Inspired by the auspicious occasion, I thought it fitting to come up with 60 things that make our dearest Mommy Imelda a mother like no other:
1. She does not look the least bit like 60. When yet another hapless human remarks on how young she appears for her age, it is guaranteed that she will relate the same story to her husband and three children OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
2. She is one heck of a dancer who proudly declares that the late talented actor Pancho Magalona taught her to boogie when she was 4 years old.
3. During a shopping spree in Rustan’s to buy Dexter-branded shoes for my brother, she kept loudly addressing the salesman attending to us as “Dexter”. (Dexter, paki-kuha ng bigger size….Dexter, magkano ba yan?…Dexter, thank you. Ang bait mo!) Never mind that the guy had a huge nametag declaring his name as Michael and kept attempting to point this fact out to our impervious mother.
4. She has a reputation for baking the best ever Food for the Gods. She likes to remind us that she also makes the most sumptuous Perfect Chocolate Cake but nobody remembers because the last time she produced one was a gazillion years ago. To this day, my youngest brother suspects that Imelda’s Perfect Chocolate Cake is a myth.
5. She knows everybody in BF Homes and vice versa. The restaurant owners, bank officers, security guards, supermarket cashiers, etc. – they all know her by name and stop to chat when they see her. We are certain that if our Mom runs for BF Barangay Captain, she would win hands down.
6. Her frequent outbursts of hearty laughter are downright infectious. (Yes, this is something I definitely inherited from her.)
7. The first time my husband stepped foot at our house, she asked him to stand beside me “back-to-back” to check who was taller.
8. She and her cousins called themselves “The Flowerettes” when they were teens. Despite the cheesy name, they were still very much sought-after by the most popular boys in town.
9. She frequently claims that she has no new shoes, but her closet states the absolute contrary.
10. When she swims her strange freestyle, only her face gets submerged in the water so you see this black mass of dry hair moving back and forth the pool. It can be quite the eerie sight.
11. She bemoans the fact that none of her children can sing.
12. At a wedding shower, she met some young women who were friends of my cousin. When they mentioned that they did not have boyfriends yet, she immediately tried to console them by saying: “Don’t worry…it will come like a thief in the night!”
13. Her remarkably long, slender legs are legendary.
14. She spells out words she does not want other people to hear, oddly forgetting that the other people who hear her know how to spell. For example, she will softly mutter at the dinner table: “The B-O-Y is in a bad mood”….the B-O-Y in question being my 19 year-old brother Dave who is seated with us.
15. After delivering three enormous babies via normal birth, she has not a single stretch mark on her.
16. Symptoms of sicknesses she reads and hears about inevitably become symptoms she will experience herself soon after.
17. She walks like the speed of light. My poor, gout-ridden father has to struggle to catch up with her in the mall.
18. As a young girl, she wanted to be a nun. Mercifully, she soon realized that a vow of eternal silence would be impossible for her.
19. Her most famous, oft-repeated words of wisdom on boys: COLLECT THEN SELECT. That, and: IF A MAN REALLY LOVES YOU, HE WILL CRY OVER YOU. I really took this counsel to heart…to the consternation of my husband.
20. She worries about everything big-time. It’s a good thing she prays a lot, too. The two somehow manage to balance each other out for her.
21. She refers to the show “Prison Break” as “Escape.” (“Exciting talaga ng Escape DVD!”)
22. The last novel she started AND finished was “Jaws”. This was in 1973.
23. When our Dad was confined at Asian Hospital, she kept drilling the person who brought his food tray with demanding questions. Why did the doctor recommend that kind of food? How soon after should her husband’s medicine be given? What were the test results? The bewildered guy could only answer: “Ay ma’am, taga-dala lang po ako ng pagkain...” while pointing meekly to his white shirt which had the words Makati Skyline printed on it.
24. She is good at saving our money for us. She managed to collect and stash in the bank every centavo of every cash present her children received from birth onwards so we could all have emergency funds to draw from.
25. She remembers the birthdays of everyone, from the late grandfather of the spouse of our third cousin to the first suitor I ever had. But chances are she will not remember your name tomorrow if she met you today.
26. She is so conservative that she looks away when there is a kissing scene on the TV or movie screen.
27. She tends to stock food in the kitchen cabinet and fridge, only to take them out when they are already past their expiry date.
28. Every time she hears of someone highly successful in life, she will firmly deduce that it is because that person was good to his/her mother. And she will make sure that we her children are within earshot when she makes this brilliant observation.
29. She has never gotten drunk in her entire life…or so she says.
30. She tells people she adores animals. However, when our Daddy brought home a stray puppy once, she totally freaked out and asked him to give it away pronto.
31. She has the knack for spotting a good-looking guy a mile away. (Yes, this is something I also definitely inherited from her.)
32. When we gain weight, she tells us to diet. When we diet, she tells us to eat.
33. During an island hopping adventure in Boracay, my brother Don had a difficult time swimming back to our boat because of the strong waves so I had to dive over to where he was and help him back by tugging at the life vest he was wearing. Amidst all the confusion and mayhem, we could hear our mother wail from the banca: “Don! Sayang naman ang bayad sa swimming lessons mo sa Polo Club!”
34. When she sees a black and blue mark on any of us, she will jump to the conclusion that we have cancer.
35. She is a superbly cool Mom – we kids can tell her anything. Well, okay…almost anything.
36. She has the maddening habit of repeating what others say. For instance:
Party Guest #1: That's a lovely dress you’re wearing.
Mommy: Oh yes, that's a lovely dress you’re wearing.
Party Guest #2: These curtains are beautiful.
Mommy: Yes, these curtains are beautiful.
37. She proclaims she is hungry exactly 30 minutes after lunch.
38. She has strong self-control when it comes to shopping. She simply expects her family to get her the things she wants when it is her birthday. (For proof of this, see photo below of Mommy happily showing off our gifts to her.)
40. She is absolutely crazy about her first and so-far-only grandchild and has made it her mission to inform every citizen on the planet that her apo is the baby in the Joy billboard ads.
41. While driving with balikbayans along Estrella Avenue, an American who was with us in the car commented on how pretty Rockwell’s area was. My Mom’s profound reply: “Yes…. because there are trees!”
42. You cannot, will not, should not mention sex or anything even remotely related to sex to her. Her ultra-conservative being instantaneously zones out.
43. She makes her own diagnoses of diseases based on magazine tidbits she reads and stories she hears from friends. Once, she even dared attempt to refute the findings of a renowned specialist with her own case analysis. All of us within earshot wanted to hide under the hospital bed. Mom would have had a successful career in medicine, if only she did not hate studying so much.
44. She oozes with charisma so people are naturally drawn to her and she has tons of friends.
45. She highly looks forward to our family poker nights, even if she has not yet managed to win a round.
46. She has the uncanny ability of accurately guessing how much everything costs, especially the presents we give her. If she joins “The Price Is Right,” she would easily be Grand Champion.
47. Nobody in our household can burn the telephone lines like she does.
48. She often tries to trick my brother and I into revealing how much money we earn.
49. She asks a gazillion questions while watching a movie. After a character is shot in the head: Is he dead? Why did he get killed? You mean that man is evil? What happened? What will happen next? By the fifth question, everybody in the theater will inevitably here the reverberating “JUST WATCH!” of my exasperated father. Everybody that is, except my mother….who just goes on to her next question.
50. She reminds every family member about 45 times a day to take Vitamin C.
51. She cannot tell a lie. She really can’t. Not even a white lie. It’s just not in her.
52. Her faith in God and devotion to the Blessed Mother are unwavering. Her prayers always come true and she joyfully experiences little miracles all the time.
53. She is a terrific nurse when any of us gets sick.
54. She will sacrifice buying something for herself in order to buy something for her kids.
55. She automatically brightens up her surroundings with her easy disposition and warm, engaging smile.
56. She always strives to see the good side of people.
57. She does not get mad when her children make fun of her – which is pretty much all the time.
58. She is a sympathetic listener and is never too busy to hear out someone in need of her company or advice.
59. She has made a successful career out of making sure her family is happy, at peace with each other and well taken care of.
60. She is truly loved by many, especially by her nutty family.
Happy 60th Birthday, Mamma Mia!!! Mwaaaaaah!