The Bright-er Side: Moving out helped me appreciate my mother more

Distance really does make the heart grow fonder

ILLUSTRATION: Siloam Yeung / The Peak

by Lubaba Mahmud, Opinions Editor

A couple years ago, when I was applying for university thousands of miles away from home, I was excited to move out and become independent. As much as I love my mother, I was a little tired of being babied. My mother is incredibly family-oriented and went out of her way to spend time with us. As a typical teenager though, I thought I was too cool for her. 

But now we can only manage to talk a couple of times a week thanks to our busy schedules and a huge time difference, I’ve come to appreciate her a lot more. When I call her and say “Hi ma!” she gives me the biggest smile and tells me her day is already made. Cheesy, yes, but when it comes to my mother I just know that she really means the overly sweet things she says. 

When I’m forced to work or study while eating, I’m reminded of how she always used to say I deserve a break. She called my eating breaks her “my time” and dragged me out of my workstation to sit with her and eat. I used to be annoyed because I wanted to be by myself then, but now that she’s not standing by my door and eyeing me at lunchtime, I wish she was.

Living away from my family forced me to take on some real adult responsibilities. Now whether it be buying furniture or paying bills on time, each new task reminds me of how easy I had it back home. As we bond over the tough journey adulthood is, I keep being increasingly in awe of how she handles being a full-time working woman with grace.

As I grow older, I can appreciate my mother for who she is as a woman and a friend, not just as a mother. I thought moving away to a different country would teach me about the so-called outside world, and it did, but one of the most important lessons I got was admiring what I had back home.