My mother is a superhuman, the kind of wonder woman I want to be. She’ll be 50 soon, but I swear my 19-year-old self looks up to her for her enthusiasm and a daily dose of energy. I’m scared of growing old, of ageing and no longer wish to explore the world, but something about my her comforts me about that unforeseen future. She is a reminder that growing old can be graceful and as life-embracing as you want it to be.
The earliest recollections I have are with my Mom. Right from saying “Ma” as my first word to my first ever memory of learning to draw a mango with her, it’s no wonder I still gasp “Ma” whenever I’m surprised all of a sudden.
I’ve seen her make it through the hardest of struggles in life and come out stronger, with a smile each time. I’ve seen her recompose herself after every hardship, all ready to take on the next challenge life throws at her. I’ve seen her slip into her forties gracefully and still dance as freely as an 8-year-old with no care in the world. I’ve seen her eyes well-up at the slightest description of pain while watching television, and I’ve marvelled at her capacity for empathy.
She wears her heart on her sleeve and I don’t think I’ll ever be brave enough to do that. Because shutting off your emotions protects you from the pain, but also from experiencing every other feeling of love. I’ve seen her loving everyone who came into her embrace. I’ve seen her jump at the possibility of having my friends over for lunch. I’ve seen her pour her heart and soul into our family — of keeping it together through every knock-out. I’ve seen her complete 25 years of marriage and wonder whether I’ll ever be able to make it to one-fourth of it in my life.
I’ve marvelled at her patience and endurance. How could I not turn out to be a feminist, Mom, when your life has upheld each of its virtues. I’ve seen her wake up at 4 am doing all the household chores, preparing our school lunch and leaving on a 4-hour journey to do her job of teaching in a remote village in Kalsi. I’ve seen her come back all tired and exhausted — but a cup of chai was all she needed before setting on the mammoth task of washing the entire day’s utensils.
I’ve seen her patiently see me through my teenage tantrums and mood swings, and even all of my siblings’ — we can be complicated people. But you’ve done it all, Mom. I can’t show this letter to you, my eyes well up even while writing this, and also because you think I’m preparing for my exam tomorrow, but I hope someday it reaches you.
If I could be half as good a mother as you’ve been, my children will be the luckiest in the world, and they’ll have you of course. And I know, no one, not even me could love them as much as you will. I know we don’t have a tradition of saying I love you in the family, but Mom, if I’ve ever known love, it’s with you and it’s the purest form of love I’ll ever know.
Here’s to every mother in the world. Thanks for bringing us into the world and being there no matter what.