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Mother’s Day is not a concept or a day we really celebrate here in India. Although, I suppose the Hallmark card shops, bouquet makers, chocolatiers and teddy-bear websites will glare at me and disagree on that one.
I have always felt that our love for our parents/ significant others must transcend the limitations of a single day. But, today is as good a day as any to think about three gifts my Mother has given me and perhaps share them with my daughter as well as my readers.
We don’t always need words
I live in the same city as my mother. We live about 40 kilometres away and given the snarling traffic on one hand and the paucity of time on the other, we don’t get to see each other as often as I would like it. Given the fact that I work from home and run a lot of errands through the day, I hardly get time to even pick up the phone and talk to her more than twice a week.
But, my mom always showed me that it is not in our words but in our actions that we communicate the best. I remember being really low one particular day and I couldn’t really put my finger on it. In desperation, I picked up the phone and dialled my mother’s number. When she answered, my sobs were the only things that went through. She listened as I cried my eyes out and after I was done, gently asked, ‘Are you feeling better?’ I gulped and said, ‘Yes but I don’t want to talk about it.’ I could hear her smile as she said, ‘We don’t always need words. I am here for you.’
I’ll take whatever you give me
It was a month after Gy was born and I remember being severely sleep-deprived. At one point, it got so bad that I almost dropped Gy during a nursing session. My mom was right there and rushed to take Gy from my arms. Half angry, half defiant, I lashed out at her, saying, ‘I can manage! Thank you!’ She said nothing but helped me sit up and finish the feed. Grumpy, I rolled back and fell into a deep sleep.
When I awoke the next morning, I recalled that I had been unduly harsh and guiltily asked for forgiveness. My mother smiled, hugged me and said, ‘I know you didn’t mean it. I’ll take whatever you give me, because deep down, I know you love me. Just as much as I love you.’
Growing up, I have gone through my share of heartbreaks, broken friendships, soured relationships and bad arguments. After each of these incidents, I would sit with my mom, in the kitchen, while she cooked and I’d pour my heart out, as she listened with patience and understanding. The granite slab on the kitchen counter was my favourite place at the end of a long day. It seemed to support me physically as my mom did emotionally. After listening to my tirade against an ‘insensitive’ friend, she would wait for me to pause and then say, ‘ I guess she must be feeling as bad about it as you do. Don’t hold on to the anger. It will only harm you. There is great joy in forgiving and loving unconditionally.’
As I sat there, listening to the kindest woman in the world tell me this in the warmest way, I could not help but think I must have done something wonderful to be able to call her Amma.
Amma, you are my inspiration, my succour, my love and my life. You are my best friend, the one I can share my darkest secrets with. You are my rock of Gibraltar, against whom I have leaned all these years through my lowest moments. You have hugged me, loved me, advised me and taught me more than any other teacher on this planet.
Although I may not say it often, I want you to know, for me, every day is Mother’s Day.
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