It’s the sacrifices that count

Does my mom love a bouquet of red roses or yellow tulips? Or does my mom prefer a massage? When it comes to buying a gift for Mother’s Day, it’s like buying toothpaste at your local Walgreen’s pharmacy. I’m standing in the toothpaste aisle for two hours trying to decide whether I want to buy extra whitening, whitening, or 24-hour protection whitening. Don’t ask me what the difference between each are, I have no clue.

Today is Mother’s Day, and we’ve all been doing the same thing. We’re sending our “Happy Mother’s Day” text messages to our moms; we’re sending cards to our moms with the handwritting worse than a first-grader; we’re posting collages of us with our mothers on Facebook and Instagram showing how much we express our love for them, and giving gifts to our moms because after all, we love our mothers, don’t we?

But when it’s not Mother’s Day, how many of us really appreciate what kind of a person we have in our lives? How many of us appreciate enough the sacrifices our moms make for us because we know they want the best for their kids? To be honest, I have not.

My mom was born in a Middle Eastern country known to have the highest rate of rhinoplasty (read: nose surgery) in the world per capita : Iran. Yes, the the same country that you hear in the news all the time that has called for the destruction of Israel. Yes, the same country that has just formed an nuclear deal with the United States of America. And yes, the same country that took about 60 Americans hostage for 444 days in 1979.  At the age of 27, my mom was not studying for hours in medical school, or securing a business deal with a business partner, or buying her first house. She was riding on a camel alone for 45 days trying to escape out of the country after being harassed, bullied, and discriminated for being a Jew.  She left her family, friends, and her home thinking she would never return again.

If you ask me if I could ever make the escape like my mom did, I don’t think I could ever give you answer. Saying that it takes courage, tenacity, and a significant amount of resilience, would be easy. It’s the decision to get up alone and do something while having the fear of the unknown that makes her story like no other. Sometimes, we don’t need other people to give us that extra push or assurance when we want to perform an action. Sometimes, we need to have faith in ourselves and remind ourselves that we can do it. Because in fact, no one knows you better than yourself.

On the day of my parents’ wedding, the rabbi asked my mom for her Hebrew name to be signed in the ketubah. As Iranian women back then were not born with a Hebrew name, my mom decided to name herself Tzipporah in order be able sign the ketubah. Interestingly, the qualities of Tzipporah resonate the same qualities of my mom. Tzipporah, similar to my mom, would take action whenever needed. When she saw Moshe was about to be killed by the Angel of God for delaying circumcision of his son, she quickly took out a knife and performed the circumcision. As my mom was denied a visa multiple times because she was a practicing Jew, she decided that she needed to find another way to leave the country and took action.

Today, I have so much to be thankful for my mom. Had my mom not put her own life at risk trying to find a more promising future, I would definitely not be here today. It would be easy to call my mom my hero, but she is more than that, and I couldn’t be prouder enough for who she is.

About the Author
Hailing from the Lone Star State, Madalyn is graduate student studying for a Master's in Occupational Therapy at CUNY York College.
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