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Happy Mother’s Day.


To Ma,

I know you now, like I’ve never known you before. I am you. Your insecurities, your strengths and your weaknesses, your loves, your hopes and dreams are all mine now. They exist for my daughter and son and every day, I wonder how you managed it. It’s such a heavy thing to carry around isn’t it?

Firstly, I want to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry for ever being a brat, for ever contradicting you and for ever doubting you. I was wrong and you were always right. You will continue to be right, especially when it comes to the big things.

You are wiser than anyone I know. You are the most patient person I have ever met, although growing up, I may not have been able to say that. You are the kindest person I know.

When I was a little girl, I remember being the centre of your world for a good few years. I remember holding on to the end of your sari, of skipping along beside you on the way to school, of being encouraged and taught by you. I remember all those things. I think the greatest gift you ever gave me was the confidence to try things for myself, to make my own mistakes and to learn from them. Do you remember the endless sewing projects, the cookery experiments and the countless failed junk modelling? I was always so proud and so were you, without question.

I also remember how you were always so tired and always working. I was always by your side though. Whilst you changed the sheets on the beds, I would climb inside and create a different world, the duvet covers billowing like the ocean above me as you shook them onto the quilt. Then you would force me to get out, ready to finish up and move onto the next task. As you sorted the laundry, I would sort the socks, but I’d roll them up into flowers or cannonballs ready to throw at my brother, the other pirate who sat in the laundry basket vessel upon the stormy carpet seas.

We’d watch movies on a Friday night, with Wall’s Vienetta as a dessert after “English Dinner”, the one time in the week we were spared our traditional Indian fare we took for granted. We had so much fun!

On the flip side, I remember you being so strict. I’m not sure what happened but you became the disciplinarian, the one to put their foot down. At one point I started to resent you. You were unreasonable and unyielding, at least that’s what I thought. But I get it now. You were doing your job, as I’m doing mine. I was just going through that phase of not getting it, of believing I was always right. My own daughter probably feels the same way.

When I went off to university, it was Dad I missed, I’m ashamed to say. It was him who I had the conversations with and the discussions of hopes and dreams. You were my cleaner and cook and the one I always took for granted. I see that now. But it was when I was on the cusp of getting married, that I saw you finally for who you are. I saw who you are. I finally appreciated the woman in you, not just mother and wife you had become.

Soon, I learnt about your past, your innate nurturing nature. I heard stories about you and how perhaps you didn’t have the childhood you could have had. Growing up in a foreign land, being responsible for younger siblings, being the emotional crutch for your own parents who were struggling in their own way, to find their own way in an alien culture with alien ways would have forced you to grow up and grow old far too fast.

I just want you to know that I see you and I appreciate you and your courage. I appreciate your strength and your patience. I appreciate your wisdom and your bottomless well of love you seem to carry around with you. You are truly special and I want you to know that.