Here, there and everywhere
I think it was my mother who inadvertently taught me how to tune a guitar. This was a time when my fingers were too small to sustain a chord, so I just watched her gently strum and then re-tune each string. She usually starts with the upper string first, and then slowly makes her way down to the last. Once she is done, she would then strum a beautiful melody to check if the guitar is indeed properly tuned.
It is only recently or after spending too many hours watching YouTube covers, that I found out that the tune she was actually strumming each time was Beatles’ Here, There and Everywhere, a song that has a complex musical arrangement but with deceptively simple chords. I could only guess that this is one of her few favorites, along with songs from the Carpenters and Simon and Garfunkel.
Unfortunately, I did not become very good at playing the guitar as the years went by. I started practicing only in college, and somehow mastered Leaving On A Jet Plane and all the other similar songs with the ubiquitous D-A-G-A harmony. But there was one rare instance where I was forced to tune a guitar because there was no one else who could. Thankfully I could still recall the pattern of guitar strokes that my mom has been using.
You see, today is my mom’s birthday. I remember promising her a new guitar a few years back since our old one already broke down. It is not only an overdue gift, but also a simple token of appreciation for all the sacrifices she has made for our family. She lovingly took care of my dad even up to this day, which is one long and humbling journey, to say the least. She composed most of my Grade 4 writing assignments, accompanied me in my college enrolment and comforted me during our family’s recent trying times. She gave up many of her personal dreams just so my sister and I can pursue ours.
I wish to honor her with this simple blog entry, but even the most eloquent of words could never fully describe my mom’s strength, perseverance and humility. I am very grateful then that God made someone as beautiful as my mom on this day many years ago. 9/11 for most of the world would mean a tragedy of unspeakable terms. 9/11 for us, however, would always mean a joyful celebration of my mom’s life, one that is well lived, selflessly shared, and fully blessed.
I am not buying you anything today mom. But I’ll be saving this month so I could finally buy the guitar that I promised. I look forward to the moment where you would tune and then strum it for the first time. I have memorized that Beatles song already, so perhaps dad, my delightfully obnoxious sister if she’s around and I, could finally sing along with you.