She scolds me. We argue. We joke and tease each other. I love it when she laughs. She has a wicked sense of humor and delights in tormenting me with it at times. She buys my clothes these days, and I am grateful because I have no patience for shopping. I complain sometimes, but she’s been visiting for almost a year now, and I still call her every day from work to chat.
I get annoyed with her suggestions and questions when she gets in a bit of a drill sergeant mode. She tells me to stand straight, stop frowning and moisturize more. After so many years of resenting it, I now love it when she treats me like her little girl.
Throughout the darkest of times, she’s been there for every tear, every fall, ever rant and every painful silence. She lost patience and somehow summoned it again and again. She stepped in to help in any way she could. It was her hand on my shoulder and her confident eyes fighting sadness and worry and putting up a brave front for my sake that met me every time I struggled too much and could not find my way out.
Every morning, there’s an ice coffee waiting for me even though I told her to stop buying them. Sometimes I find flowers from the store or just the garden on my desk. When I come home from work, the bed is made, laundry done, and usually dinner planned. She dislikes the routine of cooking, yet always makes sure my boys and I have at least one favorite treat ready.
Mom wants to give me everything. And somehow, she always manages to give me more.
She knows how I feel because I wrote her a letter. I told her that she needs to know despite all the difficult moments, occasional disagreements and lesser moods, she is loved and appreciated beyond words. People should know that they are needed and valued…that they make a huge difference in the lives of those around them even if it doesn’t always seem that way.
I told her I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t count, and everything you do is taken for granted. And on top of that, what it’s like to be dismissed, humiliated or outright tossed aside simply because you give and love and want the best for someone.
People don’t believe you. They assume you’re doing things mostly to validate yourself…that you’re masking selfishness with your generosity and sacrifice…that you’re the needy one and not the strong one who somehow manages to always be there and always care even if you have no strength left.
People assume that when you invest heavily in a family or relationship you have no other interests or personal goals and are somehow weak, dependent and want to be in control. And it’s not like that at all.
I know because of who I am, and because of who raised me. I have a mother with super-human powers of patience, love, dedication. Or rather, a mother who is such an amazing human being.
I always said that I inherited mostly my dad’s curiosity, his stubbornness, desire to help others and also ambition in some things. And I did.
But I see now that curiosity is so much mom’s artistic, independent and un-conventional style. The stubbornness is mostly mom’s resilience and incredible strength…although mine don’t come close to hers. As for ambition, much of it is mom’s dedication and natural inclination towards creating simple, yet beautiful things…be it art, be it a simple lunch, be it arranging flowers in a vase or folding laundry. As for the desire to help others, much of that too is mom’s endless compassion and generosity.
Because of mom (my boys, and my friends), although I detest the terrible times in my life, I have to admit I am grateful for them too. I had a chance to see true love, and real stars in the darkest of nights…lights that never faltered, never feared, never hesitated.
But this is about mom…this is her day, even though every day is her day really. No matter what others or life did to hurt and belittle me, mom is always there, standing by my side, understanding, accepting, empathizing, yelling, encouraging, crying with me sometimes, and often succeeding to make me laugh, with her naughty and brilliant jokes. She brings the moisturizer and the new dress, the lecture and the sandwich, the coffee and the clean towels, the jokes and the encouragement.
How good it is to be this woman’s little girl, even though my oldest son is a year away from college, so I’m not exactly little anymore.
So thank you mom, for everything…for putting up with my mess, for being patient with me while I grew up to realize the fact that it’s such a blessing and privilege not to be a grown-up at least in someone’s eyes.