MOTHERS’ DAY, ALAMOS MEXICO
In the nighttime, dark and warm, through the flickering shadows cast by the odd street lamp, you hear it. Music wafting on the gentle movement of air, a special music.
Alamos is full of music and fiestas; there’s always a celebration about. Tired and bored? Wait a moment. Soon you’ll be swept up in a happy swirl of guitar and trumpet gaiety. It’s the Mexican way. This time and this music is different. It’s the eve of Mothers’ Day.
Mexicans worship their mothers. The mother is the touchstone of the family, the touchstone of their civilization. The maternal, matriarchal society of Mexico joyfully exists, mothers surrounded by their men and children, loved and idolized. And they celebrate her appropriately. After all, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to the people of their countryside, herself an icon of motherhood and held close to the hearts of millions.
A decade or two ago a new tradition was born. It started with a few strolling guitarists, ambling and strumming, singing the traditional “Las Mananitas” throughout the neighborhoods, serenading all the mamas of the town, all through the night. Women would hear the thrums of drums and dash to their doors and windows, waiting for the melodic waves to wrap them in what is, clearly, happiness and love.
And so, last night, way past bedtime, I heard the musicians too. These days they move about on a flatbed so as to reach all the barrios. The town has grown in the last few years, with families moving here from the mountains for jobs and a better life. These mamacitas get serenaded too.
The night was clear, the stars seemed to shine with a special effort. It was Mothers’ Day Eve. The music exalted and embraced me, and I teared up with happiness.
Dawn came. Ah, today is The Day. The rolling musicians are still at it, passing through neighborhoods again with their brand of alegria. The day will be filled with flowers and feasting. Dancing, too. Fun for the young – as well as for the not-so-young.
Happy Mamacita Day!
I love you, dear daughter by your most excellent papá ❤️
Happy Mothers’ Day to all those mothers young enough to continue to enrich our lives today and for those, as well, old enough to be able to enrich only our memories…
Good comment – thank you Michael.
Thank you, Michelee – sounds like a wonderful atmosphere in Alamos!
For the occasion, here is a lmothers’ day poem I wrote a while ago – for all mothers
for those whose mothers are no more
the annual business hype of what to give
and where to take your mother
is but a sad remembrance of loss
stirring up memories of happier times
when she was still a pillar in your universe
loved and revered, and sometimes feared,
who taught you, patiently or not,
the basics of survival in your expanding world.
She knew, while you were as yet unaware
that all her loving preparations
would over time mean separation.
When you struck out to shape your life
all by yourself and left her with her fears for you,
her wishes, and the hopes that what she tried
to give you was enough and right,
your heart and mind were elsewhere, far away,
focused upon the future of your independent life.
Your years run fast and busy, and suddenly one day
you stand before her coffin
and discover that it is too late
for all the questions never asked.
What you have left are memories
and a vague sense of having missed the chance
to see – and maybe even understand a little –
the woman she has also been
throughout her life, behind her loving face
of a dear mother’s care and grace.
I’m blessed to be able to live with, and be a part of, a couple Mexican families, especially on Mother’s Day. “The music exalted and embraced me, and I teared up with happiness.” That expresses what I’ve seen every time a mother is sung to. Thanks for the story, Michelee. And thanks, Walter, for sharing your poem.
What a pefect, insightful and perceptive view of the mother-child relationship. Wonderful piece of writing, Walter. Wish you all were nearer.
Dean, I think you have the best of both worlds.
Abrazo fuerte – MMC