And Mother’s Day is over. I was busy flying here and there and didn’t get the full impact of that special day, not like other years. But yes, I felt the love. No matter where you are, somehow you connect. By some strange magic, you make tender contact with the people who call you Mom. And it is the best feeling ever.
What is the best gift for a mom on Mother’s Day? Ads abounded weeks before on all media with offerings of all kinds. What is the most popular Mother’s Day present ever?
My quick guess was flowers.
But a survey ran on a morning TV talk show in the United States the day before and, surprisingly and strangely enough, only 13 percent of the moms interviewed said flowers. I would have never guessed.
The most popular wish, at least in the United States, was to spend special time “away from it all,” yes, even alone. They wanted a pampering session at a spa, with endless massages using rich creams, oils and lotions, someone walking on their tired backs, their achy muscles treated with hot stones and rose petals in dimly lit rooms surrounded by candles with fragrances from exotic places. Or something as mundane as having the house cleaned from cellar to rafters by a professional team, or maybe even just eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.
I can so relate, remembering my years living in the United States and raising a family. I asked my youngest daughter in Florida, with whom I spent this latest mom’s day. Her list was long.
I recall visualizing just one day off from kitchen duty, from folding laundry, or cleaning bathrooms.
But I always wanted flowers for that one Sunday in May. I don’t know why. I looked forward to that little bouquet of roses.
By the way, sending flowers to someone across the miles does not always work. Ask my kids who contacted some company online. I never got the flowers. The call center handling the order is based, you guessed it right, in Manila. And they refused to cancel the order, and even claim they made the delivery, but the flowers never came.
Another scam? Just asking.
Spas and vacations
But in my heart, I got the most spectacular bouquet of blooms ever, and I am grateful they went to all the trouble, knowing it would make me happy. This is one time that, truly, it is the thought that counts.
We weren’t very big on Mother’s Day celebrations when I was growing up. Pity. My mother deserved the very best. Yes, she loved flowers. Orchids and hydrangeas were her favorites. But I think her biggest wish would have been a night at the opera.
I asked a couple of moms about their Mother’s Day desires. Spas and vacations ruled. Superficial as that sounds, it is easy to understand how a woman’s time and energy is so consumed by mothering that there is little if any “me time” left.
For those of us, however, who have gone way beyond the diapers, bottles, laundry and spring-cleaning stage, it is still heartwarming to be remembered. Even the grandchildren get in on all the festivities, and the greetings never cease. I love it.
I heard from my friend in the East Coast and she had a question. She wanted to know how I would rate her as a mom: “Would I get a passing grade?”
I didn’t think this was strange. Haven’t you ever wondered how your children rate you as a mom?
How would you rate yourself? I don’t think I would dare.
I was never very generous when I taught college Spanish at Far Eastern University. I was, in fact, quite merciless. I never gave conditional grades redeemable by a “make up test.” I told my students that in my class, you either passed or you flunked.
I wonder if I could be as strict and unrelenting if I were to rate myself as a mom. Would I give myself a failing mark or a benevolent “pass”? I know for sure I do not rate an A. I would be thankful with a C. In my day that was a 75 or a low C high D type of grade—passing by the skin of my teeth. “Pasang awa?”
Mother’s Day has always been a bit confrontational for me. I must look at myself in the brutal light of day, brush off all the Hallmark card superlatives and flowery poetry and face a few nasty realities.
I have been counseled not to be too hard on myself; that after all, my children are now all grown and, in spite of all the drama, they have turned out exemplary.
And I am extremely proud of all six.
I really tried in my own bungling, erratic way to keep it all together, to do the best job I could.
But I take credit for nothing. It was all God’s grace.
A mother never stops worrying. That’s what we do so well.
So, what is it that a mother in her twilight years wishes above all else, on Mother’s Day or any day?
Before the lights go out, I want to know that my children will always share love, laughter and life in peace with one another; that like when they were little, they will still help each other “cross the street”; that they will remain closely knit, through the good and the bad.
I need to know that it will be all right to leave them to “play by themselves, safe from the boogeyman, even after it gets dark.”