I have always been a Mommy’s girl.
When I was 5 years old, my brother got sick; so my mother would not let me sleep beside her because I might disturb my brother who had the privilege to sleep with her in view of his illness (that malingering twerp!). So Mommy told me to sleep beside Daddy instead. I erupted into a humongous insufferable fit of tantrums which resulted in a particularly vicious spanking. (When I related this tale to G, he just laughed and said that I totally deserved the punishment. G is another rascal, in the same league as my brother.)
I hated my Dad because he did not speak my language (Ilokano); he always wanted me to hug him (which seemed so needy and hence uncool); and he had all these hair on his face that made him look like a villain (see Max Alvarado, Paquito Diaz et al; all self-respecting Pinoy movie villains have moustaches).
So I loved my mother more (sorry Daddy). Given the choice between being a slut and being an old maid, I would have chosen the latter, not because of any deep abiding principle or a lack of proclivity — but out of love for my mother (who, after she died, I learned had been a slut after all, but that’s another story — courtesy of my Dad).
I got into all that personal introduction because of Leila de Lima.
Yup, that Leila de Lima — the one with the alleged sex video and who was an alleged drug lord and is now imprisoned without bail.
I love Ms. de Lima, the same way I loved my mother.
I do not care if she was a strict, by-the-rules, priggish marmalade who was into human rights in ways that are impracticable in a slave-country like the Philippines.
I do not care if she is fat (although she lost weight after a year in prison and now she looks really great — eat your heart out Digong!), has boring outfits (fashion sense borrowed from Dinky Soliman; Ms. Leila, you should borrow Kris Aquino’s stylists more often), and a pedestrian taste in men (Really? Your driver?).
I love her for all that she reminds me of my Mom — the steadfastness, the tenacity, the you-don’t-give-me-no-bullshit attitude.
I love that when she testified during the impeachment of Renato Corona, she brought her aging father who was a former government servant into the august halls of the Senate.
I love that she went after human rights violators who ordered the killing of children in their bailiwicks because of drug use — only a woman with true sense of compassion can understand that no, KILLING A CHILD IS WRONG. The child became a monster because of the adult. And if anybody should be blamed and gutted here, it should be the adults that allowed these kids to go out into the world in the first place. Only a mother can understand a mother’s heartbreak when that same child (no matter how Lucifer-like he/she is) dies.
I love how she carried herself during the time in the Senate when every self-righteous so called anti-drug-wannabe in this world ganged up on her. On the other hand, maybe I do not love her that much during that time — she appeared shrill and harpy-ish. But then, with all that stress, can we blame her?
And now, I love her while she is in prison, because of the patience and grace with which she handles this ordeal.
When she died, my mother gave me the most precious gift — my freedom.
Fact is, I do not consider her giving me life (as in allowing her egg to be fertilized, going through almost 9 months of gestation and expelling me out of her vagina) as something she gave to me; rather, it was something she gave to herself.
(I did say in so many words, somewhere in this blog, that wanting to be/being a biological parent entails a bit of narcissism.)
But my mother’s dying was another matter. It set me free; in every way a person can be free.
It is probably morbid of me to thank her — but here it is: Thank you Mommy.
*This is such a looong post, but the point of it is (as the title suggests): It irks me no end that the only time we consider women to be heroes is when they go through Virgin Births. I mean, seriously!?