Learn to Say I Love You, Mom, in Greek

Αssociated Press

An announcement offers discounts and free delivery on a closed storefront in downtown Mexico City, Friday, May 8, 2020. Few countries celebrate Mother s Day with as much gusto as Mexico, and that has authorities worried that the celebration this Sunday could threaten lock-down measures and spread the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

No one can deny that a bond between mother and child is the most important and sacred relationship for a person’s life. Grown adults still tear up thinking of their mothers and this is the word that comes out of anyone’s mouth when they sigh out of fear, exhaustion, pain, surprise, or joy signifying that this is the one person that is constantly on our minds. 

A mother’s love is like an ancient spell that transcends natural laws to keep you safe

Mothers are special creatures. They are a bit like superheroes, only stronger. They have all the answers, they never get sick, they know how to take pain away just with one warm kiss, they know how to push stress away just with a warm touch, they know what to do when the washing machine is flooding the room, they know how to cook delicious food, wash clothes without turning them a different color, keep the perfect garden, have an amazing career, educate children, be a good friend, they say the right thing when you need it and sometimes say the worst thing when you least need it. But we adore them regardless because it always comes from a place of ultimate, almost dogmatic, unconditional love. The kind of love that feels like an ancient spell that transcends the laws of nature and science to always keep you safe.   

All mothers are special. And then there are Greek mothers. 

All mothers are special. And then there are Greek mothers. They are the ones who kiss you goodnight every night for the rest of your life. They are also the ones who will recite a monologue straight out of an ancient Greek tragedy to convince you to finish the food on your plate because when your grandparents were your age they were starving because of some war. They are the ones who make you take a jacket with you in July, just in case. The problem is that you do exactly as they say. You find some internalized logic to it, or you always feel 8 years old around them and you just obey. They are the ones who cook for a dinner party of 11 people when it is just you visiting them for the weekend. They do not go to sleep until you are back from your night out, even when you are 28 years old. Especially when you are 28 years old or 48. They are the ones who say “is this what you are wearing” and although you are a grown person who has been dressing themselves for years, you immediately question your choice of clothing. They are also the ones who are constantly ‘on-call’ when you have your own children. Greek people do not really hire babysitters. Greek people have grandmothers, who go to their grandchildren’s house at 7:00 AM to make breakfast, get them ready for school, cook for the whole family and possibly pick them up from school until parents are back from work. Also, Greek summers mean staying at your grandmother’s house for 3 months and possibly gaining 10 pounds. 

The greatest Mother’s Day’s Gift for your Greek mom 

We just adore them, don’t we? What would we do without them. Mother’s day celebration might seem like an unimportant commercialized day for some, but it can actually be the one day in the year when we remember to finally tell our moms how much we love them, how much they mean to us. Her presence is so ubiquitous in people’s lives – people who are still lucky to have their moms around – that we often forget to express our immense love and gratitude towards our mothers. She is the first person you take for granted and the one person you miss every waking minute when she is not around for any reason. So why not treat Mother’s Day as the perfect reminder to pause for a second and remember to thank our moms, or simply show them our love. And while cards and flowers are great gifts that she will definitely cherish, there is nothing that will please a Greek mother and grandmother more than hearing you say how much you love her in Greek

The most important ambassadors of Hellenism

“For Greek moms and grandmas life revolves around their children and grandchildren; and when it comes to their contribution to Hellenism, Greek grandmothers especially are the Greek teachers’ best and true allies in teaching Greek to younger generations of the Greek diaspora. They just love showing the Greek community how their little successors count in Greek, sing Greek songs, read and write in the Greek alphabet. Yiayia gives a constant fight to keep the Greek language and culture alive,” points out Stella Bompotsiari, Director of the worldwide online Greek School, Greek Lessons OnLine.

Can you think of a better gift than telling both your mom and yiayia “I love you” in Greek and start learning the language of your ancestors to always be able to speak it with them? They will be immensely proud and happy with this gift. They will also be a little relieved that now they can say their favorite sayings straight in Greek without having to use graceless translations. “Eat something! All that is left of you is skin and bones,” has a very differently tone in Greek, doesn’t it? 

She definitely knows you adore her and she doesn’t really need you to give her anything as long as she sees that you are healthy and happy. Starting Greek, however, as a Mother’s Day’s present to your mom, is something special that will sincerely move her and even enhance the connection and communication between your family.

The teachers of Greek Lessons OnLine are ready to welcome your family in the great journey of Greek language and culture that keeps Greek families around the world connected forever.

Ada Leivada is the Coordinator for Greek Lessons OnLine.

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