I thought I will skip writing this post but the thought was so nagging like most of those thoughts are and I ended up writing this. Ever since I have birthed a son, I have always wondered if he will ever understand me beyond my role as a mother. In a lot of ways, daughters empathize with their mothers due to a shared experience but I wonder if most sons do.
It’s such a strange experience for a son to open his eyes to the first woman he will ever love. And yet the bond is fraught with tension throughout life just like most love relationships are. It scares me sometimes that my son will grow up and have a grudge against me for not doing enough or for doing too much…for not being there when he wanted me the most or for not standing up for him when he came crying to my arms or sometimes for failing to shield him from the harsh world outside despite my best intentions.
Even as I think that I realize that no matter how much I do or don’t do, be or not be, there will be grudges. That is the relationship between a parent and a child. More so, between a son and a mother. I know my son will understand me someday but I worry that even when he is fifty, the five- year -old inside him would suddenly awaken and ask why did you leave me and go at that time? What was more important than me? And I worry that words will fall short that day.
The child opens his eyes to a mother. Not to the woman she was before becoming a mother. The dreams she nurtured, the hopes she harbored, the desires and ambitions she wanted to pursue. The son sees the mother as she is and the world brackets her into ill-fitting ideas of sacrifice, nurturing, nourishing, never demanding, always giving and ever-present. So much so that her humanness is taken away from her and a godliness appropriated to her and then if she demands, the world questions. Since when did God ask for anything?
To all the sons (and to daughters too) this Mother’s Day if you really wish to gift your mother anything, gift her your empathy. Sit down with her and ask her if there is the small spark of that fire left within her that you could help her light again.
And if she is not in your home, city, country or has chosen to leave this world then surrender to her. Fill the void that she has left behind with an understanding that just because she chose her life over yours or her death does not mean she loves you less.
Was she abusive to you when you were a child? Then understand the sickness in her with all the empathy that you can muster and give it to her. She is not the reason you are who you are. She was just a carrier of you. You are the reason you are who you are.
So for one day (at the very least) forget her ‘dabbas’ and her ‘haath ka khaana’ and everything that you associate with a ‘mother figure’ and let go. Look at your mother as the same five-year-old that is within you and maybe, just maybe you will understand a small part of the puzzle that she seemingly is.
As a mother, that’s all I would want from my son when he grows up. Understanding and empathy.
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