For the past few months, my mom came over to visit. I still remember us at the airport back at my hometown saying goodbye to our family after I went back for a short visit for two weeks. My dad got teary eyed, and I wanted to cry, too, but decided that for the best of us both it would be better for me not to. I hugged him goodbye and told him I loved him. Then Mom and I walked through passport control and security.
To be honest, I would not have been able to make that step if she were not with me. Once we stepped through, I was glad that she was by my side, and even though she didn’t say anything, I knew she wanted to make sure I was OK.
Then came the days when we spent in London – we are a quiet pair, us two, but she always has a knack for adventures and exploring new places. She is the single most fearless person I know, and I respect her for that. I really do. Over the time we have spent together, she has been patient even when I didn’t deserve it, loving and kind even when I’m not unwell, and up till the point when she was about to leave, she tried to help me to the best that she could, in her own selfless way. She has taught me a great deal of things, and she has never once lost her cool or shouted at me since I was born, and I have so much tremendous respect for that. To others, she’s probably just a woman on the street, but to me, she’s my mom, and the most generous, kind, loving, fair and empathetic person I know.
Today, her flight leaves in two hours, so I called a cab for her and sent her to the airport. Before we stepped out and put on our coats, she hugged me twice and said, “Love you”.
I’ve been feeling emotional the past few days because she was about to leave – I don’t know why – but at that moment, I remembered how warm and small she felt in my arms and I was too overwhelmed with emotions to manage a “I love you too”.
Don’t get me wrong. I have said goodbye to my parents many times – from when I was about to go out with friends as a teenager, going out on dates, going out on bigger independent travels, moving overseas half a year for studies and so on. And each time, I would feel nostalgic. My dad’s always been a sentimental man, and I inherited that from him. Even if I have to say “bye” to go out to work, I would feel sentimental. That’s just part of my DNA. But recently, as I have got older, and my parents even more so, I can’t help but feel that time is a fleeting thing, and every goodbye, every “I’ll see you again”, gets harder and more difficult.
So you can imagine how I felt when I helped my mom move her luggage to the front door where the driver was waiting. I joked with him to take care of my mom till she gets to the airport safely, and then as he put the luggage into the car boot, I thought my mom was about to head into the car. But she turned around and gave me a warm hug, and I could smell the familiar scent of the most incredible woman I know.
“Love you,” she said.
I wanted to say so much more, but all I could muster was, “I love you too”.
And then she got into the car and we waved goodbye.
I’ll see you in 7 months, mom. Till then, I will miss you every single day.