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It Took My Mother Contracting Coronavirus For Me To Realise How Much She Does For Us. We Don’t Give Them Enough Credit For Holding Us All Together

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Waking up with the aroma of hot chai sitting at my bedside table, my mother stroking my forehead, asking me what I’d like for my breakfast, while I sleepily say something that only she can understand. That’s how my mornings had been in this pandemic, full of love, care and undivided attention from my mother, with not much to complain about. While I would still miss going out, seeing my friends, I would be lying if I said the lockdown was all too harsh on me. At least not until the one holding all this together all this while – my mother, tested positive for Covid-19.

She mentioned a severe body ache one night, and considering she had been working relentlessly in the kitchen, and then mopping around the house to make it look habitable, we just assumed it was the exhaustion. The next day, as she struggled to get out of bed, and murmured of her weakness with a sore throat, we were convinced she was under the weather. Although, still not letting the thought of the worst happening cross our minds. Taking over the kitchen duties as a unified family in the  meantime, the rest of us – my father, my brother and I ordered mom to sit back in bed and relax while we tended to her. After all, making daliya for her and keeping ourselves fed on maggi for one day didn’t seem all too bad.

Except, she wasn’t getting better and when she finally got tested, our worst fears came true. My mother had been infected with corona and had to be put into isolation. And by this point we had already been told and informed by a lot of people, how covid usually just comes like an intense flu and with proper care, nutrition and healthy food the patient would be just fine. But when the person who had taken care of all those things for you and the rest of your family for years, was the one sick, our entire life was turned upside down.

In a split second, as the thought of not having her around crossed our minds, we felt frozen in our tracks. Not because she was the medium for our perfectly flowing lives, but because she was the most indispensable part for our survival and sanity.

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Suddenly, we found ourselves plum in the middle of a situation none of us knew how to navigate. Everything that had looked easy and seamless earlier, from our morning with hot tea and fresh breakfast, to getting to eat our favorite food was now our biggest challenge. And that is when we started realising how much our mothers do for us, without complaining, with great efficiency and with unconditional love and affection. And sadly, that is exactly what we had always been taking for granted.

From waking up early morning, to take care of everyone’s breakfast, especially my mothers’, to circling back to the kitchen almost every hour, we realised how she was  holding a house together and how it was literally an all-time job.  The two weeks that my family and I were made to step into my mother’s very big shoes, we were finally able to take notice of all of my mother’s woes, some that she would voice and others that she kept to herself every day.

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Even during her quarantine, on days that she saw us getting exhausted with the long hours of work, and intense chores, I could see the pain of a mother in her eyes, desperate to get better only to help me out. And that feeling, that need to still be able to make things for us easier, while she herself was sick, was the maternal instinct that will always be incomparable, and sadly, underappreciated. While we went about our perfect lives, we never comprehended how the one making it all possible for us, was our mother, and we’ve never given her due credit for being the ultimate provider.

Every moment when she had complained about joint pain, lack of sleep, weakness in her bones and the immense heat there was in the kitchen where she would spend 10 hours a day, came rushing back, as we ourselves struggled with what she had put herself through for 27 years with a smile on her face. And so, with every meal, every medicine that we served her for these two weeks in isolation, I couldn’t help but think how this might be the chance to return a small fraction of the favour, for her unconditional love, support and commitment towards her family.

It took her becoming positive and being completely out of action for us to take in the thousand duties she seamlessly handled every day and we did it for only 14 days.  Right now, she is finally out of isolation, resting in her bed, while I prepare the food for the night and dad works on cleaning the utensils. She may have been the one to recover from Covid, but so did we from our sense of entitlement, as we now play an active role in contributing to the housework. With the amount of efforts our mothers put in, this the least we can do. And hopefully, no parent has to get sick anymore for us to recognize that.

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