The first magical moment I witnessed parenting as an adult was during my graduating college year. I was boarding at the loving Nance family home. They had a cat named Tripod. Growing up, we didn’t have any pets so having a cat around the house was a novelty and a nuisance for a city dweller like me. 

After a couple of months, I had gotten accustomed to having Tripod around the house. One day, I noticed she was missing and asked Beth, “Where is Tripod?” 

She gingerly told me with a smiley face, “Let me show you.”

We softly walked toward the hall closet where the door was slightly ajar. Beth told me to peek into the hall closet and there it was Tripod. She was curled up and seemingly most content. Tripod gently looked up at me and went back to her business. She was busy nursing her new litter of kittens. They were just born a couple of hours prior. 

Without having to say a word or a purr, I sensed her happiness, her joy, and her commitment.

In 1996 and 1997, I was blessed with my two sons, Blake and Jeremy, born 17 months apart. Amidst all the oohs and aahs, I learned that being a parent is a daunting task. There are no cheat sheets, no reference checklists, and no regrets! 

From my 23 years of learning, practising and being a parent, my top three lessons learned are: 

  1. There is no substitute to unconditional love.
  2. Patience is the master of parenting. 
  3. Let them grow.

As my mom’s youngest child, I had taken her for granted. I simply knew that she would be there. When I was a young kindergartener, Mom walked me to school before her workday began. As a to-be-mom, I asked Mom for help and she arrived the day before my first son Blake was born. As a working mom, I would leave home for work knowing Mom would be there for the family. 

She’s there, smiling, loving and nurturing, until ten years ago when pancreatic cancer took her away. She has gone home. 

How I wish I had more time to tell Mom all the things I should have said to her, thanking her for her wisdom, for being her, and for her patience. I wish to listen to more of her stories, her thoughts, her wishes. I wish my sons were able to cook for her the favourite dishes Mom had prepared for us over the years. I wish I could hug her again, and again.

So, to all of the readers out there with living parents and grandparents, give them love. Give them the simplest of pleasure that they have not asked for. Give them your time, your patience and your love, just like Tripod did for her kittens, just like parents have done for us in human’s entire history. 

I miss you Mom.


  • Zarina Stanford

    Traveller & CMO Fellow

    With a career spanning sales and marketing leadership roles in global blue chip tech firms including IBM and SAP, Zarina is CMO of Syniti, a Boston-based data management software and services company born to solve complex data challenges for global enterprises. A Marketing Academy CMO Fellow, Zarina is an advocate of purpose-driven businesses and a champion for diversity and inclusion. She serves on the Board of the BD Foundation, a non-profit organization for inclusion empowerment, and is a frequent industry speaker on marketing, business, and inclusion topics. On the personal front, Zarina describes herself as a proud daughter, mother, and sister. When not busy travelling or mentoring, she can be found pursuing her other true love: Ikebana (that’s Japanese flower arrangement for the uninitiated) and hiking in nature. In between all of this, there’s also the small matter of writing her magnum opus: #DareToGrow. It’s a busy life.