My parents started a family when they were very young. My mother dropped out of college and had a couple of kids, while my father was working on his degree. My mother stayed home with us until we were both in school. She attended evening classes to become a teacher. She had a number of jobs; her jobs working for an insurance company and as a high school teacher I can still remember (I was in middle/high school myself at the time).
After I had been in college for a couple of years, my mother decided to go back to school. She had started a degree in economics in the mid-late 60s, and now she choose to go back to school and get a BA in Public Administration. She had to take remedial math classes, and I tutored her. It can't have been a terrible teacher, because she scored easy A's for all her math courses. She finished her degree in record time, with flying colors.
Through it all, she managed to make sure both her kids attended track-and-field, swimming, tennis, ballet, gymnastics, and music sessions (I'm probably forgetting some). She would often spend virtually all afternoon driving us from one place to the next. Not to mention a couple of huge birthday parties every year. And home-made chicken soup or mashed potatoes with vegetables when we were sick. I took her dedication for granted at the time, but it really hit home when my brother got ill.
My mother and brother left the country, so that he could get better treatment. For almost a year, my mother spent every waking minute of her existence making sure my brother's needs were met, physically and emotionally. Nothing was too much for her if it made his day better.
I am now a mother of 3 kids myself, and I cannot begin to imagine what parents go through when they lose a child. I was there when my parents went this, but I was too busy grieving for my brother to notice. The next year of my life is sort of a blur, but I have a vague sensation of huddling close to my parents and a sense of shared grief, and trying to hold on to the memories of his life. What I do know is that one never gets over such a loss, one simply learns to live with it. And eventually one finds ways to be happy again.
My mother is getting ready to retire from her job at a bank soon. She is very active in the community, fighting against gender-inequality, and creating opportunities for women to further themselves, to become stronger, more self-sufficient. This is how she helps many other mothers.
She also has a lot of fun. She is singing, dancing, exercising, and doing all the things she never could when she had demanding, snot-nosed, ungrateful little kids running around. I rarely get to tell her this, but I hope that when I'm her age, I get to live as full, happy, and active a life as she is now.
When we were little, my brother and I would let my mother sleep in on Mother's Day. We would then serve her breakfast in bed, and bring her the presents we had gotten with help from our father a few days earlier. I remember vividly the scrambled eggs, the toast, the coffee. And I would take my guitar and play in my parent's bedroom what I'd learned the previous week. Now we live far apart, and I can no longer serve her breakfast or bring her presents on Mother's Day. But I can write this, and give her a call later. So ma:
Happy Mother's Day. Here's a rose for you: