Prayers and humor—these are the two main hinges that keep the three generations of Torres-Gomez women close together. While Julie Torres, Lucy Torres-Gomez, and Juliana Gomez each embody the qualities that define the eras they were born into, they also share a kind of quiet but secure self-knowledge that doesn’t over-explain itself or pleads for others’ understanding.
Growing up in a prayerful household is almost like a tradition for them, from going to church every Wednesday to praying for guidance. “My lola taught us that as long as you don’t feel like everything is up to you, as long as you’re anchored to something greater than you are, batang may laban ka,” Lucy says. “Anyone can [develop] good academic skills, but emotionally, what will make you strong?”
As for humor, “my mom has always been funny,” she continues. While Lucy’s father’s side of the family is a bit more conservative—“very Downton Abbey, very prim and proper”—the gatherings on her mom’s side are laugh-out-loud affairs. “The sense of humor has definitely carried on and has helped us weather tough times. Maybe being funny is something you get from the people surrounding you. It’s infectious.”
The three aren’t acting crazy during this cover shoot, but the humor shows in their inside jokes and light teasing of each other. They’ve always been close, their relationship hardly resembling the dramatic mother-daughter tropes typically depicted in movies. Lucy reveals, “Growing up, my siblings and I would call Mommy ‘Mother of Perpetual Help,’ because we could tell her what we couldn’t tell Dad. She was never unnecessarily strict. She’d always tell us, ‘Ask me for permission, and if we decide on the curfew and you don’t abuse that curfew, then you can go out again the next time.’” Juliana agrees: “My grandma is very understanding of what girls my age want. When it comes to going out, she’s super cool. But when it comes to stuff like getting another ear piercing, though…”
A mother’s love and wisdom
Lucy’s own experience of motherhood has made her closer to her mother. Especially during the first few months after giving birth to Juliana, she relied on Julie’s wisdom to help her navigate the exhilarating, if exhausting, terrain of motherhood. “You can read as many books about it as you want but nothing compares to the real thing. Juliana was a colic baby, and I remember just wanting to help her stop crying. I’d carry her, I’d sing all the songs I know, but she still wouldn’t go to sleep. But the moment Mommy carried her, she’d be quiet. I guess Juliana felt my nervousness as a new mom, and that made her nervous, too. But when carried by someone who knew what she was doing, she calmed down.”
“I’m like a mother to Juliana, too,” Julie says. “When Lucy became a mother, I was always with her. Since Lucy has to be with Richard, especially now that he has entered politics, I’m very involved with raising my granddaughter.”
‘I got it from my lola’
On her part, having two mother figures has been good for Juliana. “They never imposed anything on me,” the 16-year-old says. “They always teach me stuff about life in subtle ways, and they support who I am.” Being prayerful, she adds, is something she has learned from her mom and lola, both from their words and daily examples. Seeing her mother do charity work both as a celebrity and as a government official has inspired Juliana to be more involved with the community as well. “I’ve seen the fulfilment she gets from helping people, especially now that she’s in politics.” And from her lola? “She’s fearless. What’s a less cheesy word for that? My mom is really shy, but lola is confident. Since I grew up around her, I think I got that quality from her.”
With Mother’s Day looming, the three are still yet to plan how they’re going to celebrate this year’s holiday. “I think every day should be Mother’s Day, so I show my appreciation for them often,” Juliana says. There would be flowers, of course, and a nice dinner, but it’d be more or less a regular day for them.
If Lucy could give something to Julie for everything she has done for her and her daughter, it’d be an immaterial present. “I’d give Mommy the gift of good health so she can enjoy life more fully,” Lucy says. “Every time I face a difficult situation, I talk to Mommy. Everything I am as a mother, I learned from her.”