Skating. Swimming. Cycling. And any time she would apply gram flour to my face.
I would raise hell!
Screaming, yelling. A 5-10 year old fearing for my life. Scared I would get hurt. Wondering why in the world is she putting me through this?
That and performing in front of a crowd.
She in her pride would want to show off her talented daughter’s dancing prowess. And her hesitant daughter would cry and cry because … (honestly, even I don’t know why I cried. I was a stage performer from the age 4 for goodness sake!)
Just a kid not understanding why in the world would we need any of those life skills?! To a kid it felt like I was against a huge mountain, unrelenting. In my heart, I always knew she would not deter till I walked her path.
As Time Passed
In my 20s, my arguments with my mom became about things that just didn’t’ factor my then thought process. Superstitions. What I wear. What I weigh. My ambition. Learning to cook or do house hold chores. How I should be with people she cared about.
All the things that left me feeling unappreciated, misunderstood. We would argue vehemently, maybe shed a tear or two and then again get back to talking about everything under the sun.
You see, my mom has never been just my mom. She is my best friend. She is the person who knows what is happening the minute after it happens. She and I have always shared a relationship of equals where she valued my opinion on a whole and it was amazing that she eventually always did trust my judgement. Many a times, she would argue about a point and then come over time come to see my way. Or show me the light to what she was talking about. It took a lot of convincing and heart ache, but we would always reach a mutual understanding.
I don’t know if it’s the Indian-ness in her or it’s a universal thing, but the many of the things she cared about were more society based or future based than what she herself ever really cared about.
It is through those interactions with her that I realized that what people argue or get upset about are often just distractions from what’s really worrying them. In my case it was her worries about a good prospective husband and my future.
The root cause of most miscommunication is varied base desires.
After I Became A Mom
Every single time my child argues with me, I think back to all those times. The insistent crying, the yelling. The muttering of horrid things under my breath and then half an hour later regretting everything. An hour later promising myself I wouldn’t do it ever again to only do it all over again the next time. My brain a fog of my stubbornness.
We all have done it in a given phase of our lives. That’s what allows our mothers to proudly, and happily defend their grandchildren when we complain about them. “You were no different!”, they repeatedly chant.
When my child fights with me, in the heat of the moment, I get this huge lump in my throat of how and why in the world did I do this to another human being. “It’s all my roosters coming home to roost”, I regret. And when the moment passes, this one simple thought warms my heart, “In spite of it all, I was loved, my mom never once gave up and that is why I turned out okay.”
She continues to go through hell with me to empower me with the foundation that gave me the sense to make good choices, be respectful and today be the best mother and wife I can be.
While we still don’t see eye to eye on many topics, specially not on how I arrange my kitchen cupboards, I still know she always has my back!
A day each year where we can honor and celebrate our mothers and other motherly influences for the strong and wonderful people that they are. Today, though I want to take a moment and say thank you for all those fights.
As a mom, I now know how hard it is to keep going when your child is being difficult. Raising children takes tenacity, ferocious will and fighting every day when you desire to just let go and sleep. It gets heart wrenching. Tears threaten to burn your eyes while you are feeling helpless in teaching them essential life skills. The guilt is tremendous, and yet, we know, if we give up on an important thing that needs to be taught, our child will eventually suffer.
Yielding to a child’s will is easy. Standing tall as an example 24/7 for love, for values, to show your child the right way That is what makes a mother amazing!
And mine is certainly extraordinary.
I certainly hope tomorrow when my children think of me, they know too that every purposeful battle I fought with them was for them.
Which is why I wrote my book Strong Roots Have No Fear —