Sharing our Stories in 2021 – October

Sharing our Stories in 2021 – October

"THE SHARING OUR STORIES PROJECT"

In October’s story, Tia Ganguly reflects on lessons she learned from her mother by writing a poem about sweet memories from her childhood and significant learnings she carries with her still.  These lessons speak beautifully to the importance of self-respect, self-care and love.

Tia Ganguly and her Family
Tia with her husband and daughters

Tia Ganguly is an Indian- American woman and is married with 2 daughters. She is a mental health counselor in private practice and has had a career focused on equity, healing and creating opportunities for all.  Her work is inspired by her mother’s story and her parents’ sacrifices.  There were many sacrifices and they were always given with love and dedication. She has yet to learn how one gives so patiently, unconditionally and abundantly but she strives to learn this every day.

Tia with her mother and sister
Tia with her mother and sister

Tia's Story and Poem

My mom is simply amazing. Arranged marriage at 16. First child at 17. Moved to a country that she did not speak the language at 18.  She taught me so much by example about family, strength and incredible love. I have learned from her joy and her pain.  She is small but her soul fills a room.  She and my father sacrificed a great deal for my sister and I. My mother raised us to be strong, confident and aware of the hardship of others.  She raised us to speak up against injustice and to give and love fully.  Below is a piece I wrote for my mother on her 60th birthday.  The lessons continue to be an important part of my life. She and my father live in India now. With COVID I have not seen her in a very long time and the cups of tea are deeply missed. I long for the day we will sit on her bed and drink tea together again. For now- I have my daily ritual each morning and it connects me to her, to the lessons learned and to set intentions to live my life to each value every day.

Cups of Tea

I remember waking up in the morning and coming into your room.
The rule was one that was loud and clear.
“I’m having tea. No one is to ask anything of me until I have had my tea”.
Then I would proceed to climb in bed, 
cozy up right next to you and snuggle.
We would talk about things that only mothers and daughters talk about.
It was sacred, special time.
A time not to be disturbed by anyone.
A time to wake up, close out the world, connect and center.          

There were many moods during these tea time talks growing up.
Some days were full of love and laughter
Others with tears and trauma|
Many with giggles and growing
-but all mornings were special.

Lessons learned were infused with each morning.
With each cup of tea.
The mornings are fewer now, but when they happen I cherish them.
The lessons are still there.
They are lessons I will never forget and I will always value.
They are lessons I will pass on to your granddaughters.
Sixty years of your life, connected by cups of tea in the morning- 
that I will always carry with me.

Be strong
(Know that you can rely on yourself)

Keep laughing
(Some things you can’t change so you may as well laugh)

Be proud of being a woman
(Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything you dream of)

Take time for yourself
(You can’t take care of others without your first cup of tea)

Keep learning
(A good book will never let you down)

Value yourself
(No matter what)

Value your daughters
(There is no better gift)

Tia's mother with granddaughters and great grandson
Tia's mother with her grand-daughters and great grandson
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