Mama, today is a special day. Do you know why? Today is the day you gave birth to me. Mama, you felt contractions in the evening and you went to the clinic. The nurse said I would arrive in the morning so you went home. Instead, I was born at home just a little past midnight, and everything went smoothly. You told me I couldn’t wait to see the world, but I knew it was because I couldn’t wait to see your smile and your beautiful face. The rain in the morning welcomed me on the day I was born. Thank you, mama, for this special day.
Mama, today is a special day. Do you know why? Today is my ﬁrst day of school at Pearl Kindergarten. You saw me off to school, but I wouldn’t let go of you and held on to you tightly. I was scared by the new faces and by the presence of other children. You tried to comfort me. Finally, after you played with me at the swing, I calmed down. The teacher took my hand, but I started crying and I called your name. Before I graduated from kindergarten there was a school carnival, and you prepared a costume for me. I asked you about the costume and you said it was a stewardess uniform. The costume was beautiful. Mama, I always smile when I remember this beautiful day and I still have a picture of carnival day. Thank you, mama, for such a special day.
Mama, today is a special day. Do you know why? Today you gave me permission to play basketball. Many of my friends played basketball and they invited me to join, but you wouldn’t allow me to play because I’m a girl. I played without letting you know. One day, when I was playing with my friends, it began to rain heavily so we decided to play soccer. We played in the rain and I had a great time. The next day I got sick; I had a fever and I vomited. Later you found out why I was sick and you were upset, worried, and sad. You forbade me from playing basketball. I was sad too, not because I couldn’t play basketball, but because I’d caused you so much pain and worry. For a few days I didn’t speak much, and I sat on the veranda to watch the rain. You thought that I was sad. You changed your mind and let me play basketball as much I liked. But actually I was just enjoying the rain. Do you know, mama, it was the happiest day of my life. Thank you, mama, for this special day.
Mama, today is a special day. Do you know why? Today I am sick. I got exhausted from playing too much basketball and I’ve been sick for a month. I was disappointed because there was an upcoming basketball match in another town but I had to stay home. I told you I wanted to die because I felt helpless, but you comforted me and said I’d be ﬁne. Day and night you took care of me, took me to the doctor, made me comfort food, made sure I took my medicine, and checked my temperature regularly. One day, I woke up and looked for you but you weren’t home. I cried and told papa I wanted to see you. You came home right away. When I saw you, I felt relieved and safe so I stopped crying. Mama, please forgive me for being so spoiled and causing you so many sleepless nights. Your love is always there for me even when I don’t behave. Thank you, mama, for making this day a special day.
Mama, today is a special day. Do you know why? Today I graduated from senior high school. You let me continue my studies in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. You were sad and I didn’t know. I was happy that I was going to see a world I’d never seen before. I’d be free because you wouldn’t be by my side to tell me what to do anymore. You cried on the day I left home. When I arrived in Jakarta, my joy went away. I missed you. Although I called you every week, my heart still longed for you. I felt lonely and I cried often. You gave me support and told me that I’d be okay, and that I’d make a lot of new friends and have an enjoyable time at school. Because of you I had the motivation to continue and I had a joyful experience. Thank you, mama, for making it a special day.
Mama, today is a special day. Do you know why? Today is the day of my university graduation. When I told you about my graduation, you were so happy and full of gratitude. You worked hard earning money for my tuition, and even though I wasn’t always a good student, you were still happy I was studying. You couldn’t attend my graduation and only papa came, but I was still happy and grateful because I know your love is always with me. Thank you, mama, for making this day a special day.
Mama, today is a special day. Do you know why? Today is October 6, 2009, the day I went to Plum Village and realized my deep heartfelt aspiration. You didn’t agree, and you were angry about my choice, but I stayed on my path. Before I left home I shared with you my aspiration about true happiness and about monastic life. You didn’t understand but you listened to me and you gave me permission to go, hoping that someday I’d change my mind. You were sad and worried that you would lose me. Please forgive me, mama. I wanted to become a nun not because I don’t love you—I love you very much—but because I need to transform my suffering to receive your love. Thank you, mama, for letting me go. Thank you for making this day a special day.
Mama, today is a special day. Do you know why? Today is May 27, 2010, when I received the Ten Novice Precepts. My hair, inherited from you, was shaved off. I vowed to transform all the afﬂictions in me. Although you weren’t present at my ordination, I know you are in me. Since the day you received the news about my ordination, you refused to talk to me. In October I went back to Indonesia with my beloved teacher and Sangha. You didn’t want to see me as a nun and instead you sent my brother to meet me, to ﬁnd out if I was doing well and if I was happy. I know deep down in your heart you love and care about me very much. I wasn’t sad because I knew you needed time to accept and to heal your wounds. Do you know, mama, I have a lot of brothers and sisters in the Dharma who love me and support me in the practice. Because of you and your love, I have the aspiration to transform myself so I know the way to offer my love for you and to learn how to live in the present moment, to appreciate the wonders of life, the life that you have given to me. I am now living happily as a nun. Thank you, mama, for making this day a special day.
Mama, today is a special day. Do you know why? Today is March 23, 2011, the day I went to Indonesia again to see you. I didn’t tell you in advance, but just showed up on the doorstep. Papa answered the door and was surprised to see me. I gave him a kiss and went to your room; you heard my voice and you started crying. You didn’t want to see my face but I hugged and kissed you and told you how much I loved you. You didn’t say anything until your sister-in-law came. She helped me to embrace your suffering. When I was in Indonesia, I went to visit you every day and listened to your suffering, your anger, your worries, and your pain. I listened deeply while relying on my breathing. After two weeks, you smiled again and we shared conversations ﬁlled with joy and happiness. I shared with you about my life in Plum Village, my teacher and brothers and sisters. I told you about our daily lives and the experiences of sharing the joy of those who have transformed themselves through the practice.
A ﬂower started to bloom in your heart, and I could feel the transformation and healing happening in you. I have learned from my teacher that my mother is in me and the transformation and healing taking place in me are also in you, mama, papa, and our ancestors. I saw it very clearly. Since then my inner child is healing and becoming happier day by day. You supported me in continuing my spiritual path although I know you still miss me a lot and hope that I can stay by your side. Thank you, mama, for making this a special day in my life.
Thank you, mama, for giving birth to me so that I could experience the miracle of life. There are no words that can express my gratitude to you, Su Ong, and Su Co Chan Khong. Thank you all my beloved ancestors and respected teachers.