dearest mum: woman of strength, beauty and wisdom.
If you’ve ever met my mother, you know she is a real gem. She is full of life and has more energy and adventure in her system than I do! Take our trip to Israel in the spring of 2011. She was going non stop, wanting to see everything—again, since she’s been before. I was blown away by her capacity to keep going and going. After a day of sightseeing, climbing through the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem, tasting the historic air, she wanted to see the underground tunnels under the Wailing Wall at 11:00PM. I was wiped. So her and my brother (who also takes after her “go get ’em, lets do everything right now!” attitude) went with her.
Aside from being a joy to be around, she is a rock. She offers Godly wisdom on a daily basis, always turning to the Lord for help, and directing her children to Him. She is also a fountain of wisdom when it comes to food and health. She can cook like no one else, and serves her family by making gourmet meals every night. That in itself is gift, because she instilled the importance of healthy and creative cooking in me with her fabulous meals. “This is made with almond flour! These have no sugar in them!” She reads recipe books for fun, which is also something I’ve picked up from her.
But the thing I love most about my mother, is her capacity to love, and love well. She was there for two of the most physically intense moments of my life: my spinal surgery in 2000 and the birth of my baby girl this year. When I think of someone that can offer me the greatest support, I think of my mum.
My surgery was painful, with a long recovery and a bumpy transition back to the real world. I distinctly remember my first cleansing after the surgery. I was still bound with bandages, my curly hair was knotty beyond repair, my legs were like jello, my temperament was dark. I was upset, I was terrified, I was coming down from my drug induced state, and I was mean. I yelled at her, taking out my anger and sadness at what had occurred in the operating room, because she was my mum. Sometimes the ones we love and trust the most are the ones that receive the greatest backlash. The morphine was wearing off, and my mind was mush. But I do remember sitting in the shower, while my mum gathered my hair in her hands and worked her fingers through the knots, massaging conditioner into the dry and broken strands, flinching when I flinched. My tears mixed with the dried blood running down my back, and the warm water from the shower head. I felt broken beyond repair. At 16, my body and confidence was shattered and I knew it would be a long road to recovery. She spoke lovingly to me, soothing my heart and my mind. She loved me unconditionally, when I had nothing to give her but silence and tears. She washed my wounds. She applied fresh bandages and tucked me into bed. She walked with me around the neighborhood, while I clutched her arm for support and bit my lips to keep from crying in rage and frustration.
Not only was I terrified, but I’m sure she was too. I can’t imagine watching Florence being wheeled down the hall on an operating bed, praying that the surgery wouldn’t paralyze her, praying that everything would be fine, praying that my mother heart wouldn’t break right out of me and crash to the floor in sorrow.
Mother, you are my hero.
My mum came to visit me in India, a trip that would ignite a passion in her for the country. She has been back many times, and always comes home full of life and miracles. She is not afraid of anything. She loves people. She is kind. She is compassionate.
And finally, just 2 months ago in March, my mum came and offered me the greatest support a mother can give. She helped pass the time, while I waited for my child to come. We walked and talked and drank tea. She sewed Indian curtains for Florence’s room, she cooked and cleaned. And when the time was right, and my water broke and contractions started coming fast and strong, she was there.
She was the quiet presence in the room, while the doula took over and began coaching me through my contractions. Her and Jay radiated such peace and strength. I picked up on it and fell into my labor, accepting the contractions, allowing Florence to make her way into the world.
I always felt her hands. I heard her voice. I smelled her sweet perfume, gentle enough to remind me that mum was there, familiar and warm. She’s been through this. She birthed me. I can do this.
And when things began to really pick up, and I felt a part of me bowing to the pressure of labor, she was gently loving and supporting me, telling me with her hands and smiles, that my body could do this, that I was doing it, and that she was proud of me. That she was confident.
When Florence made her appearance into the world and all was said and done, she sat by Jay and wept as my sweet baby cried her first cry and flailed her fists and stretched her legs.
There is no one quite like your mama. Cherish her, crown her with love and respect, thank her for all that she’s done.
Mum, now that I’ve become a mother, and made you a grandmother, I recognize the sacrifices you have made for me and the family. Thank you for choosing to passionately love life and others. Thank you for walking through the valleys of pain with me. Thank you for journeying through the euphoric world of childbirth with me, trusting me to give birth naturally, encouraging me, casting out any fear in the birthing room.
You have a beautiful heart. You are radiant. You are life giving.
I love you mama.