A mother’s love is like no other, all encompassing, invisible yet palpable, at all times. It swallows you whole, surrounds you like a soft blanket, yet durable like Kevlar. It is often unspoken, yet louder than anything we hear through daily actions, big or small. A mother’s touch is the only one that can fill our heart instantly, more than any other. A hug and embrace from your mother lets you know with absolute certainty, that you are loved regardless of anything you could do, right or wrong, “good” or “bad”, and no less when you have done nothing at all. At times, even when you may disagree with her, or have an argument, “falling out”, or feel the need to create some space, her love is still there, unwavering, fills all space and time, and is never compromised.
I was born to an incredible family and the most amazing of mothers. My mother was stunning, graceful, petite, fashionable, loving, compassionate, and a professional who worked hard and never complained about “work-life” balance, but gave everything she had to me, our family, and her own family. She cherished me as her only child, as she too struggled with infertility much as I did many decades later. I have way too few memories (I wish I had more and more vivid ones, too) of my mother, due to losing her before age of 10, and the memories I have, that threaten to fade, are of her and I doing something together:
- Riding the bus into town in Taipei, Taiwan (in the 70’s during my early childhood), every Saturday, with our metal grocery basket on wheels, to shop for the week
- Doing yoga on the carpeted floor of my parent’s master bedroom in the evenings
- My sitting around or laying in her bed as she listened and learned English from the radio
- Watching her prepare and cook for 8-10 people (my grandparents and father’s younger siblings lived with us in my early years) in a tiny kitchen, being her taster
- Holding my hand tightly as we crossed the busy roads amidst countless vespa scooters, taxis, buses and the immense traffic of Taipei
- Dressing me up like a “princess”, adorning my head with bows, making sure my braids were tight
- Walking down dark allies on the way to my piano teacher’s house once a week
- Making me my favorite breakfast of “peanut milk”
- Putting orange peels into my bath water
- Consoling me whenever my father was harsh and reprimanded me
- “Healing” me when I was sick, through fresh coconut juice, and ginger chicken broth
My mother and I in Taipei, Taiwan.
I would give ANYTHING to hear her voice again. It’s the one memory I can’t recall no matter how hard I try. I would give anything to feel her touch, embrace, and most of all, anything for her to hug Claire, and admire the incredible granddaughter that we are raising every day. Not a single day goes by that I don’t think about her, hoping she is proud of the woman I have become, the positive impact I have made on children and families every day of my work and career as a pediatric ENT surgeon and physician. I hope she sees the values I am instilling in Claire—that family is the most important of all, and that we love our families and others through truths, devotion, and through food prepared with love and intentionally with health in mind.
My daughter and I.
Call your mother today. If you are lucky and she is sitting next to you now, reach out and hug her, hold her tight, and thank her for her love. Tell her what she means to you, for eternity. Ask her to sing or read to you, remember her voice. Then sing and read to your child, repeatedly, so that he/she can always remember yours.
Happy Mother’s Day to every woman, even if you don’t have a child of your own, I know you have helped raise, love, heal, nourish, guide, and hold up someone else’s child professionally or outside of school, as a teacher, nurse, doctor, neighbor, therapist, or as a family member. We love ourselves, we love one another, we are grateful.
The beautiful flowers I received today. ❤️