Sunday, 13 May 2018

Tears of My Mother

I have always made my mother cry - every time we say goodbye, on the few times I call online and on the very rare occasions when I go home.

She was 22 when her hands first held mine, I was 20 when I let them go. Whatever dreams she must have had before she had us, I never really knew. She became an adult at the same age when I had been at the prime of my youth. She was feeding babies when I was jet-setting all over Europe.

We were not well off, my parents are public school teachers who had to raise three children and the many younger siblings who relied on them. We grew up knowing what we could ask for and even then we felt that we had to work hard for them. But though we couldn't have everything we wanted, we had everything we needed. Because Mama always found a way.

I never really looked at Mama as a person behind the label of motherhood and I suspect that she has allowed herself to be defined by that too. I have only thought about the depths of her sacrifices and the strength of her purpose when I became a mother too, faced with the difficult task of balancing my love for myself and for my family, without losing myself in the process.

Of the many acts of love my mother showed me, the greatest had been at the moment I have let go of her hands. It must have taken all the strength that she had then, not to hold me back, yet she did. And with that blessing, she had freed my wings. To chase after the dreams I have for myself, not for and because of others. To unburden myself of the responsibilities I should not take on. To embrace a life I have chosen for myself, even if it meant she wouldn't be part of it.

This Mother's Day is another excuse for Mama to cry, tears of longing but of pride and relief too, for her three (often ungrateful) children who have flown the nest. Because we are  happy and healthy and in places better than where we have started. And yet we know, though we seldom tell her, that her arms will always be the warmest and her love the fullest. 

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