Mother’s Day is one of the most love-filled days of the year. The tribute is a celebration of love — love enshrined in the heart that never diminishes, never forgotten, never tainted by circumstance or challenge. It is pure, enduring and honorable. Not unusual that the genuine concept of a mother’s love is discerning of sacrifice. Sacrifice that is selfless and giving. Every mother can relate to that. And every child should understand that.
I sit here before midnight on Mother’s Day, writing this humble salutation to mothers … to remember and to cherish. I think of my Mama, in another dimension since losing her less than a year ago. I had always appreciated all that she did for me and my siblings. But with irony mingled with sadness, I admit that my appreciation has grown multifold now that she’s gone. She was one of my ardent fans. On the year before she passed, every day she read my book that had just been published and dedicated to her (Something Curious, Book II: Simply Awed). Each day, she opened it with the same excitement and anticipation, like it was the first time she saw it, softly reading out verses and prose she liked best. The words for her stood out fresh and vibrant each morning. She laid the book under her pillow at nights before sleeping. I witnessed all that during my vacation in the Philippines. And when I returned to Palo Alto, she continued the same routine, I was told. That was my blessed reward. If no one else read my book, Mama as my sole reader was enough for me. In that book is “Mama’s Smile”, a poem extoling the quiet depths of love reflected in her smile, the assuring smile that touched and brightened my heart from the day I was born, through my childhood and growing years, and even now as I hold her in my thoughts. My Mama.
Then, I remember my Lola (Mama’s mother), a very lovely woman, soft-spoken and gentle in ways. I clearly picture her now, standing by the open window of her house by the street, looking out and patiently waiting for me to walk by from the college to my home two blocks away from hers. Whenever I passed by her house, I knew what to look for – her sweet face between the curtains, and her frail hand gently waving me to stop by. When I climbed the stairs to her living room, I found her busily instructing her sister to ready my merianda (snack). She then quietly watched me eat, not saying a word, just lovingly gazing at her oldest grandchild. When I was ready to go home, she would stick her hand in her pocket and hand me some pesos for my pocket money. I appreciated the surprise pesos that always came handy for me. I made it a habit to stop by, not just for the snacks and the pesos, but for this beautiful woman who showed and shared so much love though spoke little. My Lola.
My own Mother Day’s celebration was wonderful. It started with my daughter’s Facebook greeting on top of a lovely drawing – a purple mother swan beside a pink daughter swan bearing in its beak a yellow flower for its Mom. I responded to my daughter that purple and pink were the very colors I wore since early morning of Mother’s Day. And yellow was the color of flowers I bought for my husband’s grave site. We brought the flowers when my son, daughter-in-law and grandson visited the site before Mother’s Day dinner. The colors in her greeting were a happy coincidence, I told my daughter.
Mother Day’s dinner for my daughter-in-law and me was superb. Food at the Italian restaurant was outstanding. But of course, best was all the conversation and catching up with my son and his family. I’m always happy when I can extract snippets of reports from my almost nine-year-old grandson about his schooling, baseball practices, piano lessons and the church children’s choir. At dinner, I did just that, though not too successfully. At certain points, he became antsy for action. I understand that containing all that energy during a proper sit-down meal is a challenge for a very young boy. But he did very well. I am so “Lola proud” of that boy.
I pay tribute to mothers in my family: my sisters, aunties, cousins and nieces. All wonderful women, fine examples of love, devotion and care.
And to all mothers – God’s blessings to us and our families.