“It’s a girl!”, the doctor exclaimed while I lay in the OT feeling numb, physically and mentally. All I managed to say was, “Great, my family members will be so happy”. It was the first thing I could think of. It was the only thing I could think of. I looked over at her pink wrinkly skin and shock of hair covered in goop and thought, “She needs a bath.” All along I felt detached from the scene, as if I was in a movie, as if it was happening to someone else. How would I raise this child? I had no help, no guide, no idea! And no mother.
“You remember the first day she called you Ma? Oh, what a stupid question! Of course you do, no one forgets that!” a fellow play-date mother gushed while I inwardly blushed. I didn’t remember. Between the feedings, the nappy changes, the screaming and the tears, I did not remember the first time she called me Ma. Was I a bad mother? Maybe. That was the last time I had a play date with her.
“No, you cannot watch another cartoon!” I shouted at my pouting daughter. “You’re mean, you’re a mean mom! I like daddy more!” and with those words my 3-year old tore a piece of my heart and ran away to her dad. I fought back my tears. I knew I had to be tough, I had to give her structured upbringing. I was motherless and I was not going to have the world point fingers and say that that was the reason I raised a undisciplined child. I went about cleaning the scattered toys around the house.
“Who was that?” I asked my daughter as she walked in the door. “Who?” my daughter replied, a little too quickly. “The guy whose bike you just got off!” I asked again, trying to keep my voice calm. “She looked at me with defiant eyes and said, “My boyfriend. And before you say anything, I know you and dad knew each other in school so you can save me the lecture”, with that my 16-year old went into her room and shut me out with a bang. My daughter already had an affair, I knew what they would say, a motherless girl raised a moral-less daughter! And I cried.
“Why have you come? Just to say, ‘I told you so’? Go away!” my daughter said through her mascara scarred tears. I did nothing and sat down beside her. I did not touch her, did not console her, just like I did when she was a tantrum-throwing toddler. I let her cry, I let her grieve over the loss of her first love. I knew how it felt like, I knew nothing I say would help. So, I let her cry. After what seemed hours, she slowly scurried across the bed and lay her head on my lap and I chocked, the iron mother chocked. I stroked her hair for what seemed like hours, long after she had fallen asleep, just like I had done to my tantrum-throwing child.
I sat there clad in white. Not because it was custom but because I wanted to, needed to. I saw the person, the only person I called a parent, my dad…my mom. He lay there looking so serene, as peaceful and content as he always had been. Why couldn’t we achieve it, ever? Tears had dried. Whom do I cry for, my only custodian was now gone leaving me alone again. I had no one. “Oh Ma, can’t you come, just this once and hug me like you did when I was young?” Suddenly, I saw a flash of white and was suddenly engulfed in warmth and softness. Could it be? Has Ma returned seeing me so alone and helpless? I could smell her, I could hear her heart beat gently against my ears. And I let the tears flow. I cried and cried till my throat felt sore and my mouth felt dry, I cried for the loss, I cried for the miracle. When the tears had died, and a calmness filled me up I heard her voice, “It is ok Ma, I am here, I am always here.” I was not motherless anymore.