By Sadiq Vali
There are so many incredible health care workers I would like to thank these days, but today I would like to thank the first medical professional I came to know: my mother.
I grew up surrounded by incredibly strong women, and my mother is one of the strongest women I know. She completed her OB/GYN residency all while raising two children, being a newlywed, and a daughter-in-law in a big Indian household. That last one probably seems a bit anticlimactic, but I assure you it can be similar to running a busy bed and breakfast, but with no pay and not enough recognition. I would falter at attempting any one of those things, let alone doing all of them together. She talks of how grueling and difficult it was – all the sacrifices she had to make – but never have I heard her express regret of a single decision she made to become who she is.
When the pandemic enveloped the world and we were asked to isolate at home, I knew that my mother would not have this luxury. She would continue to be on the front lines, providing care and solace to worried women and mothers-to-be, and I couldn’t help but worry for her. I worried about the fact that she was half a world away from me in India. I worried about the fact that with all the travel restrictions I could no longer be there if she needed me. I worried about her health since she could not physically distance herself while providing care for her patients.
While I can’t be with my mom today or give her the enormous hug that I wish I could, what I can do is thank her. So, thank you, Mom, for your patience, your kindness, your love of cooking, your love of languages, your infinite optimism, your ability to endure, and your desire to always help those in need.
Love you, mom.
I know that my mother is not the only front line worker with this particular story, and that I am not the only one worrying about loved ones on the front line. So to all the mothers, sisters, daughters, and other incredibly resilient women who are currently fighting on the front lines during this pandemic: thank you, and happy Mother’s Day.