“Memories of ‘Mom’ – a grandmotherly aunt

Valerie-BustamanteBy Valerie Bustamante


I walked back and forth between the aisles at Hobby Lobby searching for something to use as my younger brother’s baseball number for his homecoming garter.

While I couldn’t find any plastic ones, I improvised with some small wooden ones I could paint purple to represent his school colors.

As I was looking for other trinkets to add to this garter, my mother said, “ ‘You’re so creative — like ‘Mom’ was.’ ”

When I heard this statement I couldn’t help and feel a little bit of sadness inside, but also joy.

My mother wasn’t talking about her mother. She was talking about her older sister, a woman who since I was 6 weeks old became like the grandmother I never had. We referred to her as “Mom” because she was basically our second mother.

As I was growing up, Mom was a professional florist and had her own floral business. She always had jobs to do such as decorating weddings, quinceñeras, making funeral arrangements, and designing homecoming mums to sell.

During my childhood and teenage years, I spent most of my time with her on weekends and during school breaks. I remember when my parents would drop me off at her house, I’d get so excited when she’d tell me there was a gig we had to do. As I got older I became like her assistant when there was work to be done. I helped with deliveries and decorating venue halls. Eventually I learned the trade as well. While I was not as great as her, I still managed to get the job done.

I learned to make floral arrangements, wedding bouquets, mums and how to pick out the freshest flowers.

When Mom passed away nearly a year ago on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, I inherited almost all her “florist-related” items such as a million rolls of ribbon, four glue guns, mini-Fiesta sombreros and so much more.

The day they brought over all her stuff I was overwhelmed with so many emotions and memories. I sat in my room crying as I arranged everything into clear plastic bins.

I thought not everything would be used like they were many years back but maybe some things would.

The weekend I was at Hobby Lobby, I went back home and pulled out the plastic tubs of Mom’s stuff. As I sat on the floor gluing every bell and every little football, I started thinking of what my mama told me — “You are so creative — like ‘Mom,’ ” she said.

Although Mom isn’t here physically anymore, she is still here in spirit. She lives on in the memories I have from when I was a child. In all her corky multicolored ribbon. But most importantly Mom lives on in the talent she passed on to me. It is because of her I have a passion for anything creative- and art-related. I am forever thankful for all the things she taught me.


E-mail Bustamante at vbustama@student.uiwtx.edu

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