This One’s For Mommy (Sam sings “Namaste”)

Sam indeed made her mommy happy again tonight after performing as guest singer/soloist at the Assumption METTA’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” (Summer Shakespeare Workshop). We were pleasantly surprised to have received a call from her school last week. They had asked if she could be allowed to sing “Namaste”, an original composition by Ms. Pinky Valdes for the Shakespearean adaptation. Of course we said yes, because we believe every opportunity for Sam to perform is truly an opportunity given her to improve her craft.

Mariel had always been very supportive of Sam’s theater interests. She had encouraged our daughter to develop her many “gifts” as she had looked forward to seeing her perform on stage. She would have been beaming with pride tonight and would have been doubly exhilarated with seeing “Sammy” transform from the bashful little four-year old girl we had enrolled into theater class to try to overcome her shyness to the confident and admired thespian she is today.

I must admit too that it was not easy sitting through the play tonight. I’m no Romeo, but Shakespeare’s words of love found and lost have unexpectedly struck some raw nerves that had sent me reeling back into painful territory.

“O my love, my wife! Death, that hath suck’d the honey of thy breath. Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty… Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

Mommy, I know you were watching with me our little “Sammy’s” performance tonight. And I know you knew too that this one was especially for you. We love you very dearly. Good Night!

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Every Day I Miss You (Part 1)

“If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in a garden”.- C. Gandhi

What’s there to miss about Mariel? I’d say, a world. For starters, she had always provided me with that reassuring presence that I could do just about anything I decide to put my heart into, and that she’d be there to follow me to the ends of the earth. Out of enthusiasm, unwavering belief, respect…, love? I guess all of the above, and more. For Mariel had in her also the qualities of any good leader– knowing exactly when to get into the picture and when to get out of the way. And while we had so many “spirited debates” over the years about almost everything, she never once imposed her ideas on me. Because she had always tried to win me with reason and even better, with her example. She was first to sacrifice her love of shopping during times when finances weren’t too great. That’s why I felt so guilty when hankering after my latest “gadget” then. But lucky me, many times she had conveniently looked the other way while as I raided Apple Center. She had “spoiled” me and I miss her so much now.

I also miss her creative home decor projects. Those who knew Mariel will tell you how much she loved to decorate our little home. While her favorite themes were mostly English country-style, she had this knack for making masterpieces of even “found” objects. But I’d just say that she had only wanted our home to be plainly clean, sunny and comfortable. Bright floral prints interacted with fresh greens and cool blues. And certainly, life would not be complete if we didn’t have her favorite accents of lilac, violet or purple (yes, her signature color). While I often contradicted her ideas with my own “unique” design sense, I have to admit now that most of the time she was right when it came to knowing where to put the piano or next flower pot.

I miss her for her ways with Sam. Mariel loved her dearly, but really knew when to “discipline” her. She had always told me it was all about timing. She knew when to be firm and when to give those hugs. I am truly lousy at it even today. So, I usually end up aggravating Sam’s feelings even when I just wanted to give her some encouragement. I really need to practice more and get guidance from my Mariel.

I also miss just sitting around the house and reading the newspaper with her. We would get into these lively exchanges on politics, business news and at times times about that juicy entertainment gossip around town too. Mariel could gamely trade views on just about everything from Alan Greenspan to Brangelina. And that’s why she was never a bore to be with. She would always make you feel comfortable and knowledgeable. She would try to reach out to you, even when initially she’d appear “offish” when you first meet her. I guess she was just in some ways shy, but she was always really very compassionate.

I miss her for her “heart”. She was usually first to remember birthdays, anniversaries of friends and kin. She had always gently reminded me of these things. She was genuinely concerned about the well-being of people. Whether it was to visit a friend who was sick or to get that little present for my mom when we see her on Sundays to cheer her up, Mariel simply cared for others. And she would do this in ways that you’d never even feel that you’d have to return the favor. I’ve heard many, many stories of people she had “helped”, all of which I’ve come to know only after she died. She never once tried to share any of her little acts of charity with me. Giving came to her naturally, and oftentimes it was Sam and me who were at the receiving end.

Tonight I just miss snuggling on the bed with her and our “Sammy”. I miss her warm and comfy embrace, her nice smell, her kisses that were more like sniffs. I miss her gentle reminder of that “early meeting” tomorrow. I miss giving her those leg massages that put her to sleep. I miss coming home late then waking her up in the middle of the night just to tell her stories about how our high school reunion went. (And she’d even try to stay up and be sympathetic.). I simply just miss being next to Mariel now and knowing that everything will be all right tomorrow when I wake, knowing that she’ d be there to follow me to the ends of the earth if she had to.

I love you Mommy. I do miss you every day. There are so many things I want to tell you when we next meet. Good night.

Happy Mother’s Day Mariel!

I found a Mother’s Day card I gave Mariel some years back among many cards she had so neatly saved in a bundle for me to discover someday. To tell you honestly, I never even remember writing it and it was simply dated “May 2”. You know how it is with boys, we often look at occasions such as this, more like a duty than anything else. Of course I know better now.

And I still have Mariel to thank for finding a safe place for all the memories. For it seems like even then she knew that one day I would gladly give anything for the chance to feel once more her love even just for a fleeting moment (sigh).

The “Hallmark” card had a very nice photo of a flower garden (so appropriate for this blog) and had said simply–

“A mother’s love is like a garden, where the sun is always shining. Because of your thoughtfulness, my life has held many beautiful moments. Because of your caring, my heart has known a special kind of love. Happy Mother’s Day.”

And I also wrote further in the margin, ” To my loving wife, Mariel, who inspires me and makes me whole. To the mother of my child who gives us a reason to be hopeful each day. I love you now and forever. — Bong”

The words rang so true then. And even most especially now, when they try to reach out with my loving wishes through eternity.

Happy Mother’s Day Mommy from Sam and me. We love so very, very much. Now and forever.