Once when I was younger my mother dropped me off at school. I was given neither lunch nor lunch money and mind you, I hadn't eaten that morning. My school's cafeteria food was unhygienic and my mother never let me eat there. That day, my mom told me she was going to come back to drop lunch for me. I was pacified and with a kiss to her cheek, I skipped off into the school building. That day went by fast and lunch soon came. I sat in my classroom, waiting expectantly and full of trust that my mother would bring my lunch. I waited till lunch was over, yet she never came. Fifth period came and went, sixth, seventh and finally, last period. The closing bell rang. My mother came finally. She entered my classroom holding a brown paper bag filled with food. Full of disappointment and anger (and hunger), I walked past her without saying a word. She turned and followed and we walked down to the car in silence. We got in and she began apologizing for bringing my lunch late. I was really mad at this point. I tried my best to keep my words reigned in but they burst out like a broken dam. I remember complaining to hell and back that day. Just last week, my mother told me how much she loved me. This is something she does frequently, but this time, she reminded me of a time when I was younger. A day she “forgot” to bring my lunch. She told me of how she didn't have money that day, how she went to work looking for who could lend her some money to feed her child. She went to this person and that, begging, and she eventually found a helper. Unfortunately, she did so long after my lunchtime. She told me how she immediately left work and drove to the nearest fast-food restaurant before driving to my school to deliver my promised lunch—she had no idea she was late. My mother, bless her soul, didn't have to continue. I remembered every single word I said that day; how she didn't care about me, how she always disappointed. Everything came back, clear as water from a spring. I was full of shame. I had nothing to say. No words could portray the remorse I felt and I cried that day, pained and full of self-hatred. My mother hugged me and told me she knew I didn't understand that day. And she didn't explain either because she thought me to too young to know or worry about our financial situation. “I'm not telling you any of this to make you feel bad. I know firsthand that hunger can make anybody mean.” I couldn't even laugh at her attempt to joke. “I'm telling you because I know that one day, you'll be a mother. So when your daughter—or son—doesn't understand, you too can have that patience.” All these things she whispered into my hair. Even till tomorrow, I will never forget the sacrifices my mother made for me, what I put her through for it. My ingratitude. I still feel that disappointment in myself whenever I think about it, and though it was very hard, I forgave myself. I learnt the value of those words “Thank you”, even for every little thing she does for me and I will never take her, or her love for granted again.
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