Mother, Thank You for Everything
I cannot thank you enough for all the support and love that you gave me. Thank you so much for everything you have done for me, for always being by my side. I wish my daughter Mina would be such a nice, loving, dedicated and good person as you are.
It was one of those hot summers. My father was driving us in our crimson red Yugo Skala 55 – a pride of the Yugoslav car industry of the time. I still remember how nicely how it smelled when I first saw it in front of the house. All of my friends came to our backyard to admire it. However, that afternoon, some other things – not the smell – stayed imprinted in my memory: three suitcases in the trunk, Toshiba TV and a Grundig video recorder on the back seat – squeezed between my brother and me. My mom and dad were in front. There was no music that day. No sound uttered between my parents. Nothing. We sat and drove in silence.
The war had just started in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was a very bad time. Neighbors had became enemies. There was nothing but hatred all around us. We had to leave our home town. Without turning back. Every second counted, since the troops were all around the country.
All of a sudden a few men in the uniforms jumped out on the road, and stopped our car. They carried rifles. For us this could have meant either life or death. We were frozen with fear. My mom started to cry as they approached us. My dad, without a word, gave them his ID. After the soldier read my father’s name, he leaned towards the car window and said: “No need to be afraid! You are ours. You can go now”. My father continued to drive. Silently. My mother was still sobbing. I remember her every tear dripping down her face.
Years later, my mother was on another road that wrote our destiny. Every Friday afternoon, after she would finish with her job in Banja Luka, she would return to our small rented flat in Jevrejska street. It would take her 20 minutes or so to pack candies and other little things for my brother and me before heading to the bus station so she could come to see us. It would take her several long hours to get to Belgrade where my dad was always waiting to drive her home. This was our routine for years.
Every time she would enter the door, her eyes were bright, and she smiled asking if we were hungry, if everything was ok, and how we spent our day in school. I knew she had to be very tired, but she never wanted to show it. The only thing she cared about was spending the weekend with us – her children and her husband. But even that never lasted long. She could only stay for a day and a half, and on Sunday evening, she’d have to return to Banja Luka. She felt so alone and so sad each time. On Monday morning, she’d be in her office again with some very responsible and hard work awaiting. She never complained.
My mom is a true fighter, and that is one of the things I am proud to have learned from her. In life you have to fight for people and things that mean a lot to you.
Those years that she lived away from us, she never missed a single weekend to come and see us, regardless of how long she had to travel (she also worked in other far away cities), or the danger she was exposed to on the way to us.
In 1999 bombs were falling all over Serbia. Despite that, she was still coming to see us. Every weeekend. I know she was afraid back in the day. We all were. It was not advisable back in the day to travel like that, but she always talked about those trips with ease. As if nothing bad could have happened to her on those long journeys to us. But when I reflect on it now, this was just the way my family always struggled to survive and stay together. Despite the odds. Coming from the war in Herzegovina to survive another “war” (bombing) in Serbia was not easy. My parents had put all of their efforts to provide everything for my brother and me, in order for us to have a normal and happy childhood and to receive proper education. We also managed to save enough money to buy a new apartment. We always led a modest life, but we had a clear goal: to fight for a better life. We believed in our dreams, principles and values. Each of us gave our contribution to reach this goal as much as we could.
My parents taught me that I have to fight for the things I want, that I can’t just sit around and wait for them to happen. Because they won’t. They told us we needed to work hard to make all our dreams come true. Sometimes even five times as hard as others in order to become successful, to achieve our potentials, and to differentiate ourselves from the masses.
But, that wasn’t that hard. We were “different” from the get-go. We came to Serbia when the war was raging in 1992. Some have considered us less important, less smart, or not good enough compared to the people born in Belgrade. The eyes of disapproval and disrespect followed us everywhere – at school, at work, in our new neighborhood. I told my parents how I felt, and they explained to me that I have to be twice as good as any student in my class, that I have to study twice as much as others and to behave impeccably if I want to earn the trust of my schoolmates. 23 years later these words still echo in my ears. I listened to the advice they gave me then. It changed everything for the better. I quickly made a lot of new friends and became one of the best students at school. Hard work, dedication to the school duties and responsibilities, together with good manners my mother and father taught me, opened many doors for me later in life. It helped me to finish primary school with the best grades, to enroll in one of the best high schools in our city, to finish my secondary education as if it was a piece of cake, to be an excellent university student, to find a good job and be successful in it. To have my own family.
My mother’s unselfish love for me and my brother, her struggle and hard work, have all shaped my personality. I followed her example on how to get the best of life. To do the things the same way she did. To believe in the same moral values and principles. To be a good man. Even today, no matter how busy she is at work or how tired she is, she always finds time to be with us. Nothing is ever too hard for her. If she had to, I know she’d cross the world for our happiness and welfare and she would not mutter a single complaint. We are her little world and she proves it every step of her way. She always finds a way to cheer us up, to encourage us, to make the most delicious donuts in the world. With marmalade, of course. To prepare a nice Sunday lunch and gather all our family around the table.
Dear mother, I cannot thank you enough for all the support and love that you have given us. Thank you for always being by my side. I wish my daughter Mina would grow up to be just like you – a true fighter, with big heart and love for everyone.
Share the love in your heart this Mother’s Day. It just might change everything.