I terribly miss my mother (no, alhamdulillah, she is alive, but it's just that I'm living about a thousand miles away from her right now). I want to go home right now and hug her tightly and just serve her for the rest of my life. You know how when you're away from your mom or dad or someone else you love too much, you think about all the bad things you've done to them? Yeah, well that's what I'm going through right now. I remember all the worst of worst things I've done in front of my mother. All those times I yelled at her; all those times I expressed my disagreement with her violently and in a loud voice; all those times I pushed her aside when she tried to support me by going to the bus stop with me but I didn't want her to go with me because I was a stupid, selfish teenager who thought she was too good to have her mother by her side, but she stayed there anyway until my bus came and she waved goodbye at me and made sure I was safely on the bus; all those times I denied her something she wanted; all those times I couldn't appreciate her when she took best care of me when I was ill, ruining her own health by not getting enough sleep just to make sure I'd get my health back.
What was wrong with me? What is wrong with every human who can't appreciate their mother? What the hell makes us think we're too good to take perfect care of the ONLY reason we're alive today? If our mothers hadn't existed, if they hadn't chosen to give birth to us, we wouldn't be here. I don't want to assume (and I don't) that everyone's mother is as wonderful, as amazing, as caring, as beautiful as my one (God preserve her and grant her a long life of good health, happiness, and peace), but I sincerely believe no one has a right to disrespect or otherwise offend or hurt their mother. I don't think it matters how your mother treats you. And, yes, I'm fully aware that there are mothers in this world who abandon their children; I think they're wrong in doing this, but I don't know whether it's still okay for the child, when it grows up, to mistreat its mother. But I'm talking about those mothers who are so good to their children, but their children are so selfish and unworthy of the love their mother gives them. Because I believe in the power of good communication and understanding, I believe our problems with our mothers can be solved if we sit them down and get them to understand whatever it is that we want them to understand. Believe me, I know exactly what it's like to disagree with your mother on virtually every single thing, and I know what the consequences of this may be. But none of that matters even a little bit when you think about how much you owe your mother.
I don't completely believe in the idea that if you want to see how a man will treat you, check out how he treats his mother because I know that in some cultures, a man may treat his mother beautifully but he has no problem beating his wife. But I do believe that how a person, not just a man but a woman as well, treats their mother reveals plenty about their personality and their way with humans. Someone who can't respect the person who bore them for nine painful, crazy, cruel months and then gave birth to them, risking their own life, is not worthy of my respect and shouldn't be worthy of anyone else's respect either (yes, this I strongly believe). I love this Qur'anic verse that says, "And don't say even uff to your parents." Don't complain when they ask your to do something for them. Who are we to complain about them when they tolerated us and bore with us all throughout our childhood--and even during our teenage years! Those stinky teenage years when we think our parents don't know anything, that they are stupid, that they are from another century, they're from another planet, they don't understand us, we're not related to them, and so on!
I look back at my childhood, and you know what, folks? Without my mother's support and love, I wouldn't have accomplished anything in life today that I have so far. I attribute it all entirely to my mother because it all started when I was a kid. You see, my mother was a teacher in Swat. She had influence. She had power. She had fans. She was so loved and respected that when I was in Pakistan this past summer, I wanted to cry with happiness about all the love she was getting from everyone, people I knew and people I didn't know; people who didn't know her personally but had heard about her; people she had paid charity to anonymously but they'd somehow found out and were s o grateful they wanted to give her their life. Now, since she was a teacher (she's well-educated, God bless her), she knew exactly what other female teachers were like. Because she didn't trust the public education system in Pakistan, being a teacher in it herself, she didn't want me being taught by them in a public school--or in a private school. So when I was 7 years old, she took me out of my cozy little box of 2nd grade where I had friends and a great teacher who loved me (she'd get me candies all the time, and she thought I was smart :D) and transferred me and my younger sister to a private school where--get this, kids--we were both placed in kindergarten!! Do you know how much I HATED that?!?! It was SO unfair! I was then like 3 years behind (don't worry - my smart mother made sure I caught up eventually, and it happened)! My younger sister hated going to school, so this private school was really good for her. My mom would give candies to her (my sister's) teacher in the public school and have her give those candies to my sister so that my sis would think they were from the teacher, and then she'd go to school with happiness, LOL. But that didn't last too long because somehow my sister figured out that my mom was the one behind it all :p
Now, note that my mother, a Pukhtun woman, was behind all of this transferring us to a private, all-male school, being in charge of our education. My principle and many of my teachers knew my mom, so no one ever mistreated us. When I first moved to this shool, there were hardly 10 girls in there. Then as more and more girls were enrolled in it and as some of those girls were starting to reach puberty or close to it, the school decided to hire female teachers and divide the school into two. A couple (or one?) of the female teachers had little babies, and they'd bring their babies to school and the female students would have to babysit them while the teachers chilled :S I told my mother this was the case, and she was furious. One of the main reasons she didn't want us to be taught by females was that she knew that women bring their children to school and disrupt the girls' education. So she called my principle and told him that she sent her daughters over to this school for a reason, and that reason was NOT to babysit anyone's babies but to get a good education, and if this school couldn't offer me that, she'd transfer us over to one of the other schools. The principle knew me and couldn't afford to lose me because--and pardon me for my "arrogance" or whatever (~blushing~)--I was always in a competition with this one male classmate of mine, and the teachers seem to have found immense delight in this and they loved it. I was one of the school's "shaanz" ... okay, okay, I'll stop here. geez. Anyway, so the principle promised he'd keep me and my sister in the male section of the school. And that's exactly what happened--to the point that at one point, I was the only female in an all-male school, and it was often embarrassing and SO lonely.
So that's my mother's influence right there. God bless her infinitely and grant her all the peace and happiness of this world and the next! Aameen.
Now, during school holidays (summer/winter), beloved readers, you know what my mother who loved education so much and wanted her daughters to be well-educated would do? She'd send me and younger sister to the schools in the neighborhood that were open during the time that our school was closed :S Oh this was cruelty at its peak! Yeah, since private schools are run privately, they don't have to follow the standard vacation times, so each private school had its own time when it gave vacations. But somehow, my sister and I didn't mind missing out on our holidays to attend another school. But it was good :) We'd make friends, and the girls would fight over who we were gonna sit with that day :D I still remember the names of some of those girls, and I still remember which habits I picked up from them. Oh, and the school didn't mind that we were going there (we didn't pay) because they knew my mother, and my mother had told them that she wanted to see how her daughters liked it there because if her daughters praised the school, she'd transfer us over there from our other school. We praised the school sooooooooo much to my mom, but for some reason, we didn't end up going there.
That's another of my wonderful mother's influences :)
So, as you can see, she valued education immensely. (She values it today just as much--but she begs me to get married because marriage is also important, and I tell her I'll get married as soon as God wills it so!) Every single day except Sundays, she'd gather me and my sisters with our books and all, and she'd have us study for like 2-3 hours. In summer holidays, she'd even gather my cousins! :D And they alll hated ittt! Well, I mean, who wouldn't, right? You wanna enjoy your holidays, but on one hand, your cruel teachers assign you sooo much homework, and on another hand, your mother forces you to study right in front of her and then read to her what you had read/studied/understood, and you wanna kill yourself. But it is only and only because of these study (or "tuition" as they are called in Pakistan) times that I was able to compete with a male classmate who was perhaps the most brilliant student in school, God preserve him and his intelligence. (I managed to get in touch with him now, and I hear he topped the Swat district in medical exams or something equally awesome!) To think I was competing with a student like this gives me a lot of confidence. And the only person because of whom I was able to do this is my mother, who made sure I was on top in everything, who made sure I had the highest position in all exams (and when my classmate would get first position and I'd get second, my mom would still be very supportive, but this was rare because we were often a tie; few times, I'd get 1st position and he 2nd, or he 1st and I 2nd), my mother who made sure I never brought home an A- when we came to the U.S. I so, SO need her right now because I have no motivation to do really well on my final papers :S
So, people, this is the woman, the most important woman in my life, whom I miss so much I get a headache thinking about her. Damn everything if I have to be away from her to accomplish my goals! I can't go home right now (the flight's in like 10 days), but I have decided I'll go home once a month for around 3 days starting next semester. That's the only way I'll survive the next few years, I think. I need to see my mother frequently. And, of course, I need to see Kashmala, too :) Ohhh, speaking of Kashmala - guess what I've come up with! this lovely Pukhto verse that goes like: Zama da zrra sar, da zrra takor - Kashmala ranra zamung da kor! (Translation: My love, my heartbeat, Kashmala is the light of our house!) Isn't it precious?! :D Thanks, I know.
Well, I think I should stop now. I have a lot --and I mean a LOT -- of work to do, but I just couldn't focus. I think it might have been because I miss my mother very much. I don't think I've prayed her as much as I've been praying for her lately. Thank you for joining me in praying for her (and your own mothers) as well. God bless you, too!
Oh, and why do I not talk about fathers here, you ask? Ohhhh, I still owe you that post on how I love my father for having let me go to Jordan for CLS and then even letting me get a PhD so physically far away from him, where I'm required to be independent (and I don't like this independence thing. I'm not used to it - aaaaa!), and this is not common especially with Puhktun families, even if in the west. But he let me come. And, no, I would not have come here, and I would not have gone to Jordan, if he had not agreed to my doing either. And I told him that I wouldn't go for either if he wasn't happy with it. So, yes, I miss my father miserably as well. But I'm thinking more of my mother for many different (personal) reasons.
But this is about my mother ... and we'll leave it at that. If you have a mother and/or you are physically with her right now, go hug her or do something that you know will make her happy. And remember that NO fight with a mother is worth it because chances are, if you are trying to "teach" her something or to get her to think like you, you are fooling yourself in believing that you can change the mentality of someone who's from a different generation than you, someone who has believed that way for at least 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or more years, and you are dumb enough to think that you can make her believe she was wrong all this time after all. If your intention is to grow closer to her, consider other ways; changing her isn't one of the more effective ones.
And enjoy this song while you're at it :) It's in Urdu/Hindi, and it praises a mother, one of the last lines saying, "The one who has a mother has everything."