Thursday, December 15, 2011

a taste of honey

I was in my late teens and Mother's Day was coming.  I had no clue what to get for her, and I was just out browsing around hoping that something would speak to me.  After not having much luck, I went into the card store, figuring I could at least get a nice card in the meantime.

So I was selecting a card when I saw this cute little musical doll.  It looked like a ragdoll with a little flowery dress and matching hat.  And it was singing. 

Well, not actually "singing", but it was equipped with a wind-up music box.  It played a tune, and as it did so, the little ragdoll head swayed a little to the melody.  I don't know why, it seemed silly, but turns out that that was the thing that spoke to me.  The tune it played was the Sukiyaki Song.  Seriously though?  A doll?  For my mom?!?

I purchased the card and the doll and deemed myself ready for Mother's Day.  When the day arrived, as was customary for me, I didn't just give it to Mom and say "Happy Mother's Day" *kiss*kiss*.  Instead, I always put her gifts someplace where she would eventually find them, all the while acting like I'd forgotten the occassion.

I put the doll and the card on the toilet seat of my parent's bathroom.  My mom sulked around for a while because nobody had given any Mother's Day recognition, but eventually, she went to the bathroom and all was forgiven.

She thanked me profusely, but I still felt a little silly giving her a doll. 

The next afternoon, I heard the tune playing from my parent's bedroom.  My mom was in there, seated at her dresser getting ready to go to work.  The music doll was propped on her bed pillows, playing and swaying. 

Once again my mom told me how much she loved it.  Then she said, "I never had a doll before".


I was all, "Mom, you're like 55 years old!  Whaddya mean, you never had a doll??".  And she said, "I just never had one", all nonchalantly as she continued tweaking her hair.

But... but... I was confused.  On the wall of her bedroom, for as long as I could remember, was an old black and white photograph of my mother with her mother and her two older brothers.  Her younger brother hadn't been born yet. 

My grandmother is seated, quite regally, in the center.  My two uncles, looking proud and manly, stand just behind her. And then there's my mom, probably about 4 years old, leaning on my grandmother's knee and holding a DOLL

I can't say how many hours I've stared at it, from the time I was about the same age my mom is in the photo.  Thoughts would run through my head about what my mom was like as a little girl.  And much wondering went on about the doll.  Was that her favorite toy?  Did she have other dolls?  Having been quite the doll aficionado myself, I was very curious about that doll my mom clutched in the photo. 

"But, you're holding a doll in that picture", I pointed out, indicating the photo on the wall. 

"Oh, that wasn't mine", she said.  "The photographer just wanted me to hold it for the photo". 

I was dumbfounded.  All my little made-up stories about my mom playing with her doll vanished.  I'd remembered her telling us about growing up poor in the Phillipines.  About how they only had oranges for special special occassions.  How she learned to sew clothes at a very young age.  How, part of the reason she married my dad was because he had a refrigerator...

But THIS!  No DOLLS?!  EVER?!?

And so coming upon her that day, with the little music doll propped on the bed, singing and swaying, was a real bonding moment for Mom and me.  She told me it was one of the best gifts she'd ever gotten.  And, almost 30 years later, she still has it. 

Damn straight.

For the NaBloPoMo prompt:  What is your favourite gift you ever gave someone?


Rebecca S. said...

Your instincts told you to buy that doll...that's why they always tell us to use our instincts! There are few better feelings than getting a gift right, especially for our moms.

terri said...

What an amazing gift that turned out to be. It's almost inconceivable to us, growing up in the U.S., to imagine a life without a toy as simple as a doll! And yet, your mom never had one of her own. No wonder she loved your gift so much.

Anonymous said...

Love this!

agg79 said...

Wow. That's one amazing gift with a great story. The littlest things can have the biggest impact.

CiCi said...

Aren't you glad you listen to the messages being spoken to you and follow through? This is a wonderful story. It makes me so happy for your mom when she finally got a doll for her inner child. And her child was the one who instinctively found the doll for her to enjoy.

Rock Chef said...

We take a lot of things for granted. On my dad's 65th birthday my wife made him a birthday cake. Turned out to be the first one he had ever had!