The trellis, the sampaguita and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

When we were living in the city next to my grandmother’s house, Sam and Alex spent a lot of time in my grandmother’s garden. Alex was very young then, just learning to talk. Sam was already the most talkative toddler ever and she liked to christen the plants and flowers. Because it was the Disney princess phase of their lives, the plants and flowers were renamed Jasmine, Pocahontas, Esmeralda, and so on.

After spending time in the garden, they’d come home, little Alex trailing Sam, and they would often give me flowers. Not flowers that they plucked off the plants — they didn’t pluck flowers. They’d pick up what had fallen to the ground, collect them and give them to me saying, “Mommy, for you.” More often than not, they would give me sampaguita.

Fast forward to 2008 when we bought this house. There was a trellis-covered lanai on one side. Artfully arranged hedges and bushes blocked access from the front so that the only way to the lanai was from inside the house through a side door. We figured we didn’t need a lanai because we have a real garden on the other side of the house so we had the hedges and bushes moved to the garden and the lanai became a carport. trellis

But realizing how bare the area looked after all the plants had been moved, we mulled over what we should plant there that would’t scratch the car when it got in and out. Sam suggested sampaguita. She said we would plant them near the posts and make the plants climb up the trellis. trellis

And we did just that. The sampaguita plants have grown despite occasional drawbacks when it stormed. That’s how the trellis looks today. sampaguita

There are new flowers everyday.

And, to give way to the new flowers, the old ones fall to the ground. For the past several days, Sam had been picking up the fallen flowers and giving them to me. sampaguita

Many have completely withered but I’ve kept them on my desk.

The last time that Sam came into my study with a bunch of flowers, I asked her if she remembered how she used to do the very same thing when she was about four or five. She looked rather surprised, I don’t think she remembered but I did.

And I wanted to freeze that moment when past and present seemed to have become one. I told her I should press the flowers between book pages and keep them. And she replied, quite haughtily, “Ano ‘yan — The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (What’s that — The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)?”

If the last paragraph didn’t make any sense to you, you probably haven’t read or seen The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. If you’ve seen the American remake but have not read the book, you’re missing half the fun and thrill. I’ve read all three books in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium series, one after the other, and they were… well, let’s just say that once you start, it’s hard to stop until the very end. My next project is to see the three Swedish films based on the novels. Should be fun.


  1. robin says

    struck by this: “they didn’t pluck flowers”

    in college, we read about how this seems to be an Asian thing – that we are more humane than our Western counterparts who would not have second thoughts about plucking the flowers because they are beautiful

  2. Suzette says

    Hi Connie,
    What a poignant anecdote. I have a 4 year old daughter, an only child. She is in the princess phase and also loves giving me flowers , picking up blooms that have fallen to the ground in the park and more often, plucking them from my mother in laws floral arrangements around the house :)
    Advance happy mother’s day!

  3. says

    Sweet story, pretty carport! The Swedish versions are goooood. Even if I like the overall casting in American one better. Except for the Lisbeth Salanders. Like both equally.

  4. crisma says

    Yes, so nice and sweet to have daughters. You are blessed to have Sam and Alex.

    Wala akong daughter. Only son lang.

  5. Charo says

    Hi Ms. Connie, I just gave birth to a baby girl last March. A day apart to my eldest son. Since our baby girl was born, my son became too clingy. Our pedia said because it was too soon when we have our new daughter, some how it make him a little jealous and insecure. But a son in someway has their way of being sweet and thoughtful. I remember when my son was almost a year older, my husband and I had a fight and I end up crying while I carry him. To my surprise, he kissed me on my cheek and leaned on me. I melted at that moment. I did not realized that even at his age he can feel mommy is sad. I just don’t know how will my daughter be when she grows up. Sana di magman sa kin… bratinela nung bata.. :P

  6. says

    Only son… When Sam and Alex fight, each wishes she were an only child. When one is in the condo, the other that’s left in the house makes the most of being an “only child” hahahaha

  7. says

    Hmmmm My brother was born a year and 2 weeks after me. I don’t remember my parents saying anything about me being clingy. My younger daughter Alex was born a year and five months after Sam. Sam wasn’t clingy either (sibling rivalry developed much, much, muuuuuch later when they were already in grade school). I suppose it’s different from one child to another.

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