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This is your mom
I realized how blind I had become

By Siamac Naeemi
April 26, 2002
The Iranian

Ten years ago when I was preparing myself to give my first speech in English back in Iran my teacher taught me that the first 15 seconds of any speech is critical for two reasons. First, because you want to get the audience's attention and second, because you need to overcome your speech stress. I hope I learned both.

My speech today is about my trip to Iran and visiting my mom for the first time after nine years. A lot has happened to my family and me during all these years, both good and bad.

When I came to the United State September 1, 1993, one of my older brothers had just become a pharmacist while my other brother, who was a year older than me, had just quit school. He had done this due to his diabetes and depression. I thought I could help him and get him back in school. I did all I could, but unfortunately he died of diabetes complications five years later while hugging me the same way he did at my graduation day at the University of Maryland.

I did not know how I would react when I saw my mom in the Airport. I had been waiting for years to see her and thank her for what she had done for me and tell her about my good moments. When we arrived, my brother-in-law took me to where my mom was sitting. He pointed to an old lady and told me, "this is your mom." I said "No she's not." She had deteriorated so much that I could not recognize her.

I bent down on my knees and I hugged her nine years worth. We both cried for sometime until my sister told me, "Mac, it's enough." Then I realized that I am not a kid anymore. I am a grown 34-years-old man.

You should have seen my mom's face when she met my wife for the first time. My lovely wife had bought my mom three dozens of tulips from Amsterdam Airport and carefully carried them for the rest of flight.

Every one at the Airport was emotional, especially when my mom kissed my son. That night I cried until morning for what my mom had become. I remembered how energetic she was and how she would be the first one to wake up and be the last to go to bed. It was really sad to see her like this.

Well my sadness did not end there. Even though I was born and raised in Iran I experienced culture shock. Recession, drug addiction among youth and irresponsible driving... So the trip that I had been waiting for years which was supposed to be a pleasant one turned into nightmare and I became depressed. However soon I realized how blind I had become.

How could I ignore the fact that my mom has gone through a lot but she was staying alive for her children and grandchildren. I also remembered my brother's exceptional strength. When my brother came out of recovery room after having his right leg amputated he said to me, "HAVE YOU ORDERED MY ARTIFICIAL LEG YET?"

Remembering that was the turning point of my trip. From that point on I tried to enjoy my trip despite ongoing sadness.

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Siamac Naeemi


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