A Mother's Love Has No Expiration Date

There are a lot of things I do not know in this world but, I do know these and I am sure, that my Mother loved me when she walked on this earth and I love her and I love my children.

The Bamboo Grove. Pigment ink on 12"x9" Bristol Board. Click on image to enlarge.

The following is a re-publication of a previous post dated April 10, 2009. If you have been following my blog for a while, you may see a correlation of some incidents mentioned below with a comment my eldest sister posted on Moleskinerie.com on November 2009. Last week, I went to Facebook to delete my account since I seldom use it. I also do not understand the rationale for strangers asking me to accept them as friends from a mere invitation just because we have common friends. So I set about to discontinue some "friendships" but before doing so, I chatted up someone who asked to be my friend and who I accepted because we had the same surnames. She turned out to be the granddaughter of my Father's cousin, the one I mentioned in the following story. Needless to say, I still have my Facebook account.

A Summer Afternoon

"I am 10 years old now. I will continue attending E.T.C.S. I am graduating this year, and then I will have to go to Sum-ag. My younger sister will transfer and she will be the only one in our family who will not graduate from E.T.C.S. Inday Ched is going to U.P."

They are my father’s cousins and he is called “Bata Taguy” meaning “Child Taguy” but his wife is “Nanay Maring” meaning “Mother Maring”. They have datiles trees and I am free to climb them any time.
Their house is about a 1000 feet from ours.

We moved here on my ninth summer. There was nothing around us except flat empty lots and rice fields in the horizon that blanket the foot of the mountain and the volcano, and giant bamboo groves. My bedroom window directly faces the cone. It’s dusty because the roads are not paved. I am too sophisticated for this place I think, but Mother easily brings my reality down to earth with a curt reminder of who I am.

In the summer afternoons after all the chores are done, we walk with her to visit Nanay Maring where they talk about their ancestors and their past and dreams, hopes and plans. I climb the trees pretending not to listen but I am eavesdropping. They say nice things about me and my younger sister and then they compare us. She is well behaved and I am full of mischief but Mother always tells them we are both good.
We walk back home before dusk so we can tend to the garden and the ducks and chickens.

My younger sister and I follow our Mother or we walk along side with her. Sometimes I run ahead of them and pick up stones and throw them in the air and into the bamboo groves. "TOK!" I like the sound of the rock hitting the bamboo and the bamboo responds with "CREEEAAAHK", CREEEEEAAAHK" as they sway like old women with their backs bent. "CRACK" "SWISSH". There goes a broken dried up branch we called "kagingking". Mother used them as trellis for the climbing vines in her garden. We can hear the giant bamboos creaking as we walk. It's a beautiful melody with the wind blowing the upper leafy branches and the trunks creaking rhythmically filling the hot summer afternoon with what I called the bamboo grove orchestra.

The roads were lined with giant bamboo groves soaring up to a hundred feet or more up into the sky. They sway and bend and Mother mentions the bamboo’s ability to sway and not break and she uses it as a metaphor for an extemporaneous lecture on virtues. I sometimes just listen but most often say something irreverent or construct something illogical for argument's sake. Yet deep down I listened to every word she said and took them to heart. My younger sister who is the smarter and wiser of the two of us just looks at me and says my name “Ay Inday Ces” she would say, meaning that I sound too foolish and impertinent but being that she is younger she cannot admonish an elder since I am two years older than her! So she keeps quiet. Mother gazes at me and I see her smile. She has the gentlest of smiles and she stiffens her upper lip and narrows her eyes and raises her right eyebrow. She has not said anything at all and I keep quiet and smile with embarrassment. That gaze of hers, so strict and firm yet gentle and full of love, always kept me in check.

I can’t recall Mother ever screaming at me, I can only recall her laughter, her smile and her gentle voice.
Many years later as she lay dying on her hospital bed, I sat beside her and rested my head on her lap. She gently ran her fingers through my hair and she murmured, “Why are you here?” I replied “Because I want to take care of you.” She smiled and asked “Who is taking care of your children and husband?” I told her they were okay and my husband was taking care of the children. “You flew here all the way from Texas?” “Yes” I said, and she smiled. “You and your sister came all the way from the US?” “Yes, I said” and added that all eight of us sisters and brothers did. She smiled. “You must really love me. I feel so loved.” So I told her that every one of us loved her from the moment we laid eyes on her when we were children until forever. She did not cry, neither did I. We were just talking.
My Mother had the ability to talk about deep emotions without the maudlin sentimentality. As philosophical as she was she believed a lot of time was wasted on words, she believed in deeds. So that evening was not yet her last, she ended the conversation with a command and advice. “Go home to your husband and your children. You belong to your family.” I opened my mouth to say something and she cut me short with a gentle shake of her head, and added “You have a different family now, still part of mine but for you to take care.” Mother asked for the date then she said, “It will be your sister’s birthday in four days, you must celebrate it”.

Two days after she died my sisters, brothers and I were mourning as we went to the dining room of the house where I spent my youth. My sister blew her candles and cut her cake. We celebrated my sister’s birthday just as Mother would have wanted it.

3/21/2010. 8:55 AM: Thank you for reading this very long post. I know your time is valuable and if you read this, I take it only to mean that you like me or love me, either way, I appreciate you very much. Now, did you find the five lizards, one spider, two butterflies and one bird? Just asking.


AriBa said...

That's an insane level of detail you've added. I don't think I'd ever have the patience to do that. Great drawing :)

yoborobo said...

Ces, I love this story of you and your mother so much. I have to admit to being just a little jealous of your childhood, but I don't know why I would feel that way when I can read your words and experience it firsthand. :) I was thinking of what you mom said to you, about you having a family of your own, and it sounds so much like something my mom would say to me. Thank you for letting me walk along and listen to the bamboo trees. :) xox Pam

Megan Coyle said...

You use of detail in this piece is really quite amazing - and I also really liked reading over your post. Your words paint such vivid images.

Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

I agree with AriBa, Your level of detail is just crazy inside! I bet you could give such a detail report to a dr of every single patient on the ward. You would even know if an M&M was moved from one pile to the next. You are amazing and the great Mind Ninja ever!!!! My love for you and Bella will never ever expire. And if by some strange reason it did. I would find the near office so that I could renew it! LOL!!!!
I love you girly!

Silke said...

Dearest Ces, what a drawing first of all! It drew me right in and I felt like I was standing in that bamboo forest (it also fit because we were looking at bamboo all morning yesterday...). Your mother sounded like an extraordinary woman - you were so lucky to have had her in your life! And I see much of her qualities you describe carried on in you... Much love, Silke

Diana Evans said...

this is perfection and so true about Mothers and their love....I always heard this quote from my Mom...

"you will understand my love when you have your own children" and I can honestly say I get it!!!

My heart has grown so much from being a Mom...I think so much so , I have stretchmarks on it.....lol

oh CES!!! Thank you for popping in and so glad to have you back with us!!!! and having your daughter like my work means the world to me!!!

Thank you for popping in and I am so happy you are back ....

Have a wonderful Sunday and great week ahead!!!


audrey said...

This post is beautiful, Ces. It says so much about you and how you have come to be the beautiful loving lady that you are. Your childhood was full of wonder and I so enjoy reading your accoounts of those days. And mothers. How do we ever describe the love that our mothers are? There are no words.
As always, the drawing is spectacular. I love bamboo. We planted bamboo in our back yard in SC in 2008 - I was looking forward to seeing it grow and become strong stalks. Oh well, I can look at it when I go there to visit my son.
Beautiful words, Ces.
♥ audrey

k.h.whitaker said...

This is very beautiful, and it is so true that a mother's love has no expiration date. Everyone has commented on the amount of detail but I will repeat it because wow, soooo much detail. I commend your patience!

Deborah said...

CESSSSSSSSS! My heart lept out of my chest when I saw the detail in the bamboo in the back ground. How can your art do that to me? Make me stop breathing. OMGosh, woman, how you thrill me. I shall return tonight to read your words, for there is much sunshine to dance in and cartwheels to be turned, so off the computer I go! **kisses, hug, a parade, a rainbow, and a marching band** Deb

Ces said...

Thank you friends. Thank you.
I have da internet! Okay, I just wanted to get that out of the way.
I have da internet.

Thank you AriBa. I have no patience but I have no life either. Hahahah!

Pam, oh Pam, what a sweet thing to say. No need for jealousy. We each have our own experience. If it will make you any better, I remember hating my Mother for forcing me to take naps and going to bed early...and she made me kneel in the corner for incessantly teasing my sister. Okay, I did not ate my Mother, but you know what I mean.

Thank you Megan. Hello again.

Vanessa!!! You are so sweet. I like to envision the three of us getting together and having the greatest time. Can you imagine? As for the M&Ms I will only notice they have moved because they moved into my mouth! Actually I have very vivid memories of my patients. However, I can't remember where I put my sunglasses yesterday.

Silke, thank you very much! What a great trip you took! I am so glad to see you up and about.

Diana, I know you would understand. Absolutely! I am so glad I am connected again. Hahah!

Audrey, I saw so many bamboos in SC and NC last week but I was wondering if they are foreign invaders especially the ones at The Biltmore. They looked like Japanese bamboo. Thank you very much.

Ces said...

Hello K.H.Whitaker, you know I have seen you at Bella's and Andrew's but I was shy to visit you because I thought you were a boy. Hah! You are marvelous and your sister rocks. Your family is talented.

Hello Deborah dearest! Yes cartwheels. It's gorgeous today. It was cold last night when we got in - 41F!!! WTH was up with that? Today is beautiful and I stepped outside to trim my fingernails because I accidentally scratched the Viking. He had to go to the vet, not because I scratched him but because he has to pick up Daisy and I was trying to stay true to my promise to stay in bed.

Bella Sinclair said...

Look at that. You made Deborah stop breathing. Please inhale, Deborah. Do not expire!

This, dearest Ces, is one of your greatest masterpieces. I can hear the creaking sway of the giant bamboo. I can hear the TOK of your stone. All the millions of little leaves rustling in the wake of your breeze. I can hear your little girl chatter, and I can almost feel the look on your mother's face. This is an incredible piece, the most incredible drawing tribute to your mother yet.

I have read elements of your story before several times, but each time I have tears. I cannot help it.

Susan said...

Hooray! Glad you're back in cyberspace Ces. This is exquiste as usual - gorgeous detail and what a story - so poignant, thanks again for sharing.

Thanks for your visit, funny how you mentioned the satyr's face, 'cause it's none other than my younger son when he was eight. He made me promise not to say it was him on the post - he's almost 13 now....so I technically didn't break my word!

INDIGENE said...

Such a beautiful story...I always love to look at the intricacies of your work, one can get lost in it! It's marvelous, Ces!

Bella Sinclair said...

BAHAHAHAHA! DOH! Help me, I've been blinded by a dogtail! Whack Whack Whack

Bella Sinclair said...

Math is not your strong suit.

Deborah said...

Well POOP Ces, I came back to read and had a most lovely visit with you and felt all warm and cozy and happy within your memories and ever so happy I waited to read it until I had time to linger, and then feeling all good, I get to the end and DID YOU FIND ALL THE LIZARD>>> No. I forgot to look for them. I got lost in the bamboo. Going back now. I still adore you.
**kisskiss** Deb

Manon Doyle said...

Hey Ces..... welcome back!! I adore the story about you and your mother. I love your childhood and your recollection.
I just love, love, love the piece.
Does Deb need her Brawny man to give her mouth to mouth?...lol..... i read that she stopped breathing.

Do Not Delete your FB account!!

Shirley said...

Without question, your beautiful words and images always touch my heart. There is love! Love all over this post and for you, my dear. Tingles came to me as you spoke of your last words with your mother. It is a huge gift to have a wonderful relationship with your mom, and to carry that love on to your children as you become a mother. I am blessed to have both, and hope that my girls will know that beyond my living years. I hope you're having a lovely Spring day, Ces. I am so touched by visiting you. Hugs and love to you, S

Linda Moran said...

Your drawings are just amazing. I have always loved pen and ink, but you have raised it to an incredible art form! I could study them for hours! Thank you for such incredible work!!

Bella Sinclair said...

Blogger is trying to tell me something. Today, I had as word verifications, both "cooch" and "gonade".

Ces said...

Well I just finished cleaning up the dinner party and on the table, overheard were the following:

"That is a drippy one. I don't like sucking the drippy one."

"Oh this is a big one!"

"Here suck the big one!"

I have to tell you the rest later. OMG what an eye opener for some young 13 y.o. boy who came to visit and found the girl's family host an impromptu party. It's never dull in here. The adults are still here and I am in dire need of ice cream after dancing to Annie Lenox singing:

"You hurt me, I hate you!"

The word verif reminds you of what you need. I am sending you a matted hairy nut.

audrey said...

Oh no! Here we go with the nuts again.

lakhsmita indira said...

"Our mothers are our angels. They live in us forever."

i will never forget when you said this to me.

beautiful post, beautiful drawing (as always), beautiful Ces (as you are).

lakhsmita indira said...

ooooohhh i have so much work to do!!!!!!
hum hum... will be back soon...

Shirley said...

Is that really what Bill Clinton said? Oh boy.

I hope you are now resting after a long night's work. I just woke up to Vanessa's funny comment about putting on a coconut bra and shaking away the rain clouds for her, too. I saw her lovely post of all of you shakin' it. : )

I am going to paint today, and continue perusing your most-detailed gem of a piece. Did your mother ever see your Fiestaware collection?

thewillowsnest said...

Oh. I love this story of your mother! You recall moments so well!
Well your drawing MAKES ME FEEL LAZY.. imagining me doing all the detail makes me sleepy.. in a really nice way..I think I could have managed ONE bamboo!!hehe!
Lovely. jubbly!! guess you are sleeping Now too!

Annotated Margins said...

Wow... for the drawing and the post.

Arija said...

Ces dear, it is not Ii don't come and look, just that it so often is hard for me to read it all and comment sensibly. Constant (un)reasonably intense pain does depress rational thought. The tissue in my lower legs is badly affected by bad circulation (heart) and water retention (kidneys). I so desperately miss Renee's fortitude. Lack of sleep is not helping either with the stabbing pain ripping me awake even from a drug induced sleep. Cest la vie...that's how the cookies crumble and what cannot be cured must be endured..

Susan said...

Just read through this again Ces, you are a phemomenal writer, you know you need to write a book someday right?! Took another good look at that wonderful drawing too, wow, what a sense of peacefulness is exudes, you really feel like your there. I found the spider and the two butterflies, but the others are eluding me! I'm glad you like my tree roots, that is high praise coming from the tree goddess herself! Wow, I'd love to go to one of your parties - woohoo!

Bella Sinclair said...

I really love this. This illustration speaks to me. I can feel the love it conveys. Oh Ces, you are fantastic! Have a wonderful day dearest Ces.

Mafusa Watusi said...

Your lines put me into a deep trance. I feel like I am floating, no sound, just the sight of your beautiful art. I am surrounded by majestic bamboo that will continue to exist long after I am gone. Your art transcends. I feel liberated, empowered, ridiculously energized.

Tell me, you wonderful woman, how did you ever come to possess such powers. You take me to different lands, different eras with your pictures and your words. I feel like a time traveler whenever I come here.

I would very much like to become your best friend, your muse, tickler of your fancy, cradler of your nuts, the one who adores you. Won't you say yes?

aimee said...

your mother sounded like a rare, selfless soul. your story about her totally enchanted me.

Bella Sinclair said...

DOH! BAHAHAHAHAHA! I had to delete that one, PRONTO!

Ooooooh, you evil thing, you! BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

Andrew Finnie said...

Hello Ces, your words weave an image as colourful as the words your image weaves. By the way, there is an Andrew Finnie club on facebook. They havn't asked me to join so I am upset... :)

Silke said...

Hi, dearest Ces! And good morning!! I'm hoping you are finding some time to play and aren't working too hard!! Much love to you!! Silke

Deborah said...

I really love this. This illustration speaks to me. I can feel the love it conveys. Oh Ces, you are fantastic! Have a wonderful day dearest Ces.

????????? Who has taken over your blog???????

Deborah said...

Yes, when I read your comment yesterday in the midst of my work crisis, I thought, hmmm that's odd. Doesn't sound like Ces. Then this morning I see it allllll over bloggy land! HA! Good one.

Work crisis solved. I have decided not to work for Big Corporate take over. So I'll work until the take over is completed. Then I shall be a Free Woman!

Ah the teen years...God's way of getting us to stop crying over our babies growing and wanting them to grow MORE! The key is in seeing problem events as a blip in the road...and nothing more. All the love we put in them eventually wins. **blows kisses** Deb

Prostrate Toelicker said...

I like what goes on in your head. No need to venture out of your cranium. It's safer there. No inebriated fools who swagger and sway. In fact, move over. I'm coming in. Can I run my fingers over your bamboo and feel their strength, their osseous structure? How sensual.

Bella Sinclair said...

The elephant is normal sized. It's the kids who are gargantuan.

lakhsmita indira said...

dearest Ces.
yes i know i know.
im such a terrible person.
im still in front of my sketch book.
and tomorrow i need to get up early.
so, goodnite and goodmorning to you.

hope you're well.
im kinda having a headache, im working like crazy :D

lakhsmita indira said...


Glandula Oblongata said...

I want to meet Prostrate Toelicker! How totally cool to be so irreverent on such a solemn post. So bold!

Jack Foster said...

Hey Ces! Your word pictures are just as incredible as your art! There's just something wonderful about bamboo... and about a mother's love. You have experienced it from both sides. Thanks for allowing us to peek into the bamboo forest of your past. Any lizards hanging out here? take care... Oh and thanks for stopping by!!!

Mr Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie S said...

Ces, I am in love with your story.
I finally got over to read this.
I have been so busy with the web pages (I am re-doing them, not my blog yet) and spring has infected my "I can't stand this mess anymore" gene. The days are longer but my time seems shorter. I am making one of Madi's friends a something for his 1st birthday. I am also so addicted to the angels and making pieces for them so that I can put them together.
I have been missing you my dear friend.
What a story for me to read to feel closer to you. Your Nanay sounds so wise and gentle and kind. You must miss her dearly.
I wish we had bamboo groves like the ones you describe. They sound and look wonderful from you description in words and your drawing.
I am in love with this tale of your childhood and your Nanay. I am also sorry I came on a day when you don't want to talk.
Know that I love you and hold you in my heart!
Madi is starting to walk Auntie Ces. I can hold one of her hands and walk with her like she is a big girl and then I look down and the other arm is just swinging away. Not in time with her legs like most kids do but in Madi's time, just like the big girl that she is becoming. I see this and my explodes with a overwhelming love for this little girl.
Love and hugs my friend!

Ces said...

Really Mr. Smith! The only comment moderation I do on this blog are on people who hide behind anonymous profiles. So I appreciate you moderating yourself. I know who you are, so don't be so stiff. It's only the blogs, don't be so serious. Life is stressful enough and it is Spring!

Deborah said...

Not like Spring! Oh Ces, come spend a spring day here in the desert...it will win you over. What an impressive shot of the many lakes. Your artist's eye shows in every thing you do. Don't feel like talking. No comments allowed? Oh well. I shall have a one-sided conversation with you then. Now let's see, how shall I entertain myself over here. Oh, first I do NOT have your phone number, for no high tech phones in my house, no cell. Don't care for the phone much...like to see the words. I am visually stimulated. My ears, not so much. Okay. A story.

When SPC Ryan was about 5 he had a fish tank. The largest, prettiest fish was named Biggie, of course. One day he got sick. Quite ill. A fish disease of the skin. Nasty. So we prayed every morning and every evening for God to heal Biggie. And after 6 days, He did. God knew that it would be very important for Ryan to believe in the power of prayer one day.

Now, on to your mood. It's simply that...a mood. Give it no importance. Sleep well and everything will look better in the morning.

**hugs, kisses, and baby bunnies in a basket** Deb

Andrew Finnie said...

Now that's funny Ces, but seriously, it is a nice photograph of the lake, whatever Mr Smith said. I have yet to have the person who posts in Chinese characters (?) visit my site.

lakhsmita indira said...

LOL at Andrew...
sorry Ces, goodmorning to you :D

Ces said...

Thank you very much for all your comments, your visit, your support, your kind words.

Andrew, yes, it is a beautiful view of the lake. I don't know Mr. Smith but I sure loved his accent and if only he starts relaxing. Really, my visitors just like to have fun and except for the Chinese and Korean spammers, I would like to think that I do not need to moderate anyone, except of course for profanities. I will not tolerate them. I only tolerated that on one special person.

Deborah, my dearest sisterfriend, thank you very much. Everything is alright. Really. Spring makes me weak and ill sometimes. I believe in the power of prayer. I prayed for every patient who came in to the trauma room and more often than not, my prayers were literally answered.

ValGalArt said...

you have the ability to draw on your past and push into the present in the most magical and detailed way! Delightful, compelling and insightful! Happy to reconnect with you Ces :D