For some reason the idea of having one particular day to celebrate anyone, including birthdays, has always seemed bizarre to me. I won’t delve into any personal or religious beliefs because I came to hold onto them very later on in life. I will however share my sentiments on celebrating one person in one day because that is what’s on my mind as I look around.
Starting from February/Valentine’s, year round we are bomdarded with Siblings’ Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and so-and-so days; all around me I see billboards, tv ads, and even the internet, my primary mode of communication and news nowadays, full of ideas and suggestions for me to make the Day in fashion at the time special for my loved one. And all I am thinking is but I could do this any other day, when that person least expects it, and will probably feel much more special and happier than on the designated day for celebration.
I won’t even go into detail of the commercialization and profitability of these days and celebrations. The real reason I am sharing this is because Mom’s day is right around the corner, and like every year it means nothing to me. Here’s why:
My mom always tells me that from the moment I was born she could read my eyes and my facial expressions so no matter what I said, my face would tell her the real story and so I cannot hide anything that I am truly feeling from her. This is alarmingly and very accurately true. But as I grew up I realized that where she can read my facial expressions and know how I feel inside, so can I with her, simply because where I grew up in front of her very eyes, she also grew older in front of mine.
As a teen I used to swear to myself I will never do some things my mom does because at that time they used to annoy the bejeebies out of me. Telling me to call when I reached a destination whenever I headed out. Then not waiting for my call and instead calling me herself instead. Not once, nor twice, but ten times. Overhearing my conversations with friends. Not approving of some friends of mine. Repeatedly telling me to study when all I ever did was that. And so much more.
So I used to secretly promise myself I’ll never do that as a mom. While some of these things still seem overly protective to me and while I still think I won’t be as intrusive or over-caring like my mom, I now realize she was like that for my own good. The friends she didn’t approve of are no longer in my life for some reason or the other and its all for the better. The emphasis on studies was necessary for me to be a woman of my own. I may be an emotionally vulnerable person but thanks to my mom I do have the practical gear to depend on myself whenever calamity strikes.
And most of all, I am exactly like her in so many ways. She is part of me just like I am part of her. Yes I am part of her in flesh but she is also part of me in soul. Her story and her struggles, ones that I witnessed, and the ones I did not, are all part of me, her daughter. Every day I face some scenario, some person, or something being a mother myself now, that forces me to think how she would have or how did she handle the same circumstance. Sometimes her way and mine is similar. Sometimes I try it my way just to see if I could make it even better.
The point is that my mother lives in me and nothing can every take it away, not disease, distance, or even death. When someone is a part of you, just like the oxygen you breathe in, how can you sum their contribution in your life, and their eternal presence in just one day? For me even if I celebrate my mother or try to make her feel special every hour of every day of my life it won’t be enough because her efforts are immeasurable.
And when I, out of obligation, had to celebrate her day, or birthday, I always felt awkward because then I had to put on a mask of adoration and use things to express my gratitude. I had to not be myself in front of her for that one day when just the previous day she and I would have had an argument, or would have one the day after. With time I realized that the best way to show my gratitude was by just being me, the person she made, and she did not need me to be any other person on one particular day of the year to feel special.
As a mother, I feel special when my son smiles at me for approval or when he is proud he climbed the stairs himself, or eats by himself, or brushes his hair by himself-all the small stuff. I understand some mothers may feel immensely proud and grateful only when their children achieve some big goals like graduation, or their first job, or a promotion, or even marriage, and that’s fine. But speaking for myself I want to always feel proud, grateful, and special for all the small achievements my children get to because I don’t know how long will I be around and I always want them to remember that I am part of them everyday, not just for one big day that they would feel obliged to return the favor on.
My mother is me. I feel that everyday. Being the first born I did spend the most time with her too and that again has made me a different person than my siblings. She stood by me in all decisions I ever made, and keep making even today, even when she disagrees. The knowledge and personality she imparted me is an incredible thing to emulate. If I want to make her feel special then I have to make sure I live up to be a person others can look up to, trust, and respect. If someone prays for me in private, or deems my integrity worth, then this is her true achievement, and my honest celebration.
No matter what the day or hour, you know I love you Ami. You are worth so much more than just one day.