The world celebrates mothers today. I am heart warmed by all the pictures and words that I see. Cool moms, loving moms, moms who are best friends, sacrificial moms, so on and so forth.
I’ve never really taken fancy pictures with my amma. I wish her on Mothers’ day, but have never sent her paragraphs of why she is the best amma ever. Haven’t penned poems for her. Maybe once or twice, anna and I have signed greeting cards for her. But that’s about it. She doesn’t sit down to tell us she loves us either. We don’t surprise each other on birthdays. Big fat celebrations don’t exist in our family. We don’t take yearly family trips to exotic locations. Heart to heart conversations are a rarity. We’ve hardly said “I love you”.
But this woman I call amma, I am sure she’d lay down her life for us, if she has to. In fact, I think she does that everyday, wearing herself out to the point of exhaustion for her family. There’s love in the hot cup of tea that awaits every time I visit my hometown. She didn’t spare the rod when she raised me, out of love. She has rebuked me so that somebody else wouldn’t. She has both rejoiced in secret and cried in secret for me. She is the most overworked and under appreciated woman I know. 29 years of serving people by caring for and treating their animals, as well as their troubled souls. Even after retiring, her hands always find work to do. It’s like she whispers every morning, “Work, wherever you are, I will look for you, and I will find you.”
Three years away from home and I’ve inherited nothing from her. I can’t cook like her. Can’t keep the house spot-free like she does. Can’t fold clothes like her. (How on earth!) Can’t come back from a long day of travel and go straight into the kitchen like her. Can’t wake up in the middle of the night just to check if everyone’s sleeping tight and if the blankets cover us well. Can’t pray like her ignoring the aching knees and the thinning disc. She’d even put off going to the doc because she’s scared they’ll ask her to rest. “I can’t afford to rest, Pearlyn.”
And oh, can’t love like her. She would never hate me but even if she were to, that hatred would be more loving than the highest level of love I can give her. Now, that! That just blows my mind. Even more unbelievable is how she would blame herself when something goes wrong in one of our lives. No way.
She’s not like the well-dressed, glowing mothers they show on TV. When I think of my amma, I think of how she’d run around the house in a sweat drenched nighty, how she’d cry every time I came home with a scraped knee or a bleeding face, how she’s up early in the morning reading the Bible and praying for her family, how she’d look at her wrinkled face in the mirror, worry for a second and then move on. These are not necessarily beautiful scenes, yet there is no greater beauty than this. She deserves a perfect child, but here I am. And surprisingly, she’s okay with me.