By Nahlah Kolkailah
A mother can never describe in words how her heart feels every time she touches or sees her child.
The innocent bright eyes filled with simple joys and elated curiosity.
The morning giggles that put a secret smile in place of your thoughts of worry and troubles.
Every time they tell you “You are the warmest, the softest to me, Mama.”
Their triumphant look, when they’ve finally pedaled that bike, pumped that swing, tied that shoe, “I swam across the pool Mama, my bat hit the ball the most today Mama.”
Questions, so many questions…
“Thank you for teaching me what I know Mama…my favorite times are those with you Mama…sing me Quran to sleep Mama…”
That heart breaking feeling mixed with pride every time they hurt but then come to you, no matter how much older they grow.
Knowing that Allah has bestowed upon you such a powerful version of an emotion you could never take credit for or grant yourself.
Those endless moments of pride and astonishment; “this is my own”—the countless days of feeling blessed and even undeserving of such a tremendous gift.
Your child is witty, observant, absorbs all…Day by day, year-by-year—no longer a baby—and he becomes your companion and maybe even an anchor that makes you a better mother, a better person.
How many times has he said to me, “you are beautiful and strong, your heart gives me everything….you are much better than your hardships Mama, you are the best mama I could wish for, my sweet Mama.”
And how have I felt when I was in turn told, “he is strong, he is happy, he is loved…”
This eases me yet makes me aware of the weight, the weight that love, that presence, nurturing and attention have for a child.
What of the little girl who is destined for greatness, but her brilliance and passions are stifled; stifled why–because of circumstance? Because she will never get to see a strong Mama, a Mama to teach her to navigate her intellect, to embrace the obstacles, to strive for an identity of resilience and influence?
What of the little boy who never gets to touch his Mama’s face, who never gets to feel that hug, that all-encompassing hug that washes the worries of the world and melts your heart in comfort and safety?
Maybe I am not your Mama, but if I can feel all this love, may I give you some of it? Maybe we don’t share one blood, but a mother’s heart, a woman’s heart can beat to a child’s.
Dare I pray to show you or teach you something that you may remember one day…one day when you’ve become a young man or a young woman? Will you remember the days of your childhood when you realized you are not alone, that someone cared, that with Allah’s mercy, you deserved it all and more.
Maybe you will never sit at a table for dinner with a Mama and Baba, never run to Mama at your wedding, or run to Baba at your graduation.
But if one ounce of compassion can unleash your fervor, awaken your faith—that you can and will become what you were destined to be; not only despite of the struggles, but even because of them—then that will be my honor.
It will be my honor to know that you triumphed, that you have a life to call your own—in your own voice; beyond the hardship, enhanced by adversity….all the while knowing that with that key, with the implanted seed of love in your heart, you can create and live your own vision; that you now have the power, the choice, to become that incredible mother, that incredible father that you never got to meet.
With the grace and mercy of Allah, that will be my honor.