There’s so many jokes, stories, etc. out there about Mother’s Day. You’ve seen them. “Supermom” comics, and “mom is wow upside down,” and stories about how “mom is always there,” and “my mom is the best!!,” and “my mom is (something awesome)” and all that. They are all over the internet – especially today, a day specifically designated to celebrate their awesomeness.
It’s cool to see, because they’re all true. So true.
My mom has been at home, looking after me (& my brothers, of course) pretty much since our births. She’s always been there for us – even if we don’t always recognize it. Which, trust me, it took me a LONG time to figure this out. Like, 20 years. I mean, physically she was there – that much was pretty obvious. Yet it was only as I neared the end of my undergraduate career that I realized that I had been blessed with someone that I could talk to about just about anything (and at almost any time, since her sleep schedule is pretty much like mine). I think that is when our relationship really took off – it went from her talking and me being a stupid, bratty child who just wanted to play Nintendo to us having an actual conversation. Many conversations, in fact. About the most random things. I’m not the most serious person when it comes to conversations, but I’ve definitely had some of the most serious/important conversations I’ve had with her. Which, I’ve come to see, can be a rare thing. So I’m really grateful for that – especially as I sit here right now.
I haven’t been a perfect son or anything like that, but I’ve tried my hardest. Even through the disagreements, things always end up working out. And generally, she was the one that was right (of course). And, lest I forget, my life has (obviously) been hugely impacted by her in so many ways. I’ve never been good with emotions, which made it really hard to talk when Dada, and Masa, and Ba passed away, but I’ve tried. Sometimes, I wonder if that’s enough. But I couldn’t empathize with your emotions, at least not to that level, so I figured it was best I remain relatively quiet. … I’ve always asked for a lot of things and as of late, she’s even let me indulge a bit – a camera, most recently … things I will be forever grateful for. And for the biggest impacts she’s had on my life…
(1) Bollywood. This is the most obvious one. She used to sit at home and watch movies when we were all at school growing up – eventually, we started watching them with her. I don’t know when this started, but it was when I was very young. It’s been going strong ever since. Even as the quality of Bollywood movies drops off a huge cliff, we’re able to find movies we enjoy – if not something new, then something old school. The best part has been that my taste in movies has also developed to be very similar to hers – I tend to enjoy movies that my mom also likes, so we’re able to watch them together (or if not that, she’s at least able to tell me which movies to watch and which to avoid like the plague). Whether they be suspense/thriller or mindless comedy or rom-com or anything Aamir Khan, our movie tastes match up really well (even in old school movies, for the most part, and an enjoyment in just turning on a DVD of songs from the 70s and talking about them). Which makes it easy to find a movie to watch, even if we’ve seen it multiple times before. It matches up so well that not only did I watch Kya Kool Hain Hum (probably the most “adult-humor” Bollywood movie I’ve ever seen) with my mom, she watched it first and actually told me to watch it. That’s my mom for you. Most people wouldn’t watch it with their parents – meanwhile, my mom was telling me to watch it. Awesome! … I’ve probably taken this interest a bit beyond what she probably would have expected (especially given how many movies I’ve watched during school), but if nothing else, it gives us something to do when bored. So many movies to catch up on this break!
(2) Somewhat similar is my interest in books. I’m not saying we have the same interest in books (I actually don’t know what the last novel she read would be), but she definitely influenced my interest. She always took us to the library, always made us read – she didn’t really care what, as long as we read. Thankfully that has carried over and given me an escape from life that I can peruse at almost any time in almost any setting.
(3) Growing up, I remember how she used to cheer for the Jazz whenever they had a game, and John Elway pretty much every Sunday. Those 2 Super Bowls he won at the end of this career… yeah. We definitely watched those in their entirety. It was my mom that introduced me to sports and fandom. I’ve probably taken it a lot farther than she thought I would, but it has had a huge impact on my life – both in a positive and a negative (of sorts) sense. Now we sit and argue (in jest, of course) about it – she cheers for Peyton Manning & Eli Manning to win, and I cheer for them to lose. It’s fun. She’s found great joy in cheering for teams that we aren’t fans of, so the “trash talk” (if you will – I wouldn’t actually trash talk in front of my mom) is always around. Makes for fun Sundays. Of course, it was this interest that led to me writing for a sports blog (or 2) and getting a job writing about basketball, and even going to Spokane to watch games live and write about them. So thank you, ma, for that.
Of course, a reward/thank you for that came another way too. I happened to be on an airplane flying back from Spokane (and therefore unreachable by phone), and as a result my mom was the first person to know I’d been accepted to med school. Even before I did. As someone who had believed in me from the start and had been pushing me to keep trying, I don’t know how that could’ve ended better. She was definitely more excited than I was about it – it wasn’t even close. I always dreamt of learning about this and telling her first, but I think the way it worked out turned out even better – my mom told me I’d been accepted to med school.
(4) My mom is an AMAZING cook. She loves cooking, and she can make just about anything. Which has spoiled me greatly when it comes to food. Indian food, pasta, Tex-Mex, anything. If she sees something she likes, she’ll experiment – and it somehow ends up amazing. … This is one skill I don’t think I’ll ever be able to learn from her. I don’t know why – lack of ability, lack of interest, lack of patience – maybe all 3. I would much rather just sit & eat the food. Even the foods I don’t really like, if she makes it I’ll eat it. I’ll complain too, but that’s just because that’s how our relationship is. She knows I’m kidding. Thank heavens our relationship is so good – if I couldn’t use a sarcastic tone around her, my life would be so much more miserable. Luckily she knows this and is able to go along with it. There was the high school graduation party where she MADE food for so many people (I can’t even count) – and she did that because she wanted to. … I can only hope that I can find that thing that gives me as much happiness/relief as she gets from cooking.
(5) I’ve mentioned this already, but she was one of the biggest forces in my eventually getting into med school. It wasn’t fun at the time (MCAT, interviews, essays, ugh), but whenever I wanted to give up, she was there to coerce me into doing just a little bit more (generally with the promise of a movie we’d both enjoy, or good food, as a “reward”). Now that I think about it, the same was true for undergrad too – though at that time I unfortunately ignored her and didn’t apply to nearly enough places. Even since med school has started, she’s been my biggest fan/supporter – no matter what happens, I know I can talk to her and feel better about myself afterwards. When I was unsure if I could handle moving to a new country and going to school again, she had faith in me. Before that, when I wanted to move to the dorms in undergrad, she had the faith in me to let me go. When I wanted to go to Portland with a group of strangers for an “Alternative Spring Break,” she was all for it. Spokane? She was completely supportive of that too. When I wanted to go to India after I graduated undergrad, not only did she say ‘okay,’ but she came along as well!
She’s more excited for me to grow up than I am. She’s been looking forward to me getting into med school, and since that happened, she’s been looking forward to me getting back and starting rotations/residency and beyond. While part of me still desires to just sit & sleep days away, she looks forward to the day where I’ll be done with school and out in the “real” world (the one that doesn’t involve class day-after-day). She’s able to look ahead into the future to the day that I’m unable/unwilling to see. At times I’m really naive & stupid – luckily, my mom is there to talk some sense into me. Even as I sit here, thousands of miles (and a couple of time zones) away, I can’t help but remember things she’s said and advice she’s given. And it’s pretty obvious (to me, at least), that even with this distance (and the fact we only talk like once every week or 2 weeks or something), the relationship continues to strengthen. There’s something about distance and strengthening relationships – it definitely rings true in my case.
My mom has been one of my best friends for a very long time, but especially since I started college. (It should’ve been longer, but I was too stupid to realize that I had a friend in the house when I was that young.) Our relationship might not be “perfect” to the true definition of the word, but that’s alright – because it’s pretty damn awesome just as it is. And it’s getting better daily. Through all the movies, sporting events, meals eating out, trips to the mall and random-as-everything/super-funny conversations, one thing is certain. And the more time I spend away, the more I realize this – I have been blessed (BLESSED!) to have you for a mother. Thank you for everything. (I wish I was home to wish you this in person, but alas, that hasn’t been possible the last 2 years.)
Happy Mother’s Day.