On February 14, the world celebrates Valentine’s Day. I am not debating whether this day should be celebrated at all or how this day has become very commercial due to push by marketers or anything else. I do believe the spirit of this day is to celebrate love in all its forms - plain and simple. Even though this day is heavily promoted by marketers as a day to celebrate romantic love, we all have to remember it is not just that we celebrate. It is also to honor and express love to other people we care for. And those could be our children, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbors, and others. And no doubt like many other religious and cultural celebrations it has become heavily commercialized, but we all have to recognize the spirit of this day. Talking about love, our mothers come to mind instantly. Most mothers all over the world love their children – unconditionally.
My mother is no exception. Over the years, I knew that she loved me a lot, however in 2020-2021 I got an opportunity to stay with her for 14 months and fully realized what unconditional love is all about. Although it was a bummer that I had to extend my planned three-month India visit for so long due to the pandemic, I cannot help but think that it was blessing in disguise. After being away from her for 30+ years, I feel grateful I got the chance to spend so much time with her. I had gone through several life altering events over the past few years and was recovering from a surgery on my right shoulder, my mom was there to support me throughout 100% - unconditionally. As my good hand was in a sling for seven weeks, she had to feed me, she gave me sponge baths, she combed my hair etc. - I had to rely on her for help with everything. I feltlike I was in kindergarten again. And not only she helped me recover from the surgery, but she also gave me tremendous emotional support which offered me hope and strength. I joked with her that she was my quasi nurse-cook-personal aide- psychologist all in one. And her task became more difficult as there was no help available due to the lockdown, she had to do everything herself: cooking, washing dishes, laundry, dusting, cleaning etc., besides taking care of me. I felt bad for her. And felt especially sad as due to my health I was not able to help her out more. I constantly thought it should have been my turn to help mom, but now in her old age, she had to help me. But she took it all in stride.
She is a powerhouse of strength. She helped me take care of myself in whatever ways she could. When the only air-conditioning unit in the apartment stopped working and we could not call the repair person due to the lockdown, she clicked all the buttons on the air conditioner many times, and miraculously the air-conditioner started working. And as I recovered from my surgery, I needed loose-fitting shirts. I constantly wore the one shirt I had that was not tight. Since I could not order a new shirt online due to the lockdown, she stitched me two shirts made from her old nightgowns. When my device to connect to the Internet did not work, I had tried for an hour for it to work unsuccessfully, then she took charge. Like with the air conditioner she clicked the buttons on the device repeatedly and somehow got it to work - Besides these three instances, all her hacks worked!
I witnessed her unconditional love for me. I am truly lucky and blessed. If I can express even half of that to my loved ones, I will consider myself incredibly lucky.