An Ode To My Mom On This Mother's Day

My fondest and most vivid memories of childhood involve my sweet mother. She is gently braiding my hair before school. She is waiting lovingly at the front door to greet me on my return home. She is generously heaping homemade food in a bowl for my afternoon meal—even though I’d just eaten the lunch she packed and sent with me for my midday recess. She is listening to me recite notes before the next day’s exam. She is peeling an orange for me to keep me hydrated and flush with nutrients. She is planting a kiss on my cheek as she tucks me into bed.
My mother has always been my best friend. Good day or bad, she is the first to know. And she need not ask, because she can extract exactly how I feel from my voice. Sadly, I cannot be with her on the occasion of Mother’s Day, which we celebrate today in this part of the world to coincide with the advent of spring. She is nearly 7,500 miles away and nine time zones removed, but that doesn’t prevent us from talking several times each day. In fact, the first thing I do when I wake up every morning is text my mother. And she, too, ushers in her day lying in bed with a phone call to me. This is our ritual. And thanks to today’s convenient technology, we share photos instantly; text and talk anytime, anywhere; and laugh about the day’s trials and feats.
Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be the same girl I am today had it not been for the tender, disciplined and passionate woman I’m blessed to call my mother. She vehemently pushed for my love of academics, always believing I could outdo myself even when I was sure I couldn’t. It was she who encouraged me to pursue my master’s at my choice institution, even if it meant we’d be separated by vast distances straddling West Coast and East. It was she who’d send me care packages to Boston and then Paris, filled with gifts she’d bought me on her shopping escapades. In fact, to this day, when she goes shopping, it is perpetually for me—she loves to dress and deck me in the latest fashions. And she is always spot-on with the shape, size and contour of her finds. Who can imagine!
Readers of this blog know that my decision to move to Lebanon largely stemmed from my mother instilling a love of the motherland in us. She sat with us during every holiday break, teaching us how to read and write Modern Standard Arabic. She enforced an Arabic-only policy at home. She persevered every Sunday to take us to the Lebanese Maronite church, even if it were a 40-minute drive from home, because she wanted us to absorb the traditions of our culture and the Catholic faith. It was she who diligently packed and unpacked a horde of suitcases summer after summer on our three-month trips to Lebanon, ensuring we’d have everything we needed to make our stay pleasant.
If I am polite and reserved, it’s because my mother polished my manners. If I know how to scrub a bathtub, dust the furniture, wash and iron my clothes, or even make Turkish coffee, it’s my mother who ensured I’d be a successful homemaker. If I am conscious of what I eat and drink, it’s because of the nutritious home-cooking she spoiled us with. If I am attentive to my figure, it’s because I watched my mother scan herself daily in front of the mirror as she fitted herself with her slim clothes. And if I daub some powder on my face and pencil on eyeliner before I go out, it’s because she imparted to me the rules of being a presentable lady.
And thus, on this Mother’s Day and every day, I am grateful for the kindness and love my mother showers upon me in her every thought and care. I love you beyond words, Mom, and the one achievement I am most proud of is being my mother’s daughter!  


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