Daily Archives: May 12, 2013

What’s in my head :: of wisdom, sisters and Mother’s Day

10 Things Mom Said All the Time When We Were Growing Up

  1. “I need to inculcate this in your brain…”
  2. “Cut my fingers if I’m wrong.”
  3. “You’re all going to kill me!”
  4. “Eat every grain of rice on your plate or you’ll be raking all of it in Hell.”
  5. “Don’t sleep with your hair wet or you’ll go blind.”
  6. “Always think with your head, not your heart.”
  7. “Marry someone who loves you more than you love him.”
  8. “If you make fun of people, you’ll have ugly children.”
  9. “Wear your slippers!”
  10. “When I’m gone, all you’ll have is each other.”

It sounded a lot more serious in Tagalog, of course, but writing it down even in English brings me back to when I was nine and life was much simpler.  It was easy to discount what Mom said back then.  After all, most of her advice seemed so improbable or, at the very least, so distant and far into the future.

Marrying someone?  Going to hell?  When she’s gone?  To a pre-adolescent mind, these words were nothing more than senseless natterings; it was more the tone in which they were said that held weight for me and my sibs.


Now, three of us four sisters are mothers ourselves and all of a sudden, what Mom used to lecture at us ad nauseam seems a lot more relevant.  I even find myself paraphrasing a few of her sayings and flinging them indiscriminately at my kids, hoping something will stick.

What’s especially bittersweet right now is #10.  Who knew, when we were growing up and making life hell for each other the way only sisters can, that I would end up wishing all of us lived under the same roof again, or at least within spitting distance of each other?

With KS#1 in Boston and Big Sis in the Bay Area, I consoled myself that at least KS#2 was around to remind me that I had a family outside of my ubiquitous in-laws.  But on the eve of Mother’s Day, I find out that KS#2 is migrating up north in three months, and I’m realizing that Mom was right.

We only have each other.  And I miss my sisters.  And my mom. Every day.

mom and sisters

Sometimes, I get so busy with life and work and tending to my “own” family that I forget how much my “original” family means to me.  I certainly don’t take the time to tell them how much I love them and appreciate them.  Sadly, it’s only on special occasions that it ever dawns on me to say so.  My sole validation for this thoughtlessness is that my sisters and my mother are such constants in my life that I assume they already know how I feel.

And now, here we are.  Another special occasion.  This time, though, I have a very public medium in which to express my thoughts.

So to my mom – the best mother in the whole, wide world – and to my two sisters who are both amazing moms in their own right and to KS#1 who I know will also be equally amazing when her time comes and to all the women everywhere who impart words of wisdom to thankless ears in the hopes that they will one day stick,



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