This Sunday is Mother's Day -- consider yourself reminded. I feel very lucky to have the love of my mom and so many other wonderful mothers, but today I would like to tell you about one very special mother in my life: my grandma. For many years, my grandma and I lived in the same apartment building in Izmir, and every Friday I got to spend the night with her. She always prepared a sprawling buffet of treats, and we would stay up late watching horror films and my favorite TV show "Visitors" (which came on at 2:30 AM!). Afterwards I'd fall asleep to stories she told me about her childhood in Istanbul with her two brothers and an eccentric aunt. Once my family moved to Texas, Friday nights at grandma's turned into Summer vacations with her. All year long, I couldn't wait to see her in Cesme. More than the beach and the sun, what I most looked forward to were the meals full of laughter and the card games that lasted until dawn. We still play cards every summer, and she still tells me stories -- about her travels with my grandpa across Europe, how my grandpa once tricked her into eating horse meat, about her days as a young bride when she couldn't cook to save her life, and (my personal favorite) the time she threw the prime minister of Turkey out of her house because she didn't recognize him.
My grandma has always called me her "first eye pain." Something gets lost in the literal translation, but in Turkish it means "first love" and is often used for first-borns. I wish had a succinct way to describe what she has always meant to me. She is the person I've always confided in the most about what's going on in my life; my rock who made me believe I could take on the whole world. Sending much love and gratitude to all mothers out there on this Mother's Day!