Monday, June 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dear Ibu

Sloane and her Ibu

Today is my mother's birthday. This post is for her. I love you, Mom.

My mother's name is not actually Ibu. Ibu (pronounced EE-Boo) is an Indonesian word. Our family lived in Indonesia for a time when I was a child. I attended Kindergarten there and my brother's first language was Indonesian. When we got married, Jeffrey needed something to call my parents. Mom, or some version of that, just wouldn't work; Jeffrey has a wonderful mother of his own. First names wouldn't work either because we wanted something special - more intimate than just a first name. We decided then that Jeffrey would call my parents what we wanted our child to call them. Now, we just had to decide what that would be.

Choosing to use Indonesian pet names was easy. Life in Indonesia was a wonderful time in our family history, and such a name would pay tribute. Even when we lived in Indonesia, we had teasingly called my mom, Ibu. We thought it meant "old woman." As in, "Hey you. Get over here, old woman." The name was funny because my mother has always been young and stylish, and gorgeous. Almost thirty five years later and she's still not an old woman. The name was also funny and not insulting because my father adores my mother and never, ever disrespected her. And, we kids wouldn't dare.

So, we settled on a joking, "old woman" for the someday Grandma. Ibu. We chose "honored and respected father" for my Dad, the someday Grandpa. Bapak. More than ten years later my parents had an old friend visiting. Leatha had been a missionary in Indonesia for decades. To say she is fluent in Indonesian is something of an understatement. Anyway, Leatha heard Jeffrey call my Mom, "Ibu." Leatha was so pleased, moved almost to tears that we would bestow on my mother such an honored title.

... Turns out, my Dad's Indonesian was off. Ibu doesn't mean old woman. It is a term of highest respect. A nickname bestowed on a wonderful, lovely, and well-loved older woman. Ibu means something like this, "most honored, respected, and loved mother or grandmother."

I couldn't have chosen a better name if I tried.

I love you, Mom. I honor you. I respect you. I cherish you.

We all do.

Happy, happy birthday!

12 comments:

Lubna said...

Hello
I wandered across your blog today and thank you for a wonderful playlist. It soothed my fevered brow and brought me peace. Wish your Mum a very happy birthday.
Best

My Castle in Spain said...

Hi Relyn!
this is such a beautiful tribute to your mom and please tell her she looks absolutely gorgeous!!

so interesting, you lived in Indonesia..do you ever go back there?

Have a very nice day with your family!

dutchbaby said...

"Selamat Ulang Tahun" to your beautiful mother! She can be proud that she raised you, a daughter who knows how to love openly with a song in her heart.

Dulcy said...

Tell Jackie happy bday from me! I miss you and we need to plan our Relyn and Dulcy day soon. Thanks for your sweet comment about Graham. A 2 week visit this time. YIKES! Actually we're having a blast...talk to you in person soon instead of blogging!!!
xoxo
dulcy

Ragamuffin Gal said...

Relyn,
This was an absolutely beautiful post! I loved reading it! Tell your lovely mother Happiest of Birthdays from me! Blessings, Katie

Laura said...

Happy Birthday to your Mom!!! What a wonderful and interesting story about her nickname and Indonesia. Fascinating!

J. Chrisner said...

Oh my! I am overwhelmed at being so honored by my incredible daughter. Actually, this is not at all uncommon for her...just more public than normal. Thank you, Relyn, for this wonderful tribute. For those reading her blog, she is one in a million, and I am so grateful God placed her in our family.

And terima kasih to “Dutchbaby”!!

journalady said...

I feel blessed that you visited me on flickr today! I love this photo of your mom and you. I've run a writing/arts camp for kids for 10 years, and you remind me of one of my favorite girls who had such a beautiful relationship with her mom. I hope we continue to stay in touch! LOVE your spirit! In Joy, Antoinette aka The Journal Lady® and colorfulexpressions @ flickr!

ps....I found one of those musical cards which played this song, and ironically, I sent it to my mom for mother's day!

tangobaby said...

I would love to hear more stories about Indonesia someday! And what a beautiful tribute to your mother. She raised such an amazing daughter, so I can only imagine how special the two of you must be together.

susanna said...

Awww...what a wonderful surprise to discover that the cherished nickname for your mother (who IS beautiful!) means something even more special.

susanna said...

Jeepers! I forgot to say Happy Birthday, Ibu!

Relyn said...

Lubna,
Thank you for stopping by my blog. Thanks, too, for your lovely words. I enjoyed visiting yours as well. I hope I'll "see" you again soon. Blessings on you and yours. ~ R


LaLa & TB,
Living in Indonesia was wonderful for our family. I'll try to share more stories, but most of my memories are hazy impressions instead of clear memories. Our time in the Azores is much clearer in my memory. Sometime soon, let's link arms and stroll down memory's paths together. ~ R


Dutchbaby,
I think that your comment is the most wonderful, moving compliment I have ever received. I do have a song in my heart. Thank you for hearing it. Love to you. ~ R


Dulcy,
I am excited about our play date. I am becoming in need of it, too; longing for some adult, in person, chat time. Call me when Graham's gone and we'll set a date. Miss you. ~ R


RG,
Thank you. I think Mom did have a great birthday. Of course, we always have fun together. Love to your Mom, too. xoxox ~ R


Laura,
I think it is fun, too, to hear about life in other places. Our family sure had some great adventures. I love having my parents so close, but I wouldn't mind visiting mine somewhere as lovely as your parent's home. ;<) Happy weekend! ~R


Antoinette,
Thank you so much for your kind comments. I feel so lucky to have the chance to know you. You are already such an inspiration to me. By the way, I have begun my calendar - it's paper images, not drawn - but still... xoxxo ~ R


Susanna,
It was one of those moments of perfect coincidence that I love so much. Happy June! Can't wait to see what your June looks like. ~ R


Mom,
Don't thank me. It is so little compared to what you deserve. Just words floating around in the - well, where do cyber things float anyway? Never mind. My point is, you deserve so much more. But, I do love you. Very much. ~ R

Oldies, but Goodies