I Have Finally Understood You, Dear Mom

I have an intense, melancholy memory of my childhood days. Being the youngest child I was the apple of my mother’s eyes. Extremely pampered and loved by her, I was vehemently possessive of my mom to the extent of not letting my sister claim her share of love.Every day on return from a school I would rush into my mother’s arms, regale her with all the stories from school while she fed me lunch with her hands. I was a fussy eater and my mother would bribe me with lot of stories to make me eat.

It was sometime when I was in grade 4 that my mother joined a school as teacher. She would leave for school on the morning with us and return back 10 minutes later than our time of return. That meant that now we had to open the locked empty house. I recall my mom running back home huffing and panting wanting to somehow reach miraculously before us. Guilt of not being there to welcome us back was writ large on her face. The frown on my face and my disapproval of her job made the remorse even deeper for her. I would throw tantrums everyday as I missed her old self. She though extremely tired would rush to kitchen to serve us lunch. Sometimes lunch would not be ready on time. I would throw even more tantrums. Refuse to eat lunch, not talk with her, sulk and make her apologise a lot many times. This became a daily practise.

I would simply not understand while she tried every trick from gifts, outings and pampering to make me happy about her job. Nothing worked. I wanted my mother home always for me. One fine day my mother just left the job. I was overjoyed as it meant the old times were back. Many years later she told us how dejected she was about leaving the job. The family she served was much bothered about their own self-centred ways. After that my mom never worked. She remained a house wife despite being very educated. She had always a longing to teach. Very few people pursue teaching not as a career option but for the sheer love for the world of academia. Proud to say my mother was one of them.

All my childhood memories are of her reading our school textbooks, learning what she did not know, asking us questions, making notes for herself, solving math sums and asking us to give her homework. Her aim was to keep learning. I used to be very puzzled and she seemed little abnormal to me. Why would anyone who does not have to give exam, has no career and is sitting home bother to study? To me it was sheer waste of energy. Studying as a hobby was completely out of picture for me. Sadly, I never understood her passion.

As years rolled I saw my mother going back to teaching kids. It was not tuition. This time she gathered the kids of maids and taught them. Many of them were not interested so she would bribe them with treats and gifts to study. I was in college this time and whenever I entered house, I would shoo away those kids from nearby slums hovering around my mother while she was desperately trying to inculcate the love of learning in them. I would just like childhood be annoyed. By now i had understood the world of money. Now my constant arguments with her were that she could take tuitions and earn. Why should anyone teach for free? Rather than earning she was spending to teach them. Sadly, I still could not understand her longing.

Out of college, I made a career choice of becoming a teacher since I was getting a handsome pay. My mother was elated. It was like she was living her dream through me. She always wanted to be a teacher. Coming from a family of 7 sisters and a single earning father she had seen many ups and downs as a child. Her father made sure all the daughters are well educated and they all went to become successful career women. My mother had to leave a lucrative job owing to an early marriage and the conditions lay before her of not doing a job post marriage. Managing home responsibilities and 2 daughters all life, her yearning to have a career in teaching never saw the light of the day.

As I embraced my new role as a teacher I realised I was very happy whenever in class and teaching. I had inherited the passion to teach from my mother. Till date with more than 17 years of being engaged in teaching field, I still am overjoyed while in class amidst students.

As I look back at myself disproving my mother’s desperate attempts to fulfil her urge to teach, I feel so ashamed. My mother left for her heavenly abode long back. I wish I could just tell her-“Ma I do understand you now. Sorry for how unsupportive I was”.

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But as mothers are I am sure she has been fulfilling her dream through me all these years. Whenever someone tells me I am a great teacher, I tell them “Hold on- You have not seen my mother teaching”.

I continued my job even after my son was born. I never was home to receive him after school, to feed him hot food and to fuss around him. He never complained. I did so cause years later I do not want to him to repent and say sorry like I am saying now to my mom.

Dear Mom, thanks as slowly I am becoming like you and I love it. Teaching for the sheer joy of teaching, celebrating each moment of learning, not equating the passion with money and above all being learner always.

Mothers not matter where they are- with you or smiling at you from heaven never cease to amaze you. Every pearl of the wisdom, every advice, everything they told you comes true. Whatever they did which you detested as a child you tend to repeat as you grow up and are thankful to them for all values and all learning you gathered from them. They were always right.

Hats off to all the Moms. Trust me if not now but definitely someday a grateful voice will be telling their kids how remarkable their grandmother was and how to follow her footsteps.


About the Author

Dr Pooja Birwatkar

I am a post doctorate in social sciences, specializing in education and a professor at Somaiya Vidyavihar University. My areas of expertise are Research , Life skills and Management of Education. I am a voracious reader read more...

15 Posts | 13,726 Views

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