To put it simply, my mother is a badass.
She moved from India to the United States when she was 22 years old, will barely enough money to pay for the first semester of grad school in her pocket. She came from a family where money was always tight; her mother--my grandmother--had to pawn some of her own precious jewelry to pay for my mother's trip over.
My grandparents were determined to give my mom the money she needed to get the education she wanted--with one caveat: all their expectations now rested upon her shoulders.
They were big expectations, too: my mother, the oldest of three, the first person in her family to immigrate to America, the woman with STEM dreams, with tuppence in her pocket and her bank account.
They were big expectations, and my mom outdid them all. She found research work to fund the rest of her time in college; got a job to pay back her loans and to buy back her own mothers' jewels. She became a biomedical engineer--no, she became THE biomedical engineer, the woman who excelled in a stereotypically male field. She got married, bought a house, had two kids and vowed that she, like her parents, would always put their education first.
Today my mother is the head of one sector of a large biomedical corporation. She comes home from work every day to cook, help my sister with homework, schedule all the appointments that need to be scheduled. She seems tireless--a superwoman in every sense of the word.
But...Somewhere along the lines, my mom has forgotten how to take time for herself. She wanted to be everything for her family, a career woman with a heart, and she was--she is--but it is my turn to take that burden from her. It is time she relearns what it means to be a human and not a superhuman.
She is my example, my role model, the light of my life, and this holiday season I'm going to try and take a little bit of the burden she carries off her shoulders.