May 12, 2018

To the Woman I Aspire to Be—My Mom


Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess

I am an only child. I’ve never experienced what it felt like to have real siblings, bound by blood and the same parents. Growing up, I’d play alone with my Polly Pockets and my kitchen set, pretending I was starring in my own cooking show. But every night, before going to bed, my mom would never forget to tuck me in, and in her hand, a storybook, which we would read together until I fell asleep. To me, that was the best company.

I wouldn’t say that I was raised in a “normal” household. My family situation wasn’t the most ideal one for a child transitioning into adulthood. There were a lot of unusual occurrences that caused me to rebel and carve out my own path. In a Chinese family setup like mine, most of the time, there is a “business to inherit,” and because of my experiences growing up, I didn’t want anything to do with it. So I strayed away from the path set out for me to become a writer—not a doctor, not a lawyer, and most importantly not an heir.

Being a writer, I would always get these snide remarks such as “but there’s no money there” or “you’re just wasting your education” because this wasn’t the norm. My elder cousins graduated with degrees in business, economics, microbiology, and science, but not me. It was tough, fighting against the current and having to prove to everyone that pursuing a career in the arts and media could actually work out for me. And in the end, I am where I am today because of the one person who supported me as I plowed through—my mother.

I guess, you could say I was complacent living in Manila with my mom, and whenever Mothers’ Day was just right around the corner, I’d just treat her to lunch or dinner, or get her a little trinket. But indeed, distance does make the heart grow fonder, and to write this timely piece when we are miles apart makes it even harder because in her absence and living alone, I’ve realized that there is so much from her that I have learned. I could only hope to be as amazing as she is one day—really.

There is something about a mother’s selflessness that I recognize even more, now that I am starting a family of my own. There is a relentless, unconditional love that naturally flows from a mother to her child. I’ve seen my mom’s ups and downs, and there were a lot of days when I’d consider her a bit dramatic, but now I realize that it was her way of doing her best to “keep it together.” In my teenage years and early twenties came a slew of drunk nights when I would collapse in the couch, revealing my then-vices to my mom’s horror—well, she played it cool, but I knew deep inside she was panicking like mad. Her patience and never-ending supply of love is something that I will always and forever be in awe of.

And while there are still a lot of things my mother and I do not agree on, they are forgivable, because she taught me how to be brave and vulnerable at the same time. She taught me to stand up for my opinions and for what I believe in simply because she believed in me. She told me it was okay to cry and we cried together when times got tough. She told me to keep a spirit of determination and to never give up, and to always make sure to enjoy life. Most importantly, she gave me the space to be myself and to figure things out on my own. She made me fall in love with books and good music, and she is one of the few people I know who simply lives in the moment.

A funny thing about my mom is that she refuses to subscribe to a data plan because she chooses to disconnect—so once she’s out of the house, that’s it; I can’t get in touch with her. She enjoys long walks around the city, does Pilates and yoga, and cooks and cleans. She does anything for family, and you could really count on her.

Because I live abroad, I only get to see my mom a handful of days in a year. I wish I could do more for her this weekend, take her out to lunch and dinners, and spoil her more with better presents. But at least, I have this space where I can honor her today. The woman who is responsible for my love for words, for my determination to succeed, and for simply being the person I am today. Your company will always be the best, mom. Thank you for being the woman I aspire to be. Happy Mother’s Day.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.


Art by Marian Hukom

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adulting, Bless This Mess, culture, inspiration, Mikka Wee, mom, Mother, Mother’s Day, relationships

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