Wednesday, September 08, 2004


During my drive home yesterday, NPR entertained me by telling a story about a little 5 year old boy named Sam and his parents and their adventures as they started on the first day of kindergarten. As expected, the story was well written, with interesting insights into the mother and father's psyche, as well as how the teachers and the principal at the school react to ease these parents into the next stage of their child's developement.

As the story developed over the radio, I recalled buying sneakers with my mother when I was a child. I remember how she would press on the empty space between my big toe and the toe of the shoe to measure the gap. I remember her asking me to walk around the store doing that New Shoe March as she assessed my stride, arms crossed, brows furrowed. I remembered 5 year old me, stomping around the store, liking my new sneakers and smiling my toothy grin at my mom.

I then remembered how proud she looked when I won first place in a drawing contest in 1st grade, only 5 months after immigrating to America. And then how she beamed during my high school graduation. The look of disbelief when I told her I was accepted into an Ivy League college. The tears of separation she choked back as she listened to her child talk about his first day as a college student from his dorm room, 1200 miles away. The pride in her eyes when I graduated cum laude, and then entered medical school. The trembling sadness when I translated the doctor's diagnosis of lung cancer. And the love in her eyes as she died in my arms on that fateful day in August.

There's a lot I miss about my mom. The obvious things. The little things. The subtle things. Even her silliness of bursting into spontaneous song for no reason, as if she lived in a musical. But most of all, I miss her laughter and her infinite love.

To my mother, Susan.