There you have it. One of the few musical appearances you will find of me on the web. I have decided to share this song with you because today is the day I tell you about my mother. And she loves it when I play this song. We sit in the living room, I turn the lights off and play in the dark. She sips her peppermint tea while mine is cooling on the piano, waiting for the breaks in between songs.
And so the concert begins, with an alert and loving audience of one, sometimes three, extending to my grandparents. This is my little family. Three generations gathered under the same roof for a week or two. An evident, missing figure from the family picture and a whole lot of love to make up for it. Because you see, my mother has always been a single parent. My best friend jokes sometimes, she says that my mother made me on her own, and it may as well be true. She may have had a little help but from the day I was born, a set of priorities was born. My mother had me. My father had beer. A simple equation with an intolerable outcome.
I never lacked anything. My mother had love to give, she had it in heaps. And so she gave. She gave everything she had in her to provide for me while being there for me. Maintaining a balance between work and life is a tricky feat and yet, somehow, she managed both. She was providing, and she was present. She was everything my father wasn’t.
I don’t recall much of my early childhood. It is punctuated by vague memories, floating in an uncertain world that may or may not have happened. My clearer memories begin at the age of 7, when we moved to Casablanca. In fact, that is when everything began. Some might call it a rebirth, I call it… just birth.
There is a saying in Bulgarian that goes something like this: “I know 200 and I know 2.” This is my mother’s motto in life. Our life in Morroco was 200. After her company went bankrupt and we were forced to go back after ten years of a sunny life, our life dropped to 2. But even at the sad low of 2, my mother has been capable of dreaming of the jolly high of 200. And to tell you the truth, she has nailed it down. Life is 200 and 2. It is beautiful and it is ugly. It is fulfilling and it is painful. It is the cold winters and it is the blooming springs.
I like to think my mother has taught me the rule of 200 and 2 pretty well. It does not mean you should rest on your laurels and wait until you climb back up. It just teaches you patience and perseverance. And sacrifice. Sometimes I think of how much she has had to sacrifice to get me to where I am today. How many happy moments she has offered me, incredible trips, beautiful places, expensive hobbies, an education abroad supported with a mediocre salary in Bulgarian Levs!
I remember when I received my first pay check. She had pretty much supported me during university and I was dreaming of the day I would be able to reverse the hourglass and provide for her. I am not there just yet, but slowly, I am making a life here in London, earning my own salary, lifting off her shoulders the help she was struggling to give but gave nonetheless.
I bought her a coffee machine last Christmas. A life-long dream. You should have seen her face, streaming with tears. For me, this was 200. This is what it is. The little moments you have saved up for, for months. The occasional treat to expensive, chocolate truffles. The long hug at the airport after months of distant Skype chats. The big, hiking trip in the Swiss Alps. And as long as you have a 200 in mind, it doesn’t matter how low you are.
Maman, si je décide de t’envoyer le lien de ce post – chose qui est risquée puisque tu seras déjà en larmes, sache que je t’aime et je te dis merci. Prends soin de toi, je n’ai qu’une seule de toi.