Photo credit: Urvi Nagrani.
Mothers — with all their earnest, loving intentions — can often be entertaining, and their advice can be an interesting mix of serious, silly, insightful and mind-boggling (sometimes all rolled up into one zinger you can’t wait to share with your friends). In honor of Mother’s Day, we’ve asked fellow Asian American writers and artists to share the funniest advice they’ve ever gotten from their mothers.
On the set of Yes, We’re Open: “I wanted her to be an extra in my on-set wedding,” says Navarro, “so that she could see me get married in case it’s the only time I ever get ‘married!’”
Actress and Producer of Yes, We’re Open (playing at the Los Angeles Asian Film Festival on Saturday, May 12!).
I was raised in a typically crammed Filipino-American household with my mother, my maternal grandmother, and my paternal grandmother — so I definitely had my fair share of generational guidance and female advice. They all clucked their collective tongues at my “wild American self” and scoffed at things like sleepovers (“You have your own house! Do you want your friends to think you don’t have a place of your own?”) and hair dye (which led me to go behind their back and do major damage to my smooth virgin tresses with good old laundry bleach).
Interestingly, although they were fiercely religious, the women in my family still stood by fascinating superstitions about when to clean (sweeping at night sweeps out your fortune!), what to eat (bitter melon cleanses your blood!), and how to prevent pubescent acne (hint: it involves the first time you get your monthly “visitor” — and your face).
Now that I’m older (and across the country), I definitely appreciate my mom’s practical wisdom more than ever. For instance, after my first heartbreak, she asked me plainly, “Why would you want to date somebody that doesn’t want to date you?” (That’s so applicable to any relationship, romantic or not!) And even though she made me the best sinigang (tamarind soup) whenever I was hungover, she would jokingly complain how she spent her whole life avoiding alcohol and cigarettes so she could give birth to a healthy baby girl — only to watch me outdrink my brother and dad. Whatever our differences may be, mommy dearest taught me by example to be giving and grateful — though I still have a thing or two to learn from her about gracefulness. I’m thankful that she let me make my own mistakes and glad that we can laugh about all the trouble I used to raise as an angst-filled first generation teen, a Pinay Claire Danes (minus the derogatory remarks against the Philippines).
My favorite advice, by far, is her signature saying: “The reason we eat dinner is so we can have dessert.”
Here’s to my darling mama, Marissa Rabuy Navarro: you are deeply appreciated and very much loved!
Check out more funny advice in our Mother’s Day series:
Celebrating Asian Mothers: Funniest Advice My Mother Has Ever Given Me