December 29, 2009, 8:34PM
My mom rarely cooks—“rarely” as in twice a year. It’s not like because she doesn’t know how to cook—she does—but she’s really busy with our business so she doesn’t really have time to do that. So when Mama cooks, it’s supposed to be special, to be appreciated and not to be taken for granted since it’s just once—okay, twice—in a blue moon.
So Mama cooked carbonara for Christmas which was lovely (I have her to blame for my eating a lot last Noche Buena), so that constitutes one in the two times that she’s cooking in a year. I thought the other time that she will be preparing food for us was for the dinner before New Year (Media Noche, is that right?), for that was the usual tradition. But I guess tonight is a special occasion, for she cooked something for us: molo soup.
Fact: My brothers and I don’t have the faintest idea that she was the one who cooked the soup (which isn’t really a very good excuse, right?).
So when dinnertime came, we sat down to eat, I was the first one who commented on the molo that came with the soup. I said it has a weird taste because it too much onion (forgive me, I am not a fan of onions), and Mama said it wasn’t her who made the molo—it was our long-time househelp. It didn’t help, though, that my brother commented that it was “sloppy,” and I surmised he was also commenting on the molo because he didn’t have any soup yet on his plate, just the molo. Dinner went on and we tried to dissect the molo—NOT THE SOUP.
I couldn’t remember what remarks we had said about the molo (again, not the soup), but I knew I stopped with “weird” and “too much onions.” Mama even said she doesn’t know if our househelp had placed the entire onion to make the molo, and even joked that she might have had vampires for children because we don’t like garlic and onions. There was a point in the dinner when my brother said something to the effect like: Parang sa school lang, isa lang yung ulam kaya wala kang choice. Hindi ka makakapili ng pagkain kaya kakainin mo nalang. My mama and papa said it was the right attitude, and I agree with that, but I guess that comment was painful—especially for the one who cooked for it was coming off as if we were eating it only because it was the only thing there to eat and we didn’t want to starve.
I was done eating and enjoying some iced tea when my mother said, “Alam mo, kung ayaw mo siyang kainin, iwanan mo nalang dyan. Wag mo nang ipakita sa akin na nasusuka ka sa kinakain mo.” I frowned, and when I looked up I saw she was talking to my brother. I don’t know what facial expressions he had while eating (for I was seated next to him), so I don’t know what my mom was referring to. She repeated this and my brother shook his head, saying, “Masarap yung soup, yung molo yung hindi.”
And then she stood up, left, and I went to wash the dishes. Papa asked me who cooked, and I said I thought it was the househelp. But when Mama returned with a plastic container, shoved what remains of the soup into the container, sealed it, placed it in a plastic bag and went down to throw it in the trash, I guess it won’t take a genius to figure out that it was my mom who cooked the soup.
So there. Brother and I (yes, I am admitting it was my fault too even though it was my brother who really pissed my mom off) ruined a special dinner. While washing dishes, I thought about this: do we comment nicely on the dish set before us when the cook is with us, but when he/she is not, we blab about how bad the dish is?
Just how many times do you have to take your mother for granted before she actually breaks down, then go and leave you?
With all the things—material and not material—our mothers have given us, what have we given back in return? Bad comments regarding her cooking? Snide remarks whenever she asks us to do house chores? Headaches? Heartaches? Disappointments? A roll of the eyes when we think she can’t understand us?
We usually think of people we take for granted, but rarely do we think about who we take for granted. Admit or not, we rarely notice that, for we always know that they are always there, for we always know that no matter what we do to them, they’d be—more likely than not—be there. I guess we do not have to look beyond our houses and family to know who we usually take for granted: our parents.
And no matter how many times we’ve heard about telling our parents we love them before it’s too late, cliché as that may sound, it’s actually true. Sometimes, a simple hug, a simple thank you, a simple I love you, can make them feel appreciated.
Ma, it wasn’t the soup—it was the molo. But we know it isn’t molo soup without the molo. We are sorry that we didn’t appreciate what you’ve cooked. We really are.
P.S. Please cook for us for New Year?
(Posting this even though there is no chance at all that you will read this. But I’ll tell you just the same when you’ve cooled down. I really am sorry.)