What Does “Mother” Mean to Me Now, in Canada?

Had I wondered the same thing as a child, I would have probably said that my mother was the best at everything and always close. I took that for granted, as if I were naturally entitled to her, never questioning it. Sometimes I saw her as a wise friend, who advised and supported me in all and everything, being my permanent conscience. And other times, I saw her as demanding, responsible, slightly exaggerated when she tore my pages from the ruled notebook and made me redo the patterns until they were all perfectly aligned.

From childhood to college, I saw my mother as a pillar of support. The person who silently committed herself to loving us, caring for us, raising us, educating us, and letting us go into the world. But I realize that all my life I saw only my mother’s silhouette. I saw only part of her shoulder, part of her eyes, part of her soul, part of her. I saw only the known piece to my existence, in a shallow, superficial way. Never in depth. Never whole, so to speak. I do not remember asking her how she managed to make me the person I am today. I do not remember worrying about how many hours she slept at night, how busy she was all the time, if she ever needed a break. And if I asked or were concerned about the above, I did not understand her needs in the least. Until now. Only at this moment, when our lives have changed 180 degrees, moving to another country, having new friends, speaking a new language, being surrounded by foreigners without our Romanian traditions and customs, do I begin to see her completely. Only now do I recall images that I know or surmise. Only now do I manage to grasp the quintessence of the word. The longing for and the constant memory of those at home, the thoughts and remembrance that you would like to live again or even replace translate into hundreds of thoughts per minute, thousands of doubts, infinite worries which eat away at you, whether you like it or not. They are simultaneously happiness, peace, and turmoil, courage and strength. Despite all these thoughts and feelings, your only friend is your mother.

My coming to Canada as a teenager was a very difficult, unforgettable time in my life. During this period, I rediscovered my love for my mother, caring and aching. I rediscovered that I am her faithful copy; I learned that a mother stands in for every person one misses, and that nothing more precious in this world is outside of her presence and love. For the past 20 months, I have been admiring more and more the mothers and mothers-to-be around me. They seem to be Amazons brought to modernism from Greek mythology, hidden under ordinary clothes and fancy make-up. Or, their hearts are those of women warriors, unstoppable, activated whenever they feel their children are in danger.

Beyond the gifts to be given to our mothers this March, no one thinks that maybe a mother does not need gifts and flowers but the presence of her children, the love and the happiness they emanate every day in her presence and in society. Let us offer our mothers what we are today. And I know without a doubt that all mothers, who love their children more than the heart in their chest, feel and think alike: their child is their eternal and most precious gift. For life, and not just on March 8. And the love and happiness in their eyes make up for all the sacrifices in the mothering world. So, many years, dear mothers! You are wonderful!

With love,
Alexandra Ioana Geonea