Dr Shamala Durairajanayagam, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in her 40s, feels that Mothers Day is a special day to appreciate all those who have been a “mother figure” in one’s life.
“It takes a village to raise a child. My two sisters, mum and mum-in-law have helped me so much in nurturing my kids back when I was training to be a plastic surgeon, and even now, when I’m held up at the hospital, ” she says.
Every year on Mothers Day, Dr Shamala receives handmade cards with endearing words from her three children, aged 15, 12 and seven. They will also usually bake her a cake, with the help of her sister (their aunt). And, Dr Shamala will cook a special meal to have together with her extended family.
This year, Mothers Day will be during MCO 3.0, but their celebrations aren’t impacted because they’re having it at home.
“We’ve gotten used to celebrating special occasions at home with homemade meals. I really enjoy spending time with the kids and we love to play charades, card games and watch our favourite sitcoms together as a family, ” says Dr Shamala.
“My kids have been sharpening their cooking skills while being at home this past year because of the pandemic. So, this time, they’ll prepare the Mothers Day lunch for the whole family and I’m really looking forward to that!” she enthuses.
Dr Shamala’s eldest daughter Dhanya, 15, feels that it’s important to appreciate mothers on regular days as well as on special occasions such as Mothers Day.
“It’s great to appreciate our mothers on Mothers Day, but I feel it’s even more important to value them on regular days because gratitude isn’t just limited to special occasions, ” she says.
“My mum is someone who values the ‘small things in life’. Despite running a full-time practice as a surgeon, she still manages to lead a balanced her life and do ‘motherly’ things like preparing family meals and playing games with us, ” says Dhanya.
“My favourite thing about my mum is she doesn’t take life super seriously and we can laugh about almost anything. She’s also a very forgiving person and we can both joke about mistakes in the past and not hold grudges, ” she adds.
“It’s great to have a Mothers Day to appreciate the mothers in our lives because they often put their children’s and families’ needs above their own so I hope that this day will help them realise that the challenges they face are worth it and their actions don’t go unnoticed, ” says Dhanya.
She adds that her aunts and grandmothers are also “mother
figures” in her life because they’ve always been there for her and her siblings.
“I can talk to them about my worries and be myself around them. They’ve also taken care of me and my siblings and supported us as we were growing up. They always make us feel safe and loved, ” she says.
Dr Shamala’s most memorable Mothers Day was a lunch with the extended family in 2010.
“I lost my father when I was 13, so I’m very grateful to my mother who single-handedly raised my siblings and me.
“When I started working, I loved to take her out for meals and sightseeing, the things she couldn’t enjoy when she was younger and busy looking after us, ” she recalls.
“The lunch was at a restaurant to honour all the mothers in the family. My mum joined us even though she felt unwell and we had a lovely time together.
“It was very meaningful and I will always cherish it because it was the last celebration we had together with her.
“Her health took a turn for the worse six weeks later and she passed on three months later, ” she recalls.
It was a poignant reminder to appreciate the loved ones that have in our lives while we still can, she concludes.