To Mom With Love – From A Son And From A Daughter

Spread the love

To Mom With Love ? From A Son

Darryl Albuquerque, UAE

Dear Mom,

When an acquaintance asked me to write to ‘you’ on this column, I wondered ‘where can I begin?’, ‘will I do justice?’.  Then the soothing thought came through that you are Mom, my Mom and you will take one look at this and be proud of me anyway. 

Mom, you married Dad, a good dozen years your senior and in doing so, gave up on your true religious vocation in life of becoming a nun.  The next decade of marital bliss with four children (raja/rani/roarer/rocket!) would have taken a lot out of you.  Then ? the unkindest cut of all ? with Dad’s passing, you were a young widow with nowhere to go.  Yet, you had a faith of gold; faith that would move mountains; faith that took you from being a qualified teacher to a ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ banker, a service in which Dad had passed in harness; faith that made you take the place of both Mom and Dad in my life and that of my siblings.  After the initial ‘shifting’ existence, you would build a ‘monument’ to Dad and name it after him.  It became home to us.  Home still stands, witness to your determination; your struggle; your passion; your drive; your inner strength; your faith and your place in history. 

Mom, I’m filled with memories which pass by like a film in the blink of an eye, of a simple & God fearing life; of the absence of gadgets that I take for granted now (‘because our elders did everything using their hands, they remained so fit and lived so long!’); of washing clothes on the stone outside (‘washing machines do not wash off collar & sleeve stains, baba!’); of grinding on the stone inside (‘today I’ll make pathrades!’); of having a munch at tea-time (‘Famous Bakery biscuits & Baliga malpuris today’); of different breakfasts everyday (‘baba, eating bread will make you hungry at 11 again!’); of you being ever smiling & always accommodating (‘maids are here to help us, so we should help them in return’); correcting (‘don’t say sorry to me, say sorry to the Sacred Heart!’) and punishing when needed (‘today you have to kneel down and say the rosary, else no dinner will be served!’); of reciting the rosary (‘a family that prays together, stays together’); of feeding Bingo, the dog and Billu, the cat & of crying when the pets died (‘so sad that animals can’t talk and express their joys & sorrows’); of keeping in touch with our neighbours (‘they will keep an eye on our house if we go on a holiday’); of your glee when we excelled in studies (‘Dada would have been very happy to see this’); of your disappointment when one of us brought ‘red lines’ home (‘Did I give birth to you, ba!!’); of buying our first colour TV (‘now don’t watch that stupid Ravi Shastri and Kapil Dev the whole day!’); of your crying while watching tear-jerker sitcoms on TV; of you being the first teacher; the glory days of growing up??

Mom, as we began to fly the coop, I would never know if your heart sank, what with Dad too not being around to soothe the pain of seeing your small ones go out into the world.  Your protective instinct must have wanted to go with me too, but then you said ‘You have to go and make your life’, ‘You have nothing to fall back on, but your education’, ‘Don’t forget to say your prayers daily’, ‘You don’t know where you will reach, so you should eat anything put on your plate’, ‘say Angel of God?.. every morning before leaving home’.  As I left, Mom, you became a fading face, seen through teary eyes, at Bajpe airport, the detail scarred in my memory, a blank to be filled. 

Mom, when my fianc?e and I were at our pre-marriage seminar, they told us a story of two potatoes – the old potato (bigger in size and representing you!) and the new potato (smaller in size and representing her!).  At times, we were told, there would be a ‘potato war’ leaving me with an impossible choice.  I must thank you for doing your part in not provoking any such war in my life.  Mom, you must have cried the day I took my wife; if you did you did not show it to me.  You must have had questions, which had no answers at that time.  Had you done everything you could to make me stand on my feet (the world is such a bad place, one never knows if one is ready); would I be a grateful son (so many stories around town of ungrateful sons); would I be there if you ever needed my assistance (considering geography and my own family life, new potato & all). 

Then, my daughter arrived and Mom, you had now graduated to be a Grand Mom.  This was to be another hat that God had thrown you to wear.  Daughters, I have heard people say, are a blessing.  You Mom, have been wearing your ‘daughter’ hat for the better part of the past decade, being the primary caregiver to your dad in his twilight years.  How many hats could you have worn, Mom?  A daughter, a teacher, a wife, a daughter-in-law, a mom, a widow, a banker, a care-giver, a grand mom ? talk of a life of multi-tasking, with no reward, no increment, no promotion and no bonus. 

When I see my wife wearing her ‘Mom’ hat, I can see what would have happened a generation ago.  I can see how you & Dad would have dreamt dreams for me.  I can see how you would have lulled me to sleep.  I can also see how ungrateful I have been, even to you, at times (‘don’t be ungrateful to anyone, baba’).  I feel like crying.  I cry.  I reach for the phone to tell you how much you are missed, but Mom, at times, ‘Sorry’ seems to be the hardest thing to say (due apologies to Elton John & Blue!). 

Mom, I have a theory about Mothers (with no disrespect to the daughters of the world).  ‘God loved sons, so he gave them Mothers’.  God loved me, and so he gave me you, Mom. 

Mom, I’ve invited readers to take 5 minutes off to remember & reflect on each moment spent with their Moms (all special like you) and to reach for their Moms and give them a big hug; or reach for their phones and tell their Moms how much they love her & care for her.  I’ve also invited readers whose Moms have passed to thank God for the life of their Moms.  I can’t wait to fill in my blanks, Mom, left by your fading face, seen through teary eyes, scarred into my memory at Bajpe airport. 

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I hope to capture the flavour of this day and keep its fragrance with me the rest of my days. 

Your Son.

To Mom With Love…..From a daughter

Shaly Pereira, Oman

A few days ago, I came across a list titled “Things every mom says” and got down to reading it very casually, but not for long.  There were about 200 expressions listed there and I recognized many of them instantly as things my own mom had said to me ? things like “Bored! How can you be bored? I was never bored at your age.” or “Did you comb your hair?” or “Don’t go out with a wet head, you’ll catch a cold.” or “Going to a party? Who’s going to be there?”

As I read more, I realized most of the phrases seemed more than familiar, almost like my very own?.wait a minute?.Oh God??.they WERE my own.  Words I use very often when I speak to my own children.  I slowly sat back and realized that somewhere along the way I had slipped in very comfortably into my mother’s shoes and sounded almost exactly like her.  Happens to a lot of women no doubt, BUT, was that good??  Need to do a little introspection here.

Call her mother, mai, mom, mum, mummy, ma, or mama – it means only one thing – ‘love’ and it brings instant memories to mind.  I remember coming home from school with a painful lump on my head (had been hit with an umbrella handle by a boy in my class) and my mom lovingly tending to the wound;  remember the oh-so-cool touch of her hand on my forehead when I was running a temperature;  her warm and reassuring presence in the kitchen getting meals ready for the family;  the distressed look in her eyes when she realized my little brother had not come home in the school bus, the frantic search for him and the relief at finding him;  her watchful gaze at Sunday mass to make sure we were not dozing during the sermon….little memories that never quite go away.

My mother was not a hard taskmaster.  The only punishment she meted out was to make us kneel in front of the altar with our hands stretched up, a price we usually had to pay for a prolonged and often noisy sibling fight.  However, two ‘sins’ were unpardonable (still are) –  missing the rosary and wasting food. Those days I couldn’t think of loving anyone as much as I loved my mom.  She was my angel, someone who was warm and loving, always ready to give me a smile and a hug.  Somehow, once you got hugged by her, everything sort of fell into place and all was right with the world again.

That was until I stepped into my teens.  Here something bizarre happened.  Blame it on the hormones but suddenly everything my mother said sounded like Hitler’s death knell to me.  She became the one thing that stood between me and John Travolta, between me and Led Zeppelin, between me and party invitations, in short between me and freedom.  There were times when I felt she absolutely hated me.  She couldn’t stand my ponytail, which resulted in the pain and frustration of having a bad haircut at the age of fifteen (could have killed the beautician with my bare hands that day).  My mother’s calm handling of the situation didn’t help.  Instead of thanking her for it, I actually sulked and didn’t speak to her for a week. 

The other thing that always rattled her was my dress sense.  Many times my jeans disappeared and just when I needed them most, I found them soaked in a bucketful of soapsuds.  Sometimes, I found my cousins wearing what suspiciously looked like my clothes and all because mom didn’t approve of them.  Or, picture this scene?.you’re standing with your friends in the church compound after mass and a couple of grooveaux’s (read groovy guys) saunter up ‘casually’ to say hello.  A couple of mothers ‘suddenly’ make a guest appearance and the guys disappear before you can say Jack Robinson.  It hardly took a genius to realize that the clockwork timing couldn’t possibly be a coincidence. 

During those years, to say I argued a lot with my mom would be an understatement.  Hair, clothes, food, dieting, friends, religion, studies, you name it.  We had valid opposing views on almost everything. 

In my late teens, things changed.  My mother realized I was not as gutsy as I claimed to be and I realized she was not as authoritarian as she pretended to be.  It was just her way of protecting me. I began to consult her on many aspects of my life, she confided her uncertainties to me and we became firm friends.  On my wedding day, during the ‘vopsun divnchen’ ceremony we held each other tightly, both overwhelmed with emotion and not wanting to let go.  That day I might have said a tearful goodbye to my childhood but I realize now, that she never said goodbye to motherhood.

When I first became a mom myself, I looked at my mother from a new perspective.  In my eyes she instantly became ‘superwoman’.  Her words “I’ve carried you for nine months and given birth to you” suddenly had new meaning.  Why did I ever think there was nothing extraordinary about motherhood??  I’ve realized now that motherhood is something that is synonymous with love, with pain, with sacrifice, with understanding, with worries, with hope and above all, with just plain ‘acceptance’.  Still as human beings, like so many other things in this world, we take a mother’s love also for granted.  I’m standing on the other side of the fence right now and know for a fact what it is to ‘squirm’ in regret.

Today, I’m the mother of two teenagers.  I love my kids to bits, trust them to do the right thing and am proud of their achievements.  But I can barely understand their hip-hop music and have my own reservations about their low cut jeans.  I have to be uneasily honest here, but at times their jeans ‘disappear’ too.  The boys in my daughters class find my voice on the phone very ‘scary’ and I have to confess I make it deliberately so.  I’ve put stern limitations on parties and I worry like crazy especially when I hear Eminem ‘sing’. 

I know there’s still time for life to come a full circle but I’m getting there slowly.  Meanwhile, I just can’t shake off the mantle of ‘mom’ and come to think of it, don’t want to either.  There are times when my children tell me I’m overprotective and critical, but I smile and say to myself ? “Stay cool, you’re doing the right thing”.  At other times they tell me “Chill mom! Times have changed”.  All I can say to that is, “Times may have changed but mothers never do.”  Right mom?

Wishing all mothers on M.Com and elsewhere a very Happy Mothers Day and for all those who have experienced a mother’s love, join me in saying ‘Thank you God’.

Author: Darryl Albuquerque & Shaly Pereira

Spread the love