When I was growing up, my mother was always right. The way she did my hair, the way she made my eggs, the way she held my hand so tight whenever we crossed a road, the way she talked; it all made sense. It was who she was. I felt complete with her. And then came my teens, which begun with some pretty huge rows with my mum, and continued in this vein until I’d gone away to university.
A tiny sense of discord remained between my mother and me. It was always the little things: How I did my hair, how I was unkempt, how I spent hours in my room, how I never wanted to enter the kitchen. I was all about politics, books, drama, challenges. She was a home-maker, all about cooking, community and social graces.
It was like we had nothing in common. Or so I thought.
I’m twenty nine now. I’ve grown up, been to university, gotten married and I’m living in a different city, and yet what I want most is to be home with mum. To relive those years that I spent at loggerheads with her.
This is a story a lot of us share, a story that is part of our history, part of who we are. We all wish we can do things differently. One wonders: Does it have to be like this? Does life have to be so full-circle that the entire sequence of what happened with us should happen to our daughters?
Mother-daughter relationships are very special, but it takes us years to realize this, and to learn the value of this relationship. As young girls, we tend to focus more on what we can get out of life than what we can give to our relationships with our mothers. When I think of all those amazing dishes she used to make, most of which were her very own recipes, I know I’ve lost out because I never did learn them from her. When I think of all the advice she could have given me on raising my own kids but didn’t because I didn’t have the time to listen, I want to go back in time, to hear.
They are there, we see them, but we do not appreciate the cost to them, or benefit to us, of them being there.
My mother, an indomitable woman whose kids were always her first priority, took her time to teach us the value of this relationship. She let go, until I came back to her, knowing what I do now, having experienced the world she tried so hard to protect me from.
Today I sit on the kitchen counter, writing this article as my mother potters around, making one of my favorite dishes. I get up to embrace her. I’m going to be spending my life as it comes, watching out for my mother, holding her hand when we cross the road, learning the art of amazing cooking and watching her with her grandkids. Because she is the woman I want to emulate.
She is the woman I want to be.
by Rehana Mithwani
It doesn’t have to stay a wish. We can still work on building our relationships with our mums, relationships that we will form with our daughters, as time goes by.