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Written by Reena Francisco
MY MOTHER never wanted me to be idle. Every summer, we had to be busy so between my four brothers and me, I of course had to do the girly stuff. She taught me to cook, bake and sew. My brothers had another thing going with our Dad—cleaning the garage, fixing broken stuff and gardening.
Well, she also taught us how to always smell good, wear fragrance, how to behave and be proper. It was like military school crossed with a finishing school.
She also taught us how not to be wasteful. So “zero waste” was a rule in our house way before sustainable lifestyle became a trend. She was a neat freak. Everything in its place. Once, we were looking through our kitchen, and she put everything in plastic bags that were all knotted up. She never wanted clutter. She cleaned everything and organized everything even before Marie Kondo became a popular person. She keeps styro boxes, plastic containers and rubber bands, egg trays, and gives them to me to this day. (It has come in handy since we now need reusables in our store).
For well-rounded development, she made me take pelota lessons, art classes , embroidery, crochet, making tablecloths and napkins and cross stitch which served me well when I was on medical leave and could not go outside for months. I cross stitched enough pillow cases to fill a room!
Though we had different views on political matters or on current events, we would always have fun travelling together. Two years ago, we were travel mates and roommates for two weeks and I got to know her better in her more senior years. Though she was more advanced in years, she beat everyone in walking!
She must have found the fountain of youth –she would never be caught without make up or seen in public in a house dress. And that’s why all of us learned to always be dressed and never unkempt.
She is a survivor and a fighter. She is a champion cook and everyone loves her embotido, mechado and callos. And because nothing goes to waste, she gets to invent dishes like “MECHA-GETTI” ---the leftover mechado with noodles and ground meat becomes that. She also makes fantastic Food for the Gods which to this day many friends look for.
These days, I enjoy the best of her. We eat out, travel when we can and I just listen to her stories. I realize that’s what mothers need. A pair of ears to listen to her funny stories. A closed mouth which never argues with her. And life together has never been happier.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.