Love to be reckoned with: Mothers & Daughters

Jahan at 7 months with her Nani
I tried to think who, among all the people I love, do I love most? Who is, in the spirit of this month, my Valentine? My thought conjured up the face of my daughter, her smooth curly hair in a raised mess of ringlets at the nape of her neck, her wide toothy smile, her small dark eyes crinkled at the edges, shockingly like her father's. There is no greater love I feel than this love. I experience the sensation of something swelling in my chest, a weight spreading through me, like a tight fist at my heart slowly loosening, the fingers lazily raising from the palm, pushing this way and that. She is, quite simply, the love of my life. 

At the coattails of this overwhelming surge of emotion, another thought emerges. And who loves me this way, so fiercely, with forgiveness and understanding readily available for real and imagined offenses? Who feels the weight of their love for me so ferociously that it crushes them, makes them vulnerable? I am only now convinced, after having Jahan, that no one on god's green earth loves me as powerfully as my mother. No one else has the capacity to do so. Only a mother's heart is vast enough and tender enough to hold, nourish, and impart such love.

A poem I wrote back in 2008 is below. 

My Mother's Voice
My mother's voice is like her belly – 
four times pregnant and cut open,

loose now and soft – injured, healed, scarred.

I see you old mother,

young daughter,
in an embrace that is meant to cure 
pains and aches that run deeper than skin,
run deeper even than body.
You, old mother,
tighten your arms around that young thing
to erase all sorrow with the strength of years
of worry and prayer.
I see you two and think of my mother.

My mother's voice is aged with cancer –
the quiet, tricksy beast that ate her breast –
cracked, guarded, uncertain.

She says she is half the woman she used to be
with one breast gone.
I say to this warrior who birthed me,
your scars are battle wounds,
the one across your belly
and the one on your chest
make you twice the woman,
and to me,
twice the mother.

My mother's voice is like jasmine scent in my dreams.
She speaks and sings to heal my hurts,
because her voice can travel farther than her body.

Her voice can embrace me when she cannot. 

Read about LOVE on Goll Gappay this month and relate incidents where you have witnessed or experienced it.