It’s been awhile since I’ve bolted from bed, putting fingers to keyboard because thoughts and words started assembling like soldiers in a military dress parade. But I was given my marching orders, so here I am, albeit a little bleary-eyed still.
All this to do about a holiday honoring women of the world, hell-bent on doing a great job. Whether charged with the care of one, 9, or however many, moms awake each day to the sounds of their offspring calling their generic name…mommy, ma, mama, mom, or mother. Can’t warm to that one myself; but to each her own.
Mama wasn’t perfect…neither am I.
She gave away hugs…the same ones I now share…as “hugmamma.”
Though poor, she was always “dressed to the nines,” her hair coiffed in the style of the day. A habit I’ve acquired.
A quick smile, an infectious laugh, twinkling eyes as if to say…”Have your best day.” She left me that too…that which I give to you.
Sunday best required a hat. Mama bought me Easter ones…when she could. A new, store bought dress was included…if it didn’t “break the bank.”
A pot of soup for a sick friend or neighbor; a kindness returned when mama was “under the weather.” I helped transport the generous offering…both ways.
Mama left me her “green thumb” and passion for gardening. I love flowers, their colors, their fragrances, their attraction to birds, butterflies and bees. I can feel her beside me, when I’m pulling out weeds.
Each Christmas she handcrafted wreaths from evergreen branches we’d gathered, along with wire clothes hangers, newspaper strips and string. Mama’s strength and dexterity always amazed me. As did her gifting these homemade treasures to friends and relatives.
When I was sick she’d minister to my every need, lathering my chest and throat with Vicks to break up the congestion. Or massaging my upset tummy with warmed oil because she said I had “bush.” A Portuguese term for a “turned stomach,” according to mama. The onset of which probably occurred when I took a tumble.
She let me burn a small candle once when I was playing with my dolls. My brother complained, saying I’d start a fire. Mama defended my frivolity.
Sundays at the beach, running its length, the warm Pacific waters our reward. Mama took time out of her busy week to ensure my siblings and I had fun.
Trudging through murky, muddy Taro patch waters, mama taught me to scour the bottom for “pupus.” Hawaiian relatives of the French escargot, the smell of pupus boiling on the stove was enough to send me running out to play.
Prying the meaty critter out of its shell with a safety pin and popping it into my mouth was not my fantasy snack. No amount of cajoling or pressure got me to down that nasty mollusk.
So how is it that I now relish the taste of escargot bathed in garlic butter?
Mama cheered proudly when I stood before a basketball crowd as lead high-school cheerleader.
She made my costumes for school plays.
For Hawaiian dance recitals, she helped gather koa seeds for the leis we strung, and ti-leaves for the hula skirts she made.
All the small and big things mama did for me…I do for my daughter. Some days joyfully; others, like a zombie.
I wouldn’t trade my memories for someonelse’s…nor my job as mom…for another.
Great days or less than…my heart overflows.
…mama wasn’t perfect…and neither am i…
…hugs of aloha…on mother’s day…and all days…