All my life, my mother saved all her sweets and savouries for me. When I was pregnant and she came to help me, I made an astonishing discovery.
As my sister and I wished mom on our WhatsApp group on Mother’s day, and showered her with fond lines, dad faked offense. “You girls never wish me with such gusto. This is so unfair on us fathers!”
I replied cheekily that he himself favored his mother – whom he was extremely fond of – over his father, my grandpa, and hence could not say that this behavior was anything new. Later that day, as I took a bite of a delicious pastry that my husband brought to celebrate Mother’s day, I wondered: Indeed, why are mothers so special?
The Nostalgic 90s
We were a simple, middle class family spending our childhood in India in the 80s and 90s. There was no concept of snacks in our house, other than the occasional festival related eateries, which typically lasted for like two days before the whole family gobbled them up. Going to restaurants was some kind of a once-in-a-year event.
Even when we traveled from Delhi to Madras by train – which was a two nights, three days’ trip – we would pack EVERYTHING from home for the journey. Whether the food smelled funny or tasted rubbery, we ate it without question. Sweets, candies, ice-cream and such were things that I used to dream about.
My Mother and Her Selfless Love
I admit I have lusted for Glucon-D like it was divine nectar. I just have a knock-down-crazy sweet tooth. Why, even yesterday my three-year-old son and I had a minor tiff over who will get the last ice-cream bar – we eventually decided to split it up.
My mother on the other hand, without fail, every single time would give away her share of things to us. Absolutely anything that we liked, without hesitation she would save it for us. My mother used to work as a school teacher and every evening I would raid her handbag to check if she had saved any candies from birthdays and special events at work. She would always hide a couple of Poppins or Eclairs for us. Whether it was a small piece of cake or a samosa, like a mamma bird, she would save every little treat and bring it back to us.
I, in my naivety, even used to think that mothers just didn’t like snacks and sweet stuff. Maybe it was something that only kids like and that I too would one day, as a grown up, stop liking them. This got to the point where, if I had a box of sweets at home, I would unashamed eat it and not worry about saving even a single piece of it for mom.
An Astonishing Discovery
It never occurred to me that this beautiful lady was human too. It was much later, when my mother came to spend time with me during my pregnancy, did I realize that my mom herself absolutely LOVES sweets. How she managed to not exhibit that fact for all these years, I do not understand. I didn’t necessarily think it will be my approach with my children. But it makes me wonder about the many other sacrifices, big and small, she must have made all through her life just to bring an extra smile on our faces. Just to make our days a tad bit extra sweet. I may never know them all.
These lines, written by the young Canadian poet Rupi Kaur in her book The Sun and Her Flowers beautifully capture my sentiment,
there isn’t enough time
to give her what she deserves
do you think
if I begged the sky hard
my mother’s soul would
return to me as my daughter
so I can give her
the comfort she gave me
my whole life
Image credit: Flickr