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A is for Amma


Oh, wouldn’t Mommy love to see this article?  It reminds me of a post S poignantly wrote the other day about family relationships.  It also reminds me of something Daddy used to say when we were little– “If I say something, I am old fashioned, but if your teacher says the same thing, then you will listen.”  This article was a “teacher” speaking…

Growing up, Daddy was so defensive of how we treated Mommy– I remember Mommy crying one day as she stood over the sink washing dishes.  She had told us to have them done before she woke up, but of course we needed to sneak in our TV watching before the clock hit 6.  I must have been in junior high and I remember thinking, “Wow, she is really over-reacting.”  Now, I wonder how she managed to raise three kids who grew up with strong sense of privilege and entitlement (no, we weren’t spoiled rotten, but we certainly were unappreciative), work the night shift for 18 years, be a wife in a traditional-gendered culture, be devoted to God and church and struggle with her own personal demons, without losing it some more.  Anyway, that day, Daddy sat us down (I think “us” but I don’t remember if it was just me) and yelled and talked and preached and lectured and pleaded for hours, all to say, “please understand what it means to have a mother and treat her well.”

The Times’ article sheds a light.  Everything from the first verses we had to memorize (“Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right” and “Honor thy father and thy mother”) to the daily “pointless” call is steeped in our culture, like the stain of some strong Indian chaya penetrating our “it’s-been-25-years-since-we-emigrated” lives.  Yes, they’ve been here for 25 (or 27 or 30 or 35 years), but their ideas of motherhood/parenthood have existed for far longer.  I am quick to mock it, belittle it, and resent it, yet even with this awareness, I struggle to find a way to honor it in the way they imagine. 

What can I do while I try to figure this all out?  This week, I will have a little more patience.  I will keep the conversation going for a few more minutes.  I will call home instead of waiting for home to call me.  I will try not to get into a meaningless fight.  I will do an act of service.  And I’ll try to do it again next week.  Maybe the week after, too…


2 Comments leave one →
  1. seasofsilver permalink
    2009-04-06 7:23 AM

    You blog is great!

  2. Mallory permalink
    2009-04-06 10:04 PM

    The one about trying not to get into a meaningless fight. I try to turn a new leaf on that ALL the time but it’s so bad. Mummy sucks me in every time and I’m my mother’s daughter, I don’t back down. It’s so hard to be sweet to my mom sometimes. And it’s so easy to throw a tantrum with her. Everything I had pent up that I can’t yell at other people outside of my home, I end up somehow yelling about with my mom. Such a weird concept. She does the same to me too so sometimes, we’re even.

    Sad thing though. My dad would never, in a million years sit me down and say “Know the worth of a mother.” Never. Ever ever. I think that sucks more than my tantrums.

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