Towards the end of my daughter’s middle-school’s performance of the Lion King, Simba (the heir apparent to his deceased father’s throne) is asked the question by his Mother: “Are you responsible for your father’s death? Did you murder him?”
Simba struggles to answer, as he was indeed present when his father was killed in an “accident” as a result of a plot hatched by his father’s brother. Simba, who was a young child at the time, has just returned from years in self-imposed exile, because he felt guilty about causing his father’s death.
I did not pay attention to Simba’s answer (because I already knew that he was innocent). However, what caught my awareness was the angst that his Mother must have felt when even asking that question of her son whom she hadn’t seen in many years. It is difficult to imagine the struggle of a mother grieving the loss of her husband (who was dead) and her son (who was presumed dead), now wondering if the son killed his father…
The very word “Mother” evokes strong emotions in many of us – whether we are in that role ourselves, or whether we have relationships with those in that role. No matter our response to that word, it can rarely be denied that the struggles of Mothers have always been, and continue to be real. As children, we often tend to be unaware of their struggles, the juggling acts of the many roles performed by our Mothers (or those who played those roles in our lives).
Over the past few years, I have often asked some questions about the potential challenges that my many Mothers may have faced in their lives. What were their dreams when they were in middle-school? What kind of encouragement (or lack of it) did they face when they shared their dreams with their parents? Were they treated fairly at home and at school and after their marriage? What became of their aspirations and what are the real stories of their lives? How has technology changed the struggles of today’s mothers and children? How do the dreams and struggles of our Mothers affect our (spiritual) identity?
The answers to many of these questions about my Mothers’ struggles are lost to time. Fragments of these questions were answered in my Mothers’ many past letters to me, and in the stories that my Mothers’ mothers told me about them. However, many of the answers are revealed in the very current struggles of those who are being Mothers to others, right in front of our eyes. The generations may be new, but, as it has been said – a Mother’s work (and struggle) is rarely finished.
Mother’s Day can be a call to raising awareness – to be empathetic to Mothers’ (and childrens’) struggles, to listen to their dreams and aspirations, to encourage them to tell their stories, and to give them time to celebrate their victories. Mother’s Day can also be a celebration to allow our Universal Mother to ask the toughest of questions of us, her beloved children – we can answer by sharing our struggles, our dreams, our aspirations, with her.
P.S. Join us Sunday May 12 at 9amET / 630pm India for our weekly twitter chat. I will bring fresh brewed tea and flowers… you can bring some stories and recipes to share – Namaste. Kumud
Spring – when the trees spread their flowers in welcome to every passer-by…