Remembering a mother so close to her son's heart, The most important call on the most important of days: By Robert Terpstra


This past Sunday I placed a very important phone call, and indeed, people in many countries did the same.
On the second Sunday of the month, May 11, Mother's Day was celebrated in Canada, in Pakistan, as well as in nearly 60 other countries.
This past Mother's Day turned out to be very special for me, for the fact that it was the first such 'day' that I was away, more than 9,300 kilometres from the woman that raised me single-handedly for the first 28 years of my life (and almost died giving birth to me, the story goes).
There are many things to be said of my mother. Being a single parent is not easy. Being a single parent while studying at university and holding down a full-time job is also not easy. And certainly being a mother, handling all these tasks, only to come home at night, every night, and have to cook a dinner that is half-eaten only to rush me off to a football, ice hockey, basketball or badminton practice or game is certainly not 'down time' that she deserved or wished, but she still did it.
Being an adult now, and having been away from the person in the world that I feel the most close to, the past year has allowed me an incredible amount of time to reflect on how much this special person truly means to me but at the time didn't or failed to realize it.
'Mom' was the person who didn't set limits for me at school, didn't make harsh rules at home or set unfair curfews when I wanted to spend time elsewhere. In a way she led by example and I thankfully inherited her patience and stamina. In a way, kindness to others, as well as her insatiable, natural gift for bettering herself in acquiring all forms of knowledge was a meek trait I picked up on.
In a way, I didn't deliberately do things to 'please' her, but instinctively I molded my existence in a way that wouldn't disappoint her. I gained confidence in social settings, in asserting myself on the football pitch and embarking upon the unknown world – this from her, even though at the time, I didn't realize it.
The reciprocal relationship that we had, and being an only child, was in fact unique because it was often a day-by-day work-in-progress that blossomed throughout the years. She would teach me to tie my shoes, I would glowingly show her my report card, she would lecture me about money, and I would invest it wisely. We would spend hours often almost saying nothing, not out of ignorance, but because we were always on the same wavelength.
Because of all these interactions, today and every day, I still am not sure if I am more proud of her, or she is more thankful to have had me.
I often thought that a large portrait of Queen Elizabeth II that was hanging on a wall of my ice hockey arena bore the striking resemblance of 'mommy'. In hindsight, it didn't matter, I knew that whether my mom was there at the arena (and she often was), or for some strange reason she wasn't (I took a rare opportunity to dedicate a hat trick to her once), she would always be there with me.
And so now, an ocean apart, but just a phone call away, all that I have accomplished, all that I have endured, in her presence or not, she remains, always there with me. That is why this day, this Mother's Day, this phone call, was so important, just a fraction of the thanks that I can possibly communicate.
Happy Mother's Day mom. From your son.

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