Long Distance Love: A Mother-Daughter Story

Written by: Carla De Guzman/Tuesday, May 10, 2016 07:57 AM

There's a special kind of love between a mom and her child that just can't be fought. For New Yorker Vivian Tan Lee, it's the kind of love that can carry across continents. Shortly after graduating from Ateneo de Manila University, Vivian found herself following the bright lights of New York City to take a job as an accountant and social media manager for a fashion company. This meant leaving the Philippines and everything she knew, including her loving mom, Janette, who is making waves here in Manila as a financial advisor and immediate past president of the Life Underwriters Association of the Philippines. 

But as they say, distance is nothing when it comes to love. In an interview that she described as a 'treat' for her Mom, we talked to Viv about their relationship with Janette - how they stay close, why they always make time to talk, and how they communicate from thousands of miles away. Viv sometimes uses Facebook to share how much she loves and is proud of her mother, and believe us when we say that these two are #MotherDaugtherGoals!

Vivian and Jeanette in Manila

Let's start with the basics. Can you tell us a little bit about you and your mother? 

My mom and I are not your ordinary mother-daughter tandem. I have my sexual ambiguity and she’s always been a conservative Christian. My dad left when I was about 12 years old and it has always been her and I since then. 

I then moved to New York about four years ago and it was hard at first but I think the distance improved our relationship. She requires me to send her two messages a day (when I get to work/wake up and when I get home). It was tough at first but I appreciated it in the end. She used to visit me in NYC once a year but now we find it more convenient for me to travel back there instead.

What was it like, growing up with just the two of you?

Growing up with her was amazing. She was pretty cool. Although to be honest during my adolescent years, of course, there was a lot of fighting like any mother and child but I can say that our relationship now is better than ever. We have our differences and we both try to overlook those because we know ultimately we love each other.

What is the most inspiring thing about your mother?

The most inspiring thing about my mother is that she is always able to rise up when she’s down. She always has kept her faith even though she has lived a pretty eventful life. Being a single parent is definitely not easy. It was not always smooth sailing with her but seeing her so successful now makes me feel so proud of her!

What's the best thing your mom has ever done for you? 

I’m not exactly the most innocent saint-child that everyone usually hopes for. She has compromised a lot for me to be me and has always looked out for me. Ultimately she allowed me to wander off to a foreign world because I wanted to personally grow and explore. Now for an Asian mother, being separated from her child is a really hard thing.

What's the hardest thing about being away from her? 

Missing her care and cuddles! She’s the best and sweetest and most motherly woman I know!

If you could wish anything for your Mom, what would it be? 

Not that she’s looking, but I wish for her to be cared for and loved by someone special (aside from me). She deserves to be cherished because I know for a fact that she’s the total package woman! Sorry Mom!

"I hope that one day I can spoil you rotten because you've given me such a great life!"
Viv to her mom on her Mother's Day greeting. 

What are some of the life lessons you've learned from your mother? 

My mom tries her best to teach me everything she can. Every day I receive quotes and anecdotes that she hopes I would absorb and learn from. Most of all, she tries to teach stubborn me to always stay humble, fear the Lord and care for others.

Growing up with her, she always told me that her main goal in life is to be able to make a difference in a lot of people’s lives. Her saying that countless times sunk into me and therefore made me want the same thing for myself. We always strive to be better people for ourselves and others. It’s not easy but it’s what we want to do.

What would you say to other mother-daughters who are away from each other? 

I think the best tip I could give would be to keep communicating! Do it regularly so no matter how far apart you guys are you'll still be up to date with at least the basic things. :) 

Do you have any tips for maintaining an awesome mother-daughter relationship?
Share them with us on the comments below!

About Carla De Guzman
Carla de Guzman is the author of self-published books Cities, Marry Me Charlotte B! and We Go Together. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family by day. By night, she’s writer and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk. Follow her on Instagram (@somemidnights) for more!


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