To a mother who took me on long walks during rainy Sunday afternoons. We would go by the river and skip stones, we would sit on park benches, me in my yellow raincoat, you probably in tweed, with beautiful shawls covering your shoulders and colourful Italian jewellery. Everything felt so right back then. We would walk the fields, where you knew everyone. We would walk past that house up the hill where that old woman named Aisha lived, we would walk all the way past that river to go see Joe the Dog. I’m not too sure whose Dog he was, but I liked playing with him.
To a mother who took me on long walks during sunny days in May. We would go in forests, and I’d pick wild flowers. Every now and then you would panic when you would think I was holding something poisonous, and would tell me to throw the plant away in your nervous tone that I know so well. We would then go sit on our house’s balcony. You made me juices out of fresh nettle, that I hated so much! You made me spinach that I refused to eat. You’d tell me stories about how Masha, the girl from that book that I liked so much, lived on that hill that we could see in the distance from our house, and how she ate enough spinach to grow big and strong, and so I ate.
Later in the evening, as the world went quiet you would sing me russian lullabies, that I somehow understood. To this day, images I pictured in my head as a child during those lullabies are so vivid and clear, as if that world exists somewhere.
To a mother who spoiled me enough to never make me feel like I had less, and never make me feel like I had more than other people. To a mother who made me pick up litter when I would throw it on the street, who would refuse to let me drink juice made of concentrate, who let me bring in and take care of kittens that I would find in garbage bins, who would carry me on her back during long hiking trips, who brought me to theatre plays, who taught me how to read and write at such a young age, who bought me books in which I would spend hours drawing lined up girls without noses, who gave birth to my little sister after I had asked to have a sister.
To a mother who always made sure Santa Claus came, even during the hardest times, such as a civil war. There was that one year in 1992, you asked me if I was excited to see what Santa Claus had brought me in the morning, but concerned I replied that Santa Claus wouldn’t be coming because we did not have a tree, and we were away from home, to which you took out sheets of paper that you taped together and started drawing a big beautiful green christmas tree that we decorated with crayons. In the morning, Santa Claus came. I will never forget that.
To a mother who made decisions based on what’s best for her children, to a mother who sacrificed her own freedom for mine, to a mother who tolerated and reciprocated my teenage fits of anger, to a mother who sometimes was child enough to talk back, to a mother who always told me she loved me and has called me cheesy names such as “snowflake” my entire life, despite my disdain. to a mother who ever since I can remember saw potential in me, when I to this day do not clearly see it. To a mother who was brave enough to let me go and whose love I never, even once doubted,
thank you for being so courageous, thank you for being so kind to me and to everyone around you, thank you for all your life lessons and most of all thank you for understanding my choices and letting me live this life as I please, even if that, for now, means distance and seldom calls. There is not one moment you are not in my thoughts, there is not one sleepless night I spend without wishing you were near. Happy Mother’s Day, mom.