When I was young, my parents seemed invincible. They were my heroes.
My dad was the smartest man in the world who knew the arcane crafts of science and geology and physics. He taught me why the sky turns black during a solar eclipse, how to battle Bowser and save the princess in Super Mario Bros., how to look for Beijing, New York, and Paris on the map. My mom taught me to how to scrub the floor until it turns sparkling white, how to prepare for a history exam so I get a 100, how to cross the street so you don't get killed.
As I grew up, I became more and more independent. I relied less on my parents as I learned new skills and knowledge on my own. I saw the world, studied new languages, went to a business school. I traveled to cities my parents have never even dreamt of going, and I didn't realize I had truly outgrown them until …
My mom and I were talking on the phone, catching up after weeks of not being able to call each other. She was telling me a story about her 70 year old patient who couldn't remember her name when I said:
Kane: Mommy, wala ka na bang ibang kuwento? Pare-pareho na lang lagi ang kwento mo tungkol sa mga pasyente niyo, sa mga students mo. Ibahin mo naman topic mo.
Mom: Aah. Wala na eh.
Days later, my ninang Monette called me. After a while, she mentioned a conversation she and my mom had.
Ninang: Ta, alam mo ba, she felt so bad the other day when you told her bakit wala na siyang ibang kinukwento. Na laging pare-pareho na lang.
Kane: Ha? Talaga?
Ninang: Oo. Sabi niya, "Ano pa man ikukuwento ko kay Kane Monette. Hindi naman ako tulad niya na matalino, na nagbabasa ng mga libro o diyaryo. Hindi man ako mahilig manood ng TV. Yun man lang ang mundo ko."
I felt like someone just punched me in the gut. Nasaktan ko mommy ko. I had carelessly said something which had hurt her. It was not my intention and I asked the question innocently, but without meaning to, what I said forced her to confront her limitations as a person and made her feel small.
It was then that I learned there comes a time when children realize they have outgrown their parents. Sometimes the realization comes in the most unexpected, and oftentimes, painful ways.
I learned my lesson.
So to this day, even if sometimes, I had heard the same story or a variation of it before, I put on my happiest perkiest voice when talking to my mom, and say "Talaga mommy? Tapos? Ang galing talaga ng mommy ko."