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Mom & I in November 2012. I miss her so much!
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Mom & I in Maui – One of My Favorite Vacations with Her Before I Became a Mom

by Melissa Moog, founder of Itsabelly

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.” -Marion C. Garretty

First, Happy Mother’s Day to all! This post is also written as a special tribute to my mom. If you’re a mom, grand mom, foster mom, mom-in-law or even remotely a “mom” figure I hope your day is filled with lots of joy, love and relaxation which I’m sure is well deserved! Hopefully, someone will throw in a nice back and foot rub while they pamper you today too, wink!

I’ve been thinking of what to write in this post for the last week and have had a difficult time because as a mom myself it’s hard to put into just a few words how your own mom has truly left a valuable mark on your life. If you’re a mom you know that becoming one changes you forever in almost every way imaginable and it becomes your mission to ensure your children are loved, protected and raised with everything in your power to be the best people they can be! So, after thinking about how to honor my mom in this article I decided the best way to share a little bit about her was to be open and honest about how she affected my life.

Personally, it’s a difficult post to write because five months ago I lost my mom to cancer and I miss her so much that sometimes it actually physically hurts. Going through Hospice care and helping my mom through the very end of her life was the most difficult emotional and physical experience I’ve had to endure. And boy has it humbled me! I’m immensely grateful that I was able to be by my Mom’s side during her last few months of life because some of us won’t get that time if our loved one is suddenly taken away. Even though cancer really, REALLY sucks out loud this is one aspect of the end of life process I can “almost” accept as a gift – the gift of quality time before her passing. This horrible but humbling experience will be etched in my mind forever. For now, I’d like to remember my mom in happier times and celebrate her life!

So, this is the first Mother’s Day I’ll be spending without her and its been really tough for me. As my family celebrates Mother’s Day I can’t help to feel a significant emptiness that I know will never go away. I was talking to a girlfriend about my grieving process and she mentioned something that stuck in my mind. She said “it’s as if you feel like an orphan after your mom passes away because you only have one mom and when she’s gone that’s it – no one can ever replace her”. Unfortunately, feeling like an orphan rings true.

My mom, (as many moms are) was the glue that held our family together. She was also the pioneer in her family to forge ahead and bring her brothers from the Philippines to the USA so they could build a better life. My mom said that it was her mom who asked her to help their family of 13 children (yes, 13!) reach the golden land of opportunity and so my mom with immense courage, tremendous sacrifice and very little money did just that with my dad’s help. She left her home at a young age and all that was familiar in the Philippines to live in a new and culturally different world so that she could help bring to fruition her mom’s wishes of establishing a better life for their family. She was in two words “courageous” and a “pioneer”.

Mom was also the one constant person we’d go to for advice (even if sometimes her advice didn’t make sense), to vent to, to whip up a home cooked meal or just simply give us her vote of confidence when we were in tough times. I knew that when my mom was in the room (even if she was getting on my nerves that day) that everything felt complete. This is just a glimpse of what I deeply miss about her now but I know mom would have wanted me to stay strong and keep her memory alive with a smile. By the way, my mom’s cheerful eyes, beautiful smile and laughter were so contagious that she would light up the room = pure joy. She was most happy around her family and especially surrounded by her grandchildren. This is how I want to remember her!

During mass at my mom’s funeral I also remember what the priest shared and he said to take just one of the values that your mom (Aida) best embodied and make it a point to live that value to the best of your ability. For me, as everyday passes there’s always something that happens in my day where I ask myself “what would mom do or say” and I’m so glad I get to honor her by doing what she would do in that same situation. She has taught me how to be the best mom, wife, sister, friend and business owner I can be which is such a huge gift! Thank you mom!!!

At the end of the day, I’m extremely grateful for having a mom who worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to raise my sister and I almost single handedly. I’m even more grateful that I got to tell her how very special she was and thanked her for being such an amazing mom/inspiration before she was called up to heaven.

In my humble opinion as a mom to twins and a six year old, being a mom is THE HARDEST job on the planet and I know my mom did the best job she could do with what she was given. She did a super fabulous job with my sister and I! So, I’m paying special tribute to my mom and all moms around the world today – it’s your special day…your day to feel like a queen! So, soak it all in and remember even if no one has told you during the weeks ahead that you’re doing an incredible job EVERYDAY  in the most difficult role you’ll ever have in life, YOU ARE – high five all around mamas! Here’s to you!

Mother's Day