My first mothers day started out with a bang. Liam woke up at the crack of dawn to test his lung capacity just for fun, and about an hour later, I'm changing a massive poopy diaper. Woohoo! Happy Mother's Day! Truth is, that I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. While the excitement to celebrate this new chapter in my life was brewing in the days leading up to May 12th, I also was holding onto many bittersweet memories. My Ammu (Mom in Bengali) passed away about three years ago, and these memories were bittersweet because she was my closest, most incredible friend. I miss her dearly everyday.
My Ammu's Loving Gaze
I wish I could give her the one thing she wanted for Mother's Day every year; a hand made card. In a time of commercialization, all she wanted was a card that expressed how I felt about our relationship. I found all these cards cleaning out her belongings and uncontrollable tears ran down my cheeks. She kept EVERYTHING that I had ever drawn for her since I was able to put crayon to paper. The multiple sheets of stick figures that said, "I love you," the little pieces of construction paper glued together into hearts, the handprints morphed into more hearts; they were all there in large plastic boxes accessible to her whenever she wanted to reminisce. I remember asking Ammu why she kept all these bits of paper that she clearly could have thrown away. She said (in Bengali), "I knew there would be a time where I wouldn't receive as many of these from you." As a Mom albeit a new Mom, I now understand why she kept all the things she did. They were her little treasures expressing the purest form of love from her child. I can't wait to get my first scribble from Liam.
I always appreciated my Mom's courage and sacrifice to give her children a life of opportunity. It may not have been until I was pregnant that I could comprehend all that she had done for us. She immigrated from Bangladesh with two children and eight dollars to her name after her father and husband passed away. She sold all her belongings to make sure she did everything she could humanly do for her children. Today, we all have higher education degrees, and are thriving in our own journeys. I will never forget graduating from Duke in 2012 and having her be so proud of that moment. I will cherish that moment in my mind forever.
Duke University Graduation - Mother's Day 2012
I have so many more detailed questions for her about how she raised six children and how she raised me now that I have Liam. There are so many things I want her to see that she had been wanting to experience for so long. But all I can do is relish in memories and be grateful for these precious moments. If she were alive, my card this year to her would probably say something like:
Dear Ammu, Happy Mothers Day! Thank you for all you have done my entire life to help me be the person I am today. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be your daughter. Your love and support have taken me through some challenging times, and have also inspired me to continue to build a business with purpose. There were times when you worried about me, and I didn't understand why. I remember you saying I wouldn't understand until I became a Mom, and now I totally understand what you mean. Liam loves you so much, and we can't wait to see you soon again. I will bring the Comet too (inside joke).
I'm so grateful for you, and words just don't do justice to express how I feel. We love you so so much. Love, Sophia - your Ammu And my message to Liam this year: My Sweet Liam Bear - I feel so blessed to be your Mom. I had no idea that having you in my life would change my perspective and priorities in such transformative ways. You have already taught me so much about living life - to appreciate the simplicity of things, to stay in the moment, to smile... the list goes on and on. I have been more patient than ever before. I'll tell you that! I love seeing you grow up, and at the same time, I can't believe you are growing so fast before my eyes! You light up my life sweet boy. Keep being you, and everything will always be okay. All my love, Your Ammu
Celebrating Life At The US Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC
Everyone has their own coping mechanisms when dealing with grief. What helps me out is talking about my Mom and to my Mom whenever I feel the need. I cry if I need to, and I laugh when I do something that she used to do. I also talk to Liam about his Nani (Grandmother in Bengali). Although he will never meet her in person, I want him to appreciate all that she has done for this family. I also look at pictures and written cards when I need a little moral support. And just about every day, I like to remind myself about how lucky I am to have experienced everything I have in this world; and I do believe that it happens for a reason. If you are working through an experience similar to mine, I recommend talking to the person at anytime, drawing or writing about the person, doing yoga, or something active that you both enjoyed. There is SO MUCH you can do to live in the present moment while honoring a loved one. Mother's Day may only come once a year, but I believe everyday is Mothers Day, and Fathers Day, and Family Day etc. Honor the ones you love regardless of the day. Life is so precious.
The Hock Family in Washington, DC