Our universe is defined by the gracious shadow of motherhood of these very special people, whom we address as Mom, Mummy, Ammu or Ma.
Almost fifty years ago, my mother introduced me to this earth; for all these years, she has been a significant part of inspiration for many of my accomplishments. This is the first Mother’s Day that I don’t have her to call and wish. However, I am thinking about her, and feeling her in my silent meditation.
One of my earliest childhood memories is when we were driving from Chittagong; as we approached Dhaka, the gigantic High-Court (in the eyes of a four/five year old) appeared at a distance. My mom showed me the white steeple and said, “I want you to be as tall as that building”; the absurdity of that statement baffled me at that time. Years later, as one starts understanding the gravity of this, we know that our lives are somehow framed and re-framed by such statements.
Some 30 plus years ago, my mother also assumed the role of my father; in her strong, emotional, “fire-brand” way, she kept defending her two children against the world.
When I came to the US, I left my vibrant family back home; and missed that constant contact. Telephone conversation was expensive, and the use of the internet was at its infancy. We still wrote hand notes by mail. I remember, one of the things that kept me going was that every Thursday, I would get a letter from her, describing her week, and what had happened with my sister or grandparent. They were part English, part Bangla, the way we spoke every day. It always started with the cuddly term, Babua.
Imagining, that I am wishing my mother a Happy Mothers Day, on just one day, is not enough.
Hallmark has placed this day on our calendars and, for many years, I have enjoyed the novelty of telling my mother, Mummy, you have been that special force, that brought me to this earth and have pushed (never nudged) me along in my path to where I am today.
Today, even though, I am not calling you, I know you can hear my silent prayer.
Switching gears, the advent of motherhood for the mother of my children, were the two defining moments, turning points, of my life.
I remember those two days vividly. Those sterile hospital moments, the smell of anti-septic and fear, the taste of iron in my mouth, tears, pain, agony and anguish, all commingled into one sentiment. Then came that moment, when a new life came into our lives. There is absolutely no question that those are two of the most memorable days in my life. My daughters have re-defined, the mission of my life. That beautiful motherhood made me a father, and thereby changed the context of everything I do.
Again, just sending flowers, on this very occasion, is not enough.
Every day is mother’s day in my life. The mother’s in my life, have enriched my world, and my life. It’s either the mother who gave me birth… or that mother who changed my life forever, with the two most beautiful gifts of life.
Many years ago, I think I was in eighth grade, I went to a friend’s mother’s funeral and tried to imagine my life without my mother. This loss is so personal, that it’s almost incomprehensible. Today, as I commemorate this mother’s day, I feel the that anguish as I remember the last time I saw my fragile mother; one really does not adequately prepare for something like this.
As the day starts with another sunrise, I look out at the beautiful, red hue of the sky and remember my mother and her fierce, compassionate, conflicted style; she comes to me in my dreams, I have complete conversations with her, even though, I know, I may not see her for many years.
Today, I plan to spend the day with my special people and celebrate these moments of configured motherhood, fatherhood and life.
Today, I will go out to a mother’s day meal, celebrate ou5 lives together – I will eat at your favorite salad bar, maybe enjoy your favorite baklava, and maybe just reminisce your coo “boka jhoka”, the last late-night adda with you, and the last time when we sang together. I can still hear you humming, from far away.
Happy Mother’s Day Mummy. My life is a gift from you, and I look forward to enjoying your gift in full – in your grand way.