A Tribute to my Mom
A young new mother is always vulnerable. Craving for her parents, wanting to be with them because they help her relax emotionally and mentally. The sense of belonging, comfort and love which can only come from your parents.
“Love is the absence of judgement.”-Dalai Lama XIV
My parents came to Mumbai from a small quaint town in Rajasthan called Bhinmal. I am the youngest of 4 siblings. I have an older sister and 2 brothers. Our relationship with our parents was based on an indestructible foundation of unconditional love and respect. My mom and dad were amazing role models. They encouraged us to grow to our maximum potential without compromising our moral code and value system.
My mother’s name was Kamla. She was an unpretentious lady with simple habits who was bound by traditions. She still had a dynamic personality. Was very assertive and always spoke her mind. She was honest to a point of being blunt but her intentions were pure. She was extremely proud of her four kids but didn’t believe that our self-esteem should be connected only to praise. So she was our greatest critic.
Like most mother-daughter relationships, ours too was tempered with drama. Our conversations would often get volatile. I believed then my mom was old fashioned and stuck in her ways. I was so wrong.
My first born, Yuvraj, was a very big concern for my mother. She observed and watched him very intently. She saw a significant gap in Yuvi’s milestones which his paediatrician here in Mumbai never seemed to have noticed. My mother was grounded in her beliefs.
Her gaze would create a sense of anxiety in me.
Through her observations, she made honest and simple statements. “Why does Yuvraj not cry when you are leaving to go out?”; “Why does he so easily go to strangers?”; “Why is his gaze so absent?”. Her statements and questions angered me deeply because I thought she was uneducated and insensitive. I would respond by lashing out at her assertively, declaring that every child was different and my son was friendly and a social being.
Looking back, I now realize, those were words of wisdom. My mother did not have a formal education, but her insights were invaluable. My reactions were immature. She hoped and prayed I was right because if she was right that would mean an unchartered territory for her daughter, which frightened her. A few months later Yuvraj was diagnosed with global developmental delays, mild form of cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities.
We were devastated.
Her perspective taught me never to doubt myself and to never be afraid of observing with more than a loving and protective mother’s eyes. Denial and not accepting that there could be something wrong with your child is one of the most significant flaws of parenting, which is detrimental and causes more harm. She always told me time was of the essence. We were adults and should manage our emotional wellbeing. Being in denial, wasting time and not addressing the situation will only harm our helpless, and vulnerable child.
I felt a sense of shame and worried about the stigma of how the world would perceive my son and me. According to her, any amount of hiding would not prevent the truth to be revealed. She said I should be proud of who I am and to be more proud of my imperfect child. Her understanding of the word ‘perfect’ helped me change and navigate my way through this unique world of disabilities. She helped me build resilience and made me fearless.
Parents are invaluable assets. An open, symbiotic relationship between a school and their parents is the key to progress for any child, special or not.
It’s been over 16 years of her passing on. And even today her words resonate loudly and clearly making sure I stay sincere, honest and focused on this journey. This helps me as a parent of a child with special needs, to believe in him and to work hard to support, guide and in the end just love him.
My mother never met Veer, my second child. I wish she had met him. Veer means brave. Our child is a kind and sensitive boy, who is extremely supportive and protective of his parents and his older brother. My two boys are at the extreme ends of a spectrum. One that struggles in every aspect and the other that moves through seamlessly and energetically.
It’s been a very long and hard journey for our family. Our son Yuvraj has been our greatest teacher. He has taught my husband and myself to never give up, never take life for granted but to always hope. He has helped us build character, hone and enhance our perspective. Every time we fall and fail we stand up learn and get stronger each time.
Hope, sincerity, trust, love and faith keeps us going.