My identity as a mother started with you 18 years ago. I was young then and you happened like a big surprise! I wasn’t much prepared to all the changes and new feelings. The amazing ride over the years even though joyful was also full of bumps. I learned many things with you; how to love unconditionally and care for another human being completely dependent from myself, how to expand my heart to the extreme to fit all the overwhelming emotions, how to let go from time to time so you start exploring but fearing at every step that you might fall or hurt yourself.
No one really prepares you for motherhood but you learn through lots of laughs and many tears.
I remember when you were born. That day, I really understood how strong humans we are as women. Through the pain, the stitches and several medical interventions, I learned to appreciate this magical body of mine, which connected me with you.
I remember the first days, at home when back from the hospital with you wrapped on my chest. Overly anxious, I couldn’t sleep much the first weeks; I would wake up every hour to check if you were still breathing. You looked so fragile and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be careful enough, that something tragic would happen…
Years passed. You were almost 3 when we decided to move to Armenia as a family. It was a huge change for all of us. We spent the first years exploring the old streets of Yerevan, when there were not so many cars around and you would dance all the way from our rented apartment near vernissage to our favorite Artbridge café, the haven of repats at that time.
I remember how I used to tell you stories about the small “talans” where little elves would hide and every time we crossed that small entrance between two buildings you would play along and say “SHSHSH mom, gardses hon en klkharge desa” – Yerevan was so magical for a 4 year old in those days.
I remember how years later, at 7 or 8, you would walk again with us but in a more critical mood with your little scrapbook, taking notes of all the things that needed to be restored and renovated in this small city and that you were planning to rebuild them once you became the mayor of Yerevan: old parks with shabby playgrounds, broken pipes, holes on the sidewalks, destroyed doors, devastated buildings.
Then, you suddenly grew up to become a beautiful person inside out, a free spirit. Of course the road was even bumpier the last years… school… high school … where you were discovering yourself, your identity, your style and questioning every single thing. We had some rough days, and some better ones. In this very conservative society, we had to fight together at school, with inadequate teachers, insensitive pedagogues, prejudices and stereotypes. And sometimes you had to fight alone, on the streets, in the marshrutkas or the doctor’s offices to counter discriminatory remarks from passerby about your looks or hair or piercings. And I would listen to your stories, hurting and feeling guilty, questioning myself often if moving to Armenia was the best option for my kids.
We also continued the struggle on the streets for justice, for equality and for better Armenia. You were there all the way, accompanying me in protests against domestic violence from an early age, and up to recently during the velvet revolution, closing the streets with your friends and making together with many other young ones this revolution possible.
It was tough sometimes but you were growing stronger and wiser and eventually Armenia became your home, a place you cherished and where you belonged. Sometimes, I look at you thinking how much talent is in that amazing body of yours and the great paintings that come out of your fingers, displayed here and there in every corner of our house, the music, the songs, the colors… all inspired and created in this place, this country, with many kind people you met.
But the day has come and you are leaving soon to start university. You will be going away for a while to start a new chapter in your life, in a new country, a new adventure. You have found something that really interests you and you are going after it. No matter how challenging it might look now, you are ready to try and move out of your comfort zone and experience real independence.
I am so proud of you.
My heart is a mix of sadness and joy and I am holding myself to not go into panic mode right now, as most mothers would feel. I am repeating in my mind “she is going away, away, away…” and tears are ready to burst any time. I know you are not moving to Katmandu but just 3-4 flight hours away but still, my “normal” is going to change from next week on. Your room will be empty, at least for a while. It will be hard to adjust to your temporary absence but life is like that; a series of goodbyes and reunions.
I will miss your smell, your hugs, and your voice. I will miss the changing colors of your hair with every season. I will miss the dirty cloths that you insist on leaving on the floor, your messy room. I will miss the long discussions, the weird cakes you bake and every single thing, but I am so happy to know that you are taking this brave step in your life.
We don’t know what life will bring us and how busy you will get with new projects. The world is yours to discover, go on, spread your wings but one thing is sure and that you can rely on is that I will always have an empty space next to me for you to come back to. Whenever you need to, no matter when and how often, that space will remain there and ready to welcome you and let you go again as many times as you need to.
From a proud mom.