This year, I celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom a little early. And it wasn’t just one day, either – my mother was out here for a two-week visit. It’s been quite awhile since I have been able to spend that kind of time with her, and because we weren’t rushed, we were able to fall into a rhythm that felt very natural and brought back powerful memories for both of us.

My mother reminisced about my birth – how she was only 17 at the time and how I was such a tiny baby at 4lbs, 8 oz. We talked about events from my childhood and we marveled, as all people of our ages do, at how quickly time has passed and how far we have come.

imtiaz manji childBut of course in order to really appreciate how far you have come, you need a point of reference, and that’s what her visit literally brought home to me. I found that just being around my mother again for an extended time changed my thought patterns and perspective. Everything I have done in my life, everywhere I have been, everything I have accomplished, and even all the things I still intend to do, take on new meaning when I look at a photograph such as this one, taken at a time when all possibilities in life still lay ahead of me.

And when I look at my mother now, I remember how, when I was growing up, she was my earliest and most devoted champion (and still is). The encouragement and support she and my late father gave me set the stage for many other memorable milestones and points of reference along the way.

manjiOne of those most important points of reference for me was meeting and marrying Shahinool. She had a huge influence on me that continues to shape my actions today. She brought out the best in me in the way she valued goodness and integrity and the way she always challenged me to expect the best from myself. And like the best leaders, she led by quiet example. The way she lived her life – with grace and joy and appreciation for possibilities, right up until the end when she was claimed by cancer – showed me what it really meant to face challenges with courage. She was a loving and patient wife (she had to be patient, having me for a husband) and an incredible, devoted, gentle yet strong mother. You can be sure my sons and I have her in our thoughts today as we honor her memory.

Thanks to these values that my mother instilled in me, and that Shahinool reinforced with her words and her every action, I have learned to live a life of gratitude, fulfilment and ambition. These exceptional women deserve so much credit for shaping this stubborn boy and headstrong, driven young entrepreneur into a man who appreciates what he has, while always thinking boldly of what can be.

“Be true to yourself.” That was Shahinool's motto for living. A simple four-word phrase with profound implications that we should all take to heart. And the best way we can all be true to ourselves is to commit to a life that never becomes stagnant – to learn, and evolve and grow for as long as we live, because that’s what life is all about. 

mother's day

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Commenter's Profile Image Jonah S.
May 9th, 2016
Beautifully written and well said. Without a doubt, you loved (and continue to love) your wife. What more can a man ask for?