The chef in me wants to serve up your most favorite dishes, and swells with pride when you proclaim that I’m the best cook.

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The event planner in me strives to accommodate all your current fancies, throw the party you envisioned and sighs with relief when your face lights up.

The financial planner in me tries to make sure you understand the value of money, and that you can afford to go to the college of your dreams.

The photographer in me struggles to capture all the memories in the best light and preserve them for your walk down memory lane.

The fashion designer in me (also doubling as hairstylist) loves to dress you up, groom you for the occasion and  make sure you look your best.

The friend in me loves the moments spent hanging out with you, is thrilled deep down that you shared your secret with me, and will honor the pinkie promise.

The cheerleader in me is cheering for you all the time, sometimes silently yet frantically, and sometimes a little too loudly.

The critic in me somehow shows up right alongside the cheerleader, and will tell you that you can always do better than your best.

The writer in me is right next to you to lend a hand when you need help with that book report or an opinion for that write up.

The teacher in me just can’t wait to teach you all that I know, while simultaneously learning what I don’t know to keep up with you.

The chauffeur in me whisks you from one place to another, while the manager in me keeps an eye on your calendar and deadlines.

The artist in me somehow finds ways to live up to your expectations, (and can’t thank Google and YouTube enough) when you want me to help you with anything remotely creative.

The doctor and the nurse in me are there in a hurry with magic kisses, band aids, reassurances, tissues and, if needed, medicine to heal you; and will fret over you until you are healed and back to your normal self.

The worrier in me is like the local TV channel’s newscaster, who while talking about a calamity in any part of the world wonders what it’d be like if it hit close to home. I’m just the same when I read not-so-good news.

But the good news is that the warrior in me is ever ready to fight any battle for you to the end of the earth.

The mother in me knows that all the above roles will someday fade away, but that I will remain your mother as long as I’m around.

The good old myself in me just can’t believe that I’m capable of being all this.

Had that old me known that I’d draw up a flying unicorn for you, no less, and make it actually look like one, I’d have tried harder to draw that frog in Biology.

Had someone told the old me that I’d look at blood, scraped knees and cut fingers, and not pass out, I’d at least have thought about studying to be a doctor.

If the old me had the faintest idea that I could survive without eight hours of sleep, maybe, just maybe, I’d have pulled an all night shift to study for those finals.

Oh boy! If the old me had known that I’d find myself explaining permutations and combinations to you, I’d really have paid attention to that Math lecture.

The truth is that sometimes, I’m amazed by myself just as much as I’m amazed by you.

I learn something new for you, through you and yes, from you too.

Let me tell you a secret: In the process, I learn something new about myself also.

And that, my dear child, is a wonderful thing.

So, thanks for bringing out the best in me!

Sunita Upadhyayula lives in the Bay Area.

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