I have been bugging/begging my son to write something for a while now. He has an amazing and fearless sense of humor. So last night, he texts me around midnight and says: "Amma, check your Facebook - looks like someone has hacked it and posting as you." I checked, groaning, and this is what I found! Love this kid beyond words can express, these words from his heart and the way he delivered, in his usual style!
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!
I'm not great at keeping in touch. My friends must know this, though we rarely discuss it. I'll catch up with close friends on occasion, and it feels perfectly normal--and wonderful--when we do. And I think it works for me because of how I form relationships. I believe in putting in great amounts of time and effort into the beginning of a relationship. Once I've decided to trust someone, I latch on quickly and I'm loyal for as long as that person can stand me. It's much easier to maintain a relationship when you've committed to building something that can endure time, distance, and most importantly, silence.
I put this philosophy into practice very early in my life. From the moment I was born, I put all my love into my mother. In fact, I don't know that I cared about anyone else in the world until I turned 5. I don't really remember much, but from stories and photographs it's perfectly clear: we were building something great. Now, I'm 1,000 miles away from her, but back then I would cling to her leg at the park, afraid to make friends with anyone else. I remember crawling on the floor behind her in department stores, pretending to be an alligator. I remember asking her, "will you marry me?", not knowing what marriage was, but knowing that marriage meant that you get to keep someone in your life forever.
Over the years, I accepted that other people would have to enter my life. My father, my sister, my family and friends--I had to make room for them all. And so I gave up precious time with my mother to form new relationships. Eventually, I no longer feared leaving her side to meet friends. I was excited to go to school and baseball practice and the swimming pool and the movies and even Washington, D.C. for camp. But all the while, my mother and I had our foundation. I was still the only person who could make my mother laugh when she was angry or upset. We still sang along to the Beatles on long drives. Any South Indian meal that was not hers was not enough (I still feel this way).
When we moved to Florida, our relationship struggled. I had such strong friendships in Indiana that I couldn't imagine leaving. Then, one of my best friends died, I left for college, and I had to start from scratch. Dealing with this change was difficult, and I was unhappy for a long time. During this time, my relationship with my mother functioned only because of what we had built years ago. Our conversations were strained because I associated my parents' decisions with my unhappiness. In reality, I was unhappy for many reasons, and with time, I was able to adapt to my new life.
As I started adjusting to my new life and developing, my relationship with my mother rebounded. We started having long, meaningful conversations again, and I longed for home when I wasn't there. We became very close again, and I told her things I couldn't have told her only a year earlier (Amma- the night we watched Sanjay Gupta J). The best part was how quickly we were able to resume our relationship. It didn't matter that we hadn't been incredibly close for a period of time--what we built was still there, as strong as ever. The work we put in 18, 19, 20 years prior was paying off.
I've since moved again. Even as my mother, my father, my sister are a thousand miles away, we remain close. When we're together, it's like nothing has changed. And it works like this with all my family and friends.
But with one person, it's different.
My mother and I do not speak every day, and sometimes the gap is much longer. But I do not worry.
Through all the time, through all the distance, through all the silence, the first bond I ever formed was with my mother. And for five years of work, we've earned fifty of a love that can only be shared between a mother and son.
Happy mother's day, Amma.
PS I couldn't remember the password to this account, so I tried to get into your Facebook...but I couldn't remember that one either. Long story short, I got into your email and had to reset both your Facebook and Wordpress passwords.