It is the natural progression. My amma could do no wrong when I was a kid. Then I became a teen, and my mother could do no right. “Love Your Mother” grew from that cyclical pattern I see with my own daughter and the appreciation I now have of my amma’s incredible journey.
My mother and I disagreed on many things, from simply wanting pizza instead of pappu for dinner, to deeper issues like arranged marriage and a woman’s role in the family. From my point of view, her perspectives were antiquated, stuck in 1960s India. From her point of view, I wasn’t thinking through my choices and acting impetuously. Her disapproval of my choices hurt.
However, I developed a deeper appreciation of my amma after the birth of my own daughter.
What I couldn’t understand at the time was that while our opinions differed, I had choices. It was my amma’s never-ending support and love that allowed me to have those choices. Without her sacrifices that I rebelled against and belittled, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to develop my own views.
As my daughter and I enter the phase where we have trouble understanding each other, I remind myself that we want our children to build on the base we provided them so they can become their own people. They must sift through the values we’ve lived together to choose the important ones to carry forward.
I am grateful that I still have the opportunity to tell my first-generation Indian American amma how proud I am of her bravery at leaving everything she loved, with a man she barely knew, to come to a foreign country when fewer Indian families lived here. Now, I have a better understanding of the dreams she sacrificed and the experiences that defined her outlook. I hope my daughter will come to the same realization about her second-generation mother. Fingers crossed.
[Read Related: The Aftermath of Losing my Mother-A Daughter’s Story]
Love Your Mother
You come from a long line of strong women who
Faced what they faced with what they’d been given.
Wanting to go their own way,
Their experiences defined
As products of their histories.
When their daughters were born,
Feeling a love that cannot be fathomed
Many sleepless nights filled with worry.
Fears never meant to be spoken,
Making each other cry
Wishing to take the hurt back.
Struggling under the weight of expectation,
Regret of choices they never had
Thinking will I ever be free?
Will I ever be good enough for you?
Since the day you were born,
Frightened of the doors you opened
Of the world you faced.
Held the reins too tightly,
Wanting to protect you
In a race against time to teach you all I know.
The pupil became the master,
Staying strong on your beliefs, clashing with mine
Still afraid of anything that could hurt you.
Know you’ve been everything to me,
Let our memories be your muse
This life is yours to choose.