All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his. - Oscar WildeMy mother is not a glamazon with a walk-in closet full of Manolo Blahnik pumps and Givenchy gowns. My mother taught me nothing about wearing make-up beyond washing my face every morning and night. My mother has never shared stories about her first kiss with me. My mother is not a size 2. My mother does not speak perfect English. My mother does not have a wedding ring.
My mother was valedictorian of her graduating class in college. My mother gave up her dreams of becoming an artist for a career that could put bread on the table for her children. My mother works six days a week. My mother has two Master's degrees. My mother still wants to travel the world.
She once told me that she still regrets dragging me with her to her college classes and laboratory sessions, where I often sat in the corner, with a book or two. I don't think she realizes that without waking up at 7am every morning with her for a full day of classes at age four, I would not have understood the importance of education as much as I do now. I read my first book, See Spot Run, in the laboratory, as she spliced genes.
I learned how to record lectures on tape as I sat with her in the dark auditorium.
I learned how much perseverance paid off, as she replayed her lecture tapes over and over again because she couldn't understand the professor's rapid English. I learned how to put up with tedium as she analyzed the same mice cells over and over again, every day.
My mother never stopped believing in me.
In many ways, we are from two different worlds. She does not understand why I dress the way I do. She doesn't understand the lyrics to the songs I listen to. She has only been to New York City once.
But, if what Wilde says is true, I am looking forward to turning out like my mother, for my mother has an undying passion and love that never runs out, even when her back aches from a day of treating her patients. Thank you for everything, Mumsies -- I cannot wait to be home in four days.