A Warrior's Perspective on Mother's Day
Last updated: May 2023
My mother and I have a complicated relationship. I am not sure there is a mother-daughter relationship in existence that is not complicated. Treading the delicate balance between parent and friend, protector and nurturer, stern but fair – my mother has given up everything, repeatedly, to take care of me. She left her family in Nigeria to come to America so that my brother and I could have the best education in the world. Also, because it was my father’s dream.
A mother's sacrifice
She got not one but 2 nursing jobs to support our family while my dad pursued his dream. She left the job she was good at and that paid her well so that my dad could get his dream job moving our family closer to him. She has moved, so many times, just to be by my side – and after my parent’s divorce that only became more of the case.
As a child, I did not appreciate it. She would never leave my side when I got sick or ended up in the hospital. I remember one time she just wanted to go home and shower but I begged her not to leave me. It wasn’t until I started volunteering at children’s hospitals did I finally begin to grasp what a privilege it was to have her there, while so many other kids are left all alone.
A mother's undying devotion
As I grew up, I began to think it was a bit too much; traveling an hour away to sit on my dorm room bed just to be with me at college because I was warm, coughing, or achy. Or moving states to watch over me through the hardest time of my life, and probably hers too, through getting my medical degree. But again, I could not appreciate the depth of her sacrifices. At times, it felt more like a burden rather than a gift.
A daughter's gratitude
Now, when I don’t hear from my mom after a few days I worry about her – she usually checks in every day. Or when I don’t see her after a few weeks, I miss her. My mother is my confidant. I go to her with every problem I have ever had. I listen to her, even when it’s hard, because experience has taught me mother often does know best. The more successful I become the more I feel I owe her. Maybe every immigrant child or sickle cell warrior feels this way for the people that cared for them when they could not care for themselves.
I used to worry, feel guilty even, that I wasn’t the person she hoped I would be. But that’s the thing, you don’t get to decide who your family is or your child becomes. All you can do is choose to love them the way that they are for who they are. And inevitably, when things get hard, you hope they’ll find their way back to you. So, I am grateful to my mom for always leading me back to her and welcoming me with open arms. There’s truly nothing like a mother’s love.
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