A Mother's Day tribute: Living with my mom in quarantine
Growing up, I could never fathom a world where mothers and daughters were estranged. While mother-daughter relationships can be complex and diverse, it was hard for me to grapple with as my mom and I have a very close bond. To the point where it's indescribable. She is my best friend, my confidant, my pillar of support and the one person I know that I can always count on, rain or shine.
The best moments with her involved embarking on exciting adventures together. From climbing the Sydney harbour bridge, dancing in a Beirut club, to laying on sunbeds in Bali, we always had a blast. But when a pandemic like COVID-19 hits and a partial lockdown ensues, forming new ways of bonding becomes pivotal — especially with Mother's Day creeping up.
In the midst of doom and gloom, we have all been presented with an opportunity like no other — especially if you're still staying with your folks. Blocking out the hustle and bustle from the city, I witnessed aspects of my mother I knew existed yet never fully reflected upon. Above all, this time in quarantine with her has helped me appreciate the strength, beauty and comforting love she exhibits every day. Here's to the purest love I will ever know.
The brighter side of paranoia
A little backstory: My mom has always been a germaphobe. A prime example is whenever we are on an airplane my mum will not only wipe her own table, armrest and handset, she will also wipe down ours too — making sure it's 100% Dettol approved. Place a germophobe in an infectious, pandemic-ridden world and you get that, times a thousand. Since COVID-19 became a reality, she's pretty much the captain of sanitisation. Ensuing multiple check-ins, her texts never failed to eschew 'Be careful'. Right now? It has morphed into a complete wipe down of food delivery orders and showering Amazon packages with disinfectant spray.
But at the end of the day, she's keeping her family safe. Even in the littlest things, she sacrifices herself before her children. When the news of COVID-19 first broke and panic started to erupt slowly, my mother would — and still — refuse to let us touch anything in public. Especially lift buttons and doors. Of course, it's easy to look upon that in an entirely different direction, but behind that supposed paranoid notion, is the saying that a mother will do anything for her children.
The number one initiator for family activities in our household is undoubtably, my mom. Consistently making an active effort to have family bonding nights pre-virus and now, she has started to get crafty with household activities. Easter is a festive occasion for all Christians, and it's been rough for my mom to celebrate it while being away from her home country, Lebanon this year. Still, she kept the fire going and cooked up a delicious Easter lunch for the entire family. To get us into the spirit of it, she also encouraged a decent dress code, which fuelled a bit of normalcy after living in pajamas everyday.
She has always been the healthier one. Yes, we're talking about the conscious decision to choose broccoli over chocolate. I always believed she could be a full-fledged vegan and throw away meat and dessert all together if she wanted to. However, exercise on the other hand, wasn't really her forte, not until recently. In light of the gym closures, she has now stumbled onto home workouts as she connects with her friends over Zoom. It's funny because the roles should be reversed in this scenario — but I guess I'm happy her newfound fitness routine is taking the stress off her. (Happy mom, happy life right?) I guess it's now up to me to follow by example.
It's easy to forget that our mothers are daughters too. My mother has lived apart from her mum for most of my life and although she got used to the distance, it has never been easy. When a far-reaching virus is as widespread as it is isolating, all we want is to hold our loved ones close. Checking up on my grandmother was a given but now that health concerns have tripled, it undoubtably troubles us all when we're far apart. Global lockdown has forced people all over the world to be separated from family members and with uncertainty in travel prospects for the time being, millions including my mum are disheartened over the uncertain future without a warm motherly embrace. This Mother's Day, give the special woman in your life a hug, a big kiss on the cheek, and hold her close. We're all cooped in anyway — might as well make good out of Mother's Day this year.