My mom, a beautiful lady inside and outside!
After our many daily byes and see you laters, my mom and I said our final goodbyes yesterday. As you all know, Amma was a beautiful lady inside and outside. She was not only my mother but also my best friend and our relationship took a unique turn the past 5 years as we worked as colleagues in our little school, Awesome Blossom daycare! 😊 She loved being in charge of the school and adored the little ones. She was an early riser and loved to dress up for the little ones with coordinated clothes and enjoyed their attention as they complimented her about the colors or designs of her sarees and sweaters. She loved to read and write and enjoyed reading out her favorite articles or write ups out aloud. She was always full of stories about her childhood, siblings, her many nieces and nephews and immensely proud of all their achievements. She was extremely patient when cooking and it was well worth it as her pachadis, pickles and specials were so tasty! She was a pious lady and a devotee of lord Venkateshwara and did her pooja every morning and Saturday was an important day to offer her preparations before she ate. She was very clean, super tidy and orderly. She always took pride in doing her chores, cooking and keeping things organized and she did so till the very end. She was an honest, frank and open person. She found it hard to lie or pretend. She always wanted to go before my dad and she did, on a Saturday and in Sravanamasamu which was her favorite month.
People are praising me of how I took care of her but I feel privileged about having my mom around my family and me. My boys, Satya and Sathwik have enjoyed her thoroughly since their births and are super attached to my parents. I lovingly called the four of them "The Grands." Ammamma gave them their first baths, helped me figure out their first solids, told them stories and morals, they pulled off April Fool jokes on each other, got lectured by her when they needed it, had endless board games and cards, they had their Friday Dosa parties where ammamma would make a different type of dosa with different chutney every week, the boys helped with their groceries and shopping, driving them for their doctors’ appointments and blood work and even staying at the hospital during the nights of her hospitalization. It has been a beautiful journey for them. Nagender and my mom shared a special bond, both had many things in common; both have same birth star, have the same pet names, shared a great love for Indian TV and she showered him with her specials and cooking the past 24 years of our marriage. During her stay with us the last few weeks, she looked forward to spending time with him when he returned from work and they watched Kapil Sharma show together and she shared some of her memories and opinions with him. During her last week, he fought long and hard every day with all the doctors telling them to try different treatments as they told us she was getting critical.
She extended her love to many families in the community. When asked why she wanted to run a school, she said it was always her dream to help the community. She enjoyed greeting all the children in the morning and set high expectations for each of them and worked hard to help them achieve their successes. She guided the young families with her advice on children, foods, cooking and life. She considered the parents of the children her own sons and daughters and the little ones her great grand kids and laughed that her name had changed to “Ammamma.” She took immense pride in being part of the school and told me many times it gave her purpose in her older age.
As for me, she taught me grace and poise. She taught me rituals, poojas, about religion and acceptance of all faiths. She taught me the nuances of cooking. She taught me to be independent, strong and proud. She encouraged and supported everything I wanted to do. She taught me how to love my children. She taught me how to take joy in the little things in life. She started calling me her mother the past few years and thanked me numerous times for keeping her close to me. She told every nurse and doctor that I was a ‘Gem of a daughter!’ The doctors called us the best mother-daughter pair they have ever seen. I feel honored.
We all love our moms, I do too. Please take the time and be patient and keep your parents close to you - if & when they need you. It’s an honor to be part of their lives when they need you the most. With expanding opportunities for us and the world getting smaller, unfortunately the distance between our parents and us is actually getting bigger. Do a bit more than yearly visits and sharing videos of your little ones over social media. It’s hard sometimes and they are difficult at times due to their age and wisdom but go the extra mile and figure things out to help the ones who raised you - for soon you might have missed the opportunity. I am super glad that I had the honor and privilege of being there with amma, the beautiful lady inside and outside!