Tomorrow is Mother’s Day in Poland and for the past few days I’ve been thinking about the right present. What would she really want? She’d probably be the happiest if I settled down, got married and had kids, but since that’s not going to happen anytime soon, I need to think of an alternative gift.
But Mother’s Day is not only about presents and flowers. It’s also about recognising and appreciating what they’ve given us. Who they are. It’s about being grateful for their unconditional, selfless love.
We’ve been through a lot. And although I’m not a massive fan of telling tearful stories of how tough my life has been (because it hasn’t, really, and each harsh moment has probably taught me more than all the good ones combined), her illness five years back was possibly the biggest challenge we had to face. She got admitted to hospital with what looked like a flu and turned out to be a bad case of meningitis. Three weeks of waiting for her to regain consciousness, with the doctors telling us to prepare for the worst, seemed like eternity. And then six months of watching her learn to move her legs, sit, and eventually walk again, appeared even longer. I am sure I was more excited, happy and proud when she took her first step than she was when I took mine!
Her illness was a wake-up call. It made me wonder whether I really appreciated what I had. Made me stop wasting my time getting engaged in petty arguments and getting frustrated about little things. I promised myself to take her on a trip if she got through it (she’d never flown before and only been abroad a few times). And I promised myself to try to be a better daughter.
But, let’s face it, I’m not an “easy” daughter to have and I’m aware of that. I’m not around much these days. I listen to her opinions and value them, but I always do my own thing anyway. I struggled for years to make her realise and accept the fact that I will not live my life the way it is expected of me. I explained time after time that she needs to lose her expectations and let me find and follow my own path.
I remember the first time I told her I wanted to go to India. Alone. She went hysterical, coming up with all sorts of excuses and eventually begging me not to go, at least not on my own. When a friend of mine decided to join me, she calmed down a bit. The second time was much easier. Third time she didn’t say anything. Now she doesn’t really ask “if” I’m going back. She asks “when”.
I hope I kept my promise and I am a better daughter (I did keep the one about taking her for a trip), because she has definitely learnt to be a better mum. At some point, she let go of her expectations and understood that my life is about my happiness, and that this happiness is more important than her need to have me close by.
Thanks for always being there for me. Right, time for a drink, I’m getting too bloody emotional! Cheers to all mums!