Love, Life Stories

My mother inspires me more than I can explain

As I spend my first Mother's Day away from my mother, I reflect on the amazing woman she is and what she's taught me.

The first thing I hear when I wake up each morning is a ping, a text message from my mom wanting to know how I’m doing and relaying her love. My mom is not a tech-savvy person – she refuses to join Facebook to this day – but she learned how to text for my sake!

As many of you know, Mother’s Day was this Sunday. While a part of me cringes at the fact that we need a commercialized holiday to appreciate the woman who brought us into this world, the reality is I needed this reminder just as much anybody else. Promptly responding to a text message is simply not enough.

As the youngest of three siblings, I will always by my mommy’s baby. But being a married woman now, having my own home, and recognizing the real possibility of becoming a mother myself one day, I’d like to share what I have learnt from my mother with my daughter one day, God-willing.

My mom is not a woman of pithy sayings. I wish I had a few quotes to share. The ones that do come to mind wouldn’t make much sense to anyone but my sister and me.

[bctt tweet=”Actually, I think it’s been the things my mom has NOT said that have had the most impact on me.” username=”wearethetempest”]

If you know anything about Desi aunties, then you know that they just cannot keep their negative comments to themselves! At some point in my life, most every one I’ve had dealings with has reminded me that my physical appearance is less than “ideal.” But not once has my mother ever made any comments about my weight, my hair, the color of my skin – not even the new pimple I happened to be sprouting. She could have and had ample opportunity to do so, but it’s almost as if she didn’t see those things… or saw past them completely. When I saw other women teach (intentionally or otherwise) their daughters that looks are what really matter, my mother instead encouraged me to focus all my efforts on school.

She didn’t just leave me be though. Every time I had a test, she’d read from our Holy Book, the Qur’an, on my behalf and encouraged me to make special prayers to God for success. This encouragement wasn’t just limited to school. My mom even encouraged my love for singing, an interest of mine without any “value,” something others in the Muslim community often gave me grief for. To this day, she thinks I sing like Beyoncé!

My mother supported me in other, less obvious ways as well. Her life’s example, for one. Although, my mother has expressed regret for working while her children were young, I am so proud of her for doing something only a very few women of her generation managed to do. My mother probably did not envision herself as a feminist (at least not at the time), but her example is inspiration for me all the same. Growing up in a time when women were not expected to work outside the home, my mom broke barriers proving that a married woman is not solely a housewife or mother; she had many accomplishments of her own that her family had nothing to do with. I know I respect her all the more for it, especially now that I am a married woman.

[bctt tweet=”Most importantly, my mother’s faith in God inspires me with faith.” username=”wearethetempest”]

I like to jokingly refer to my mother as an angel. She’s so pure and innocent. She wasn’t always this way, she tells me. The mom I have the most vivid memories of is post-cancer mom. Unfortunately, I don’t remember too much about that time, most of the burden of her care falling on my father and sister. I remember asking her years later if she was scared and how she drew strength. Her answer is still etched in my memory. As she told me, she wasn’t scared for herself, but she begged God to keep her alive so that she could take care of her kids. As if giving birth weren’t enough, the pain she suffered during remission is a testament to just how strong a woman my mother is. I remember her also telling me that when the chemo treatments became unbearable, she’d lock herself up in the closest and sit there in the dark, crying, because lights hurt her so badly. She didn’t tell anyone this, because she didn’t want to inconvenience us. I hardly think about what might have happened all those years ago, because my mother is definitely the most resilient woman I know.

[bctt tweet=”If God had decided to take her away from me that day, I don’t know where I would’ve been today.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Mommy, I doubt you’re reading this (perhaps I can text you the link?), but I love you! None of my letters from these past few years can do you justice, but now the world knows just a little bit more about how incredible you are! Maybe one day I will be as strong, loving, and selfless as you are. If not, at least my daughter can say she has the best grandmother in the world!