Being the bigger person at 5 feet tall
101 to come to understand your mother
My mother is short.
She stands tall at 4’10- a whole head shorter than I.
No, not short, just Filipina veined
Or Piñoy for short.
Shortsighted but too vain to wear her glasses.
Her sleep cycle is short-
Even shorter than mine;
She somehow always finds time for another short chore,
Or a short errand before work,
Takes a short bus ride there-
She does not drive
But boi, does she have it.
Too short to see over the dashboard
A short drive some 20 years ago
Short sighted her desire to try at the wheel again.
The list of things I know of her is short.
A formerly fractured kinship knotted like tangled angel spaghetti.
Now seeks to slowly be unraveled.
We had once shared the same
She would cut the pancit or spaghetti noodles short-
I could never twirl those ribbons.
And it felt like both of us were running with scissors,
Patience in short supply,
It turns out I too had been short sighted.
I failed to truly see the short straws she had been drawn
She is often subject to my father’s short temper.
She has only returned to the motherland on a few short trips over the past 30 years,
Our archived ancestry is short.
When I asked her about it,
Her words fell short.
She spoke of lives cut short by way of
and her shortcoming in recalling thoughts.
Some sorrows are not short lived-
They carry through to each passing generation
And I had selfishly reminded her of hers.
My previous messages to her had been short and sweet;
We have only been amicable for a few short years
You see, repairing frayed knots is like cutting off your split ends instead of chopping your hair short.
Hustling care and kindness is no short term commitment-
Patience and understanding is vital.
I am no longer willing to be short sighted,
No longer prepared to bite off more than I can chew,
No longer capable of selling either one of ourselves short.
That night, shortly after my question was asked,
She cut the conversation short.
Uncharacteristically, she said she was tired-
It was 9:30pm.
A short end to a long day it seemed.
It took a short train of thought to realise it was not a need for sleep that had exhausted her.
There was no shortcut to unpacking all that grief.
Long story short,
Nanay is as complicated as our relationship has been.
Yet nanay is growing,
Nanay wears her glasses more,
Nanay is learning she need not always make herself look shorter by crouching down to help others to their feet.
Nanay is open to the idea of me teaching her to drive,
Though not for a short while.
My own shortcomings have sold her short,
But now she sits on the shortlist of icons
Whom I admire, whom I respect.
She is a queen,
Her gift is a secret,
They call her Vic-Vic for short,
I call her Little Vicky.
Nowadays, I write about her often so that these short stories of ours
Will not be forgotten.
I hope that the De La Cruz, Importante, Sareño narrative and name
Does not get cut short here.
My name is Charlotte Laurasia Importante Sareño Raymond, but my mail
reads Charlotte Raymond for short. I am the daughter of Victoria
Importante Sareño Raymond, the granddaughter of Felicidad Importante
Sareño and Prudence Emile Rita (nee Forbes) Raymond and the maternal
great-granddaughter of Teofila de La Cruz Importante.
I hope that my via my short scriptures of us,
Nanay’s short stature is seen at new heights.
I hope, that despite her 4’10 frame,
In sharing these short stories,
People might stop blocking her from view,
And finally start to see her.
About the author
Fuse consonants, vowels, printed and sound.
Writing around the block when not plagued by writer's block.
Speak truths even when your voice shakes, when your pen shakes, when your fingers ache.
Write about everything from grooming to growth.