When was the last time you said Thank You to your mother? Can’t remember? Possible. Because for most, if not all of us, the thought never crossed our mind. Also perhaps, it was not necessary. After all do you say thank you for something that you have come to expect as a right on your part and a duty on someone else’s?
My own mother died 28 years ago, and I recall I delivered a tearful thank you during her eulogy, one I still remember. Yet I still can’t remember saying a thank you directly to her, while she was alive. In my time, it was just not done and I regret it to this day.
Some of us are lucky that our mothers are alive, for we still have that opportunity. The rest, it’s an opportunity that has passed us by. Unfortunate, because our mothers deserve all our thanks, said simply, with sincerity and with a hug that says a thousand words. There’s an opportunity to do it tomorrow – on International Mother’s Day – celebrated in most countries on the second Sunday in May, and its best that it be made use of, if we do not want to let it pass us by.
Mothers are the ones, we are born to, the one on whom we first lay our eyes, the one to whom we run, in times of pain, shame, hurt, and injury, but sadly, very rarely in times of happiness or joy – that we take elsewhere – we celebrate with friends and perhaps our own nuclear families.
They don’t complain though, because there is no one to take their hurt to – for by that time their mothers would have been long gone, also perhaps without a take home thank you. That’s the way the world works, and will continue to work. But we can break that cycle and its time we did.
Mothers, bear the brunt of their children from womb to tomb, with sagacity, determination and courage against many many odds, especially in a country like ours, where family, public support and facilities are limited, despite the theoretical worship of the “Mother” figure. Their work at home is demeaned, they have very little social standing as don’t have any official “title” and earn nothing for their 24 x7 work to create citizens that our Bharat Mata can be proud of.
Indeed as the lure of foreign lands increase among Indian youth, perhaps because of the inadequacies, inconsistencies and inequities of our own land, many of our mothers, as they age have no companionship, no support system and are, if they are lucky, confined to a geriatric facility, which is no comparison to the ones in the western countries from where the concept originated. We ape the west every which way, but this perhaps takes the cake.
Then there is the ubiquitous Mother in law, the mother everyone loves to hate, and the subject matter of many a serial, from “Everybody loves Raymond” to “Saas bhi kabhi Bahu thi”. She too is a mother, and like any mother, she is perhaps a little biased towards her own children, in comparison to those who “become” her children by marriage. That is nature. All mothers believe their children are the best, though often they belie their hopes and expectations. But as a mother, her love is always unconditional and evident.
“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers” said Rudyard Kipling, and both history and science tells us he was right. Once that truth was realized it called for a celebration, but it was not until the late 18th century that it began to be celebrated as a public event mainly due to the efforts of two American women Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis,
Subsequently, a Mother’s Day International Association was founded in 1912 to promote the holiday in other countries. Mother’s Day has grown increasingly popular since then and rightly so.
Now, we need not wait till tomorrow dawns to say thank you. Not with cards, not on WhatsApp or Facebook messages, but in person with a gentle hug. No flowers. It will mean a lot to her.
My mother’s favorite refrain was – don’t put off till tomorrow, what you can do today – for tomorrow never comes. As it dawns, it will become today. Like the tide, it waits for no man. If you don’t say it today, you may never ever, and you will forever live with regret, like me, and I certainly don’t wish that for any of you.