My mother’s past was a rollercoaster of epic proportions. She was born and raised in India, married at 23, and moved to America to follow that good old American Dream. She was shy, sheltered, unsure of herself and afraid in a world that shared nothing with the life she had lead. But she had to grow a pair for her two children. That young and naive woman who had left Indian all those years ago, died. From the ashes of broken dreams and heartache, rose a new figure. Headstrong, determined, and running from a past that haunted her, my mother turned her life around. She put my brother and me through private schooling, and bought and paid for her own home.
As a child she was a rebel
My mother’s past was a difficult one. In a time where women in pants was unheard of, she often ditched her school skirts for slacks. She explained a few times that she would forget to change out of them. At home she would end up black and blue from beatings by her mother.
In a way I followed in her footsteps. For years I would only wear pants and often complained until I had short hair. I wore greens and blues instead of the pinks and yellows my classmates wore. Of course, my childhood was the beginning of more acceptance in fashion for women. But I never felt quite comfortable with what had described as female. Classmates thought I preferred the fairer sex when it came to relationships. I laugh when I think about it now because it couldn’t be further from the truth. I wanted to be free of gender norms, which wasn’t so popular back in the early 90s.
She had the dream of a happy household
My brother and mother are very close but she and I have our differences. I’m more like my father, in that sense, which is why we clash. I don’t hold it against her, I was never the open book type and this behavior goes back to when I was a young child. While my mother wanted children, even when she was young, I never had the same want.
It could be many issues from my childhood. But I saw my mother suffering the most when my dad had temporary custody of us. There’s something about the relationship a mother and child have. It’s so strong that that could be earth shattering if something severed it. She could have never purged us from her life and she sacrificed so much of her own happiness to make us happy.
She was selfless and giving
My mother only looks out for clients and their best interests. But if she needs to burn a bridge or two, she’s going to be the one holding the touch.
I’ve learned from her, that it’s OK to burn bridges but the reasons need to be justified. I need to be looking out for myself and my loved ones, so it’s OK to be selfish. People will come and go but those that remain are worth saving for a lifetime of friendship.
She left her home in the name of love
If you’ve been with me a while, you know I left America to live in the Netherlands with Sander. We met online and fell in love, but we did it. There was no rushing into anything. My mother followed her new husband to live in a country she had never even given a second thought about. When my father passed away in 2014, she was devastated.
My mother’s past influenced her blind boldness has taught me two things. Always be prepared to steel your heart, and never be afraid to follow it. I left everything behind in the name of love. Which I haven’t regretted. But in case something does, I know I should be prepared, mentally and physically.
I will never lead the life that she has. And I will never face the troubles or the despair that she faced. But I have learned from her past to better my future. She was able to teach me life lessons without ever giving me the moral of the story. Sometimes that’s what mothers are there for. The unspoken tales have the potential to be the loudest of lessons.
This was my first year without being close to her to celebrate Mother’s day. She was sick with the flu as well. Our phone call was very brief and full of “Feel better soon, get some good rest, etc.” She knows that I’m not liberal with words and emotions. So it’s often difficult for me to let her know how much she means to me. The sentences never come out right and things usually end up in an argument or disagreement. Living so far away has its perks and disadvantages. My feelings of thankfulness for my mother and her determination will never fade. She’s made me more humble than I’ve ever been.