Why Mother’s Day matters

Published: May 13, 2012
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Come hell or high water, rain or shine she would always be standing at my school, well before home-time.

I have never been a great proponent of the concept of Mother’s Day – or even Father’s Day. Dedicating days to celebrating every member of the family is not something that made sense to me – after all, you already had birthdays and anniversaries, right?

Anything in excess of this is clearly a ploy by all those card-printing companies nagging at your guilt to spend more of your money and boost their sales

As I have grown older I have come to realise the value of these days, randomly allocated to a day in the year to celebrate our parents’ contributions to our lives.

As the reminder for Mother’s Day popped up on my desktop last week, it got me thinking about how my views had changed over the years.

Five years ago I would have scoffed at the idea of sending a gift to my mother – how unnecessarily cheesy!

But I now see, that this day allows us to reflect on all that our parents have done for us, all that they have sacrificed for us, and for those of us lucky enough – all that they will continue to do so. The further I progress in life, the greater my appreciation for all that my parents did for me.

When we first moved to Karachi in the early 90s, I was still a child and the drastic change in environment was an uncomfortable change for a school-going child. I had trouble making friends and my academic performance dipped considerably. On more than one occasion, I remember feigning sickness in the morning, so I could skip the daily battle that was school.

I am fortunate enough to still possess my homework diary from this period in time – on every couple of pages is neatly inscribed an excuse from my mother citing why I could not make it to school – a different excuse for a different day. Never do I remember her chiding me for my behaviour – she chose to let me settle in at my own pace and did all she could to make me feel comfortable.

Things were not ideal when we started out in Karachi, but my parents never let me feel the effects of any of their struggles. As an only child, I was quite spoilt and they did not change the way they brought me up due to the change in circumstances.

I was bullied whenever I took the bus to school– to make it easier for me; my parents started dropping me to school in the mornings. This helped me settle in faster – but at the time, it did not occur to me that my father, who was at a crucial point in his career, was happy to sacrifice the extra hour of sleep just to see me comfortably settled in.

I was never good at art and am still not any better if I am honest.

Many a night during my earlier school years, I went off to a good nights sleep leaving my parents to complete all my drawing assignments for various subjects – my father in charge of drawing and my mother in charge of colouring in. However, as time passed, they also instilled in me the value of responsibility and started keeping me up with them while they worked on my projects.

On one such occasion, we ran out of glue and it was well past midnight, my father taught me how to use mushy leftover rice to finish pasting pictures on one of my charts – that was a lesson in self-sufficiency I know I shall never forget.

As a child I was invariably hooked on to video games.

Things were different in those days and video games were not as readily accessible or available as they are now. I still remember the innumerable occasions when I dragged my mother to stores across the city and sometimes as far as Saddar, and made her stand in the scorching heat while I went through game after game before finally coming across something I fancied.

Never once did I hear her complain – I am sure she expressed her irritation at certain points but nothing that ever suggested she would not be open to taking me again.

Come hell or high water, rain or shine she would always be standing at my school, well before home-time, so I could get home and have lunch before my tuitions. Even when I started going to school in Saddar, she dropped me every morning till I was old enough to feel embarrassed by the fact that my mother dropped me to school.

As I grew older my interests evolved as well.

On my high school graduation a number of my friends were driving their cars to the celebrations but my father insisted that I take the driver along for safety as I had recently begun to drive. I argued with him for hours about how it was unfair.

He held firm but allowed me to drive our car as long as I took the driver along as well. Unfortunately, I returned well after midnight with a rather large dent in the car (which I maintain was not my fault to this day).

My father was asleep and I did not dare wake him up – as for the next morning, I was dreading my fate, but he dealt with it with a smile and a gentle caution but not a single ‘I-told-you-so’. A couple of weeks later, my repeat performance (again not my fault) which left us without a left side-view mirror for a while courted a less pleasant response but nowhere as bad as I deserved.

There are countless other tales I could tell that exhibit how much my parents nurtured me and cared for me, and considering I am still not very old I am sure there will be many more mistakes that I will make.

But the fact that they let me make my mistakes and let me learn from these mistakes has made me the individual that I am today.

Not once was I made to be felt that I had lost their trust or that I had let them down. Even with something as important with my school exams, my parents would always make sure that the last words I heard, as I left the house, were ‘there’s always a next time’ – it’s such a simple phrase but I cannot explain how relaxed it made me feel before my exams.

And thus, (much to the pleasure of Hallmark and the likes) I think it is a great idea to set aside days that allow us to celebrate our parents – because unfortunately a lot of us forget all that they have done for us and do not treat them as we should.

I am sure all of us have a number of stories very similar to the ones I have relayed above.

Let us all make it a point to cherish our parents, treat them well and recognise all that they have done for us – if not on a daily basis then at least on a day like today.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the great moms out there!

Ali Aziz

Ali Aziz

A chartered accountant by profession who enjoys writing.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.