One of the biggest blessings of recovering at home is spending time with my mom and sister. We have had the good fortune of living together for the past 26 years, and we savor every moment we have with them. This post is about my mom who is my role model. She has the spirit of a 30-year old, the energy of a 40-year old and the wisdom of a 100-year old.
The past couple of weeks, my mom has been sneaking into my bed before I wake up in the morning. She lies next to me, her tiny 90-pound frame holding me while I sleep. I hear her laboured breathing from asthma as she strokes my bald head. We savour this time together as we quietly contemplate the fragility of life and the gift of being together in spite of her age and my condition.
One of my favorite memories of my mom is when my son, Shayne, was about 6 years old and we would come home from work only to find my mom playing goalie in the living room, and Shayne shooting balls at her. Fast forward to today. My mom and Shayne watch the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tennessee Titans games. And they do this in style. My mom will wear the Penguins or the Titans jersey and sit with Shayne while he explains the finer features of the game. When there is a Leaf-Penguins game, we cheer for the Leafs and know full well what side my mom will take!
In her youth, my mom was a member of the Aga Khan Council for Moshi and Arusha. As part of this role, she headed the Ladies Committee, the Safai Committee (weekly cleaning of mosque) and the Gusal committee where she attended to people who had died within the community. She was also Chairman of the Ismaili Association for Moshi looking after Tariqah matters (matters of the Faith). I remember being so proud of her as she managed a full-time job and attended countless meetings to deal with issues and manage complex situations. And she did this with grace, diplomacy and quiet leadership.
The quality I like most about my mom is her curiosity. Everything is an opportunity for her to learn. She spends about an hour on the computer everyday – – sending messages, reading emails, opening up links. When she recently traveled back to East Africa to visit sisters she hadn’t seen in decades, she was known as ‘Nani Sport’ – horseback riding, jet-skiing and long walks on the beach that even tired the askari (or security guard) out were commonplace for her.
My mom needs very little in life. She is content with who she is and has inner peace. Her joy comes from going to Jamatkhana everyday, mornings and evenings.
I can only imagine how tough my cancer diagnoses has been on my mom. She is over 80 years old and should not have to worry about things like this. I wish I could spare her the worry and anxiety. She is strong and has reacted remarkably well. She gives me a lot of courage and reminds me everyday about the importance of faith and prayers. And when I am sad, she says with a sense of certainty, “Don’t worry Muni. Everything will be okay.” And somehow when she says it, I believe it with all my heart. I take my cue from my mom and credit her for who I am.
Wishing my mom and all the other mothers out there a very Happy Mother’s Day!