I spend so much of my time thinking about my identity as a mother. But in these days leading up to Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 9th, I am moved to think about my identity as a daughter.
While my mother died two years ago, her influence is very much with me. She was an immigrant from India. She never bought us trendy jeans, or rushed to sign us up for summer camps. We never had Mac & Cheese for supper but rather dined on hari kebab chicken with rice and its signature blend of turmeric, curry, ginger and garlic. I always felt different from other kids in my neighborhood.
While she navigated her way through a culture of child rearing that was so dissimilar from the one she was raised in, her internal compass and devotion to her family was clear, fierce and unwavering.
When my sister was first born, she didn’t let her “cry it out” as so many of the other adherents to Dr. Benjamin Spock did. When she attended dinner parties with her baby in tow, and her newborn began to cry, her peers and elders would place their hands firmly on her arm and said, “Don’t go to her, if you do, you will spoil her.” My mother in her act of subtle defiance always ignored the common advice and comforted her child.
The problem, she would confide in us later in life was this: “Some experts tell parents to ignore their kids when they are babies and then parents lavish them with too much attention when they are older. It should be the exact opposite. Give them the love, attention and closeness when they are young and with that they will feel secure when they are older.”
Intuition, strong values, and focus were her guides. And while she may have been different from other parents, she was the first soulful parent I knew.
As I am now in the throws of raising my own children, I appreciate my mother even more; what she modeled, what she prioritized and how I felt when I was with her.
While we all have different relationships with our own mothers, let’s think about one thing we appreciate about them as Mother’s Day nears. In particular, let’s articulate and share this appreciation, either directly with them or in the stories that we share about them with our kids.
Ayeka Reflective Questions:
What is one thing you appreciate about your own mother? Be specific.
What is a value you learned from her that you want to pass down to your children?
Take the next step and share your appreciation.
Wishing you a meaningful Mother’s Day ahead,