Monday, May 9, 2011

Flowers for Ima

It was Saturday. The next day May 8, the world would be celebrating Mother's Day.

At work that morning, there were seven of us seated at our long lunch table – six middle aged ladies and a young man in his 20s. Our conversation topic centered on Mother's day and what this young man would give his mum on this special day.

None, he said and added that he had no idea what else his mum wanted or needed. His mum, by the way, was a famous artist in NZ and according to him had been knighted and was now called a 'Dame'.

"Give her flowers," I suggested. A decent arrangement of roses here would cost a little less than a hundred dollars.

"Or if you want something affordable, there are flowers at the supermarket," Vanessa, the lady seated next to me seconded.

"Bring her breakfast in bed," Sue, the lady seated at the head of the table suggested. "It doesn't have to be something pricey, even simple things as doing something for her would please any mum," she added.

The young man did not respond to any of our suggestions, which I took to mean he was thinking about them.

But that conversation and my own suggestion reverberated in my thoughts. "Give her flowers." That was something I would love to do for my own mother.

I first thought about that – giving flowers to my mother - a long time ago.

It was during the early 90s and our Publisher/Boss was having another idea for a new weekly magazine in Pilipino. So, Tess, Glo and I were asked to come to her house in WackWack for a brainstorming session.

In the middle of that meeting, the Boss' daughter arrived with a bunch of flowers in her arms. (If I remember right, they were white lillies.) The younger woman apologized for disturbing the meeting, approached her mom to kiss her and hand the flowers.

I thought I saw the old woman's face glow with delight as she took the bouquet of flowers in her hand. She was obviously pleased with her daughter's thoughtfulness.

The Boss then excused herself, sprang from her seat and disappeared into the kitchen. She appeared again carrying a tall, crystal vase in which, she carefully arranged her flowers before placing them on the table where she was working. With a wide grin she looked at them admiringly. "Beautiful!" she blurted out. And then thanked her daughter, planting a kiss on the younger woman's cheek before bidding her goodbye.

That scene left me thinking to myself. Would my own mother appreciate flowers too? Would she be delighted as well to receive flowers on Mother's Day or even on her birthday?

She was not used to receiving flowers from us her children, but they would be something different.

I resolved to buy her flowers on Mother's Day. Several Mother's Days passed since then and even her birthdays came and went but no flowers were bought for our Ima.

Then all of a sudden in 1998, with nary a goodbye, she slipped away from us.

Finally, I was able to bring her flowers for the first time on Mother's day in 1999. They were beautiful white roses which I tearfully arranged on a simple vase and carefully laid on her tomb. Sadly, she was not able to see the flowers I brought for her. And I did not get to see her face light up at the sight of flowers, nor did I hear her thank me for them.

I would have traded anything in this world that day for that last chance to hear her call my name, see her face light up and smile at me as I bring her flowers on Mother's day.

Happy Mother's day to all mothers. And to everybody who still have their mothers around today, treasure them. You never know when you won't be able to hear her call your name again.

Imelda Cruz Wood

8 May 2011