Today is my personal tribute to my grandmother, Mama Mia. We called her that because she said she didn’t want the title Grandmother, or Lola in our vernacular tongue, since it made her sound old and she said she wasn’t ever going to be old.
I lived with Mia all my life up until I got married. She was (is) my other mom in every sense of the word. My mom was working and so Mia raised me as her 8th child (well 9th, if you consider her daughter that died 6 days after birth — I cannot imagine what that is like. Growing up though, she always said she had 7 children, me being the 8th). She then went on to raise my two younger siblings and we were fortunate to have her around all the time.
She died last year in June from long standing diabetic complications. I wasn’t able to fly home for the funeral. I did send a letter as part of her eulogy, and a few pictures for her slideshow. I was sad not to be there but I was also relieved to know she wasn’t physically suffering anymore.
Two weeks after her passing, I found out I was expecting our 2nd baby. March is Mia’s birth month as well and I am due any day now as you all know. I truly believe Jamie is Mia’s last “gift” to my little family. I feel fortunate as well that Sam got to know her when we visited Manila in 2009, and Sam recognizes her face when she sees Mia’s pictures. I actually believe she sees Mia regularly (and Grandpa and my dad, who I tell her are hers and Jamie’s guardian angels). Trust Mia to always be around watching over me and my girls.
I was “Grandpa’s Princess“, as the eldest of eleven grandchildren — and Mia made sure I always felt extra special. She did treat me like a princess (as my uncles have fondly dubbed me, Princess Poto-poto. I have no idea what that means but I happily carry the title). She loved all her grandchildren for sure and spoiled us silly, but I still make the proud claim of being the favorite. 🙂 I would secretly get a little extra in my Christmas envelope, or a little bit more chocolates as compared to everyone else. All my requests were always considered and given a little bit more attention.
I used to just see her as my grandmother who ran the house. She was someone who loved to have people around her, and who loved my friends — she would remember them for specific instances in my life and would always want to meet them when they came to the house. She made a special approval of my husband too during his courtship-dating days, who of course charmed his way into her life (a smart move on his part). She also always took an interest in my grades and would push me to do better, and whatever I would bring home, I’d get some sort of congratulatory reward.
When they say motherhood changes everything, it also refers to how you see the mother figures in your life. I said I used to see her as just my grandmother, but now as a mother raising my own children, I can’t help but admire her even more. To carry and bring 8 children into this world (With no epidural! OH MY LORD!) and raise them, to run a household full-time and to cater to every single need that my Grandpa had in spite of all her illnesses — it all takes on a new meaning for me now. Looking back at everything she’s said and done to me, for me and for the people around me, I can’t even begin to relate how much I have learned and am still learning from her example.
Thank you Mia, for everything.
May your first birthday in heaven with Grandpa be filled with overflowing joy and peace.