The first thing I ever wanted to be wasn’t a writer. No. When I was still very young, I told my mother that I wanted to be a cashier. And naturally as you may be wondering, she asked me why. I must’ve been younger than five years old but I still remember. I said to her, “because that’s what you are, Mommy.” My mother at the time was in fact a cashier but she gave me a look and said, “No, that’s not for you.”And I realized that she hadn’t understood. Because to my mother, what she did wasn’t enough for her daughter. But to me, all I wanted was to be her.
No one tells a story about Gina like my mother. I listen to them, even on repeat because she gives to them such life. I especially love the stories about my elder siblings, because as the youngest of five, it’s safe to say, that I missed a lot. And speaking of my brothers and sister, we all vie for our mother’s attention. Although, it’s fully understood that her boys are her favourites. But she is our super-mom. And all of us share in pieces of her. She is the first person I ever clung to. And she may tell you that she had to pay me everyday for a week to go to pre-school, but I know it’s because I just didn’t want to leave her.
Knowing her now as an adult is quite an experience. I’m beginning to fully appreciate who she is as my mother and as a woman. She taught me to knit, and sew and crochet, she taught me how to cook, and find favour in myself from an early age. She taught me how to swear, but yet still chastises me when I do so. And she has the best laugh, you don’t know why she’s laughing but you’re laughing. She also has that cry that shrivels something inside you. My mother never wears make-up, she makes fun of me whenever I come near her with some lipstick. But she is beautiful. She cannot type or text but she can send an ace voice note. And whenever anyone questions the way I speak, I know it’s her fault.
For much of my life I’ve only really ever had one parent, although my father only recently died. And for him I cried like I was stupid. I cannot fathom what the loss of my mother would do to me. That is why I thank God even on the days when we’re fighting, for her every breath. I mentioned before that she likes to tell her “Gina stories”, and come around long enough, you’ll hear about how she had to shave my head by the time I was a toddler because I kept eating my hair, you’ll hear that I once had a pet pig which my father took and sold, or about the Christmas I squeezed my five year old self underneath our Christmas tree because my Mom said she had no presents, and I decided to be hers. You’ll hear about them all, and as long as she’s here to tell them, I’ll weather the embarrassment.
I never actually wanted to be a cashier, Mom. I just wanted to be you. You define for me everyday what it means to give without being given to, you represent for me what hard work can accomplish and you are to me the best person one could possibly hope to be. So I stand by what little Gina felt. I still want to be you.
In my book, it’s Happy Daughter’s Day because Mom, that’s what you make me.