Do you remember that old tomato ketchup ad wherein all the children were trying to get their hands on the food and the mom said “Daddy first.” They all then happily started passing the food to their dad as a sign of love and respect. This is how we grew up. During meal time, whenever papa’s favourite food is served, mama would always get a good piece of the food and put it on papa’s plate and there will always be a special day of the week when the dinner is papa’s favourite food. This was mama’s way of teaching us to look up to papa and show him our love and respect in every way. On their birthdays, mama would be content in receiving a simple/humble gift and would even ask us not to spend so much for her but on papa’s birthday, she would always be excited about what we would be giving papa and would even suggest presents that she knows papa would really enjoy and appreciate. Whenever I get home from a trip or from work, I would bring back a little “pasalubong” for both mama and papa of which was usually papa’s favourite or something that I knew papa wanted to eat. We got used to showering papa with gifts, surprises and lambing as how mama taught us.
Now that papa is gone and he’s no longer here to get all my “pasalubongs” for them, I get to spend more time with mama and get home to bring her food or “pasalubong” from my day at work. This time, something I know mama would want to eat or something I know mama would really appreciate. It then dawned on me that for so many years, it was “daddy first” and mama on the other hand was always content to see papa smile and be happy. This made me appreciate mama more. She has always been the wind beneath papa’s wings. Don’t get me wrong, mama is not the meek and shy woman or the silent one at that. Mama is a strong willed woman, a magna cum laude from her university in Cebu, an achiever in her every right and smart when it comes to her knowledge in business. But as a wife, she stood beside papa, silent and made sure he always had the glory and the praise.
This time, it’s “mommy first” for us children and we thank God that mama is still in good health and is strong willed as ever for us, her children and grand-children. She does not hear our words of thanks often but we are now trying our best to show it to her. We love you so much mom. Keep being strong for us please.