deserve honor from their children, the object of their hard work and sacrifices, for which they do the most ordinary things with supernatural love.


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