Three days before my mom comes to visit me I think its about time to give her the recognition and shout out she more than deserves. I’ve written previously about my father and his absence in my life, but whats made me who I am today is my mom and her presence.
My mom and I are incredibly alike, and I say that with the utmost pride because I think my mom is an awesome human being. If there is anyone I’d ever want to be like, its her. We look a lot alike, we sound a lot alike, and we think a lot alike.
When my father left us she had to pick up the pieces. Not only did she have to deal with her own emotional fall-out but she did everything she could to shield me from the pain as well. She picked herself up, sent me down to Arizona to be with my grandparent’s, packed up our house,and moved us into her mom’s house while I was away. After that she moved us from Minnesota to Wisconsin and began studying to be a nurse, her life-long dream. Being so young I never understood exactly what my mom sacrificed to support me; she was a full-time student, a full-time employee (or sometimes only a 3/4 time employee), and a full-time mom. Sure I was a latch-key kid but looking back I don’t think I really missed out on having a mom because she was always there when I needed her.
Every summer she would send me back to Minnesota, and what I never saw but she told me later is that during those summers she would find and work every part-time paying job she could find, even working in a cheese factory on a factory line, in order to save up extra money for the coming school-year. There were many lean years, one Christmas there wasn’t enough money for Christmas gifts and our name was put on a list at our church and one of the families filled the space under our Christmas tree. During these years my father did nothing to help us, didn’t send money, didn’t send gifts, I don’t ever really remember him even calling me; mom took his place and she made a pretty darn good father as well. What we lacked in material things we made up for in love. That sounds sappy and cliche but it really was true.
I hated Wisconsin for a myriad of reasons, and even though she loved the community there and the church we attended she moved us back to Minnesota as soon as she graduated from Nursing school because she knew I wanted to go home. I was a horrible pain in the ass those years, but every kid goes through those. I know she hasn’t found a church that she loves as much as she loved Christ the Rock, and it makes me sad. I can’t really say that I miss Wisconsin though… there’s that selfish kid again I suppose.
We moved back to my home town because I had this silly idea that I wanted to go back to the only place I remember being happy, Forest Lake. My mom commuted into the Twin Cities every night for her night shift at the hospital and she would drive home 45 minutes tired and sleepy, so that I could be back in FL. I know she’s going to say that she did it as well because the rent was cheaper up there, but she did it for me.
So many things that she’s done in life, she done for me. I can only pray that I am as good and selfless as a mother for my own children one day as my mother has been for me.
We’ve had our hard time, our hard years. We’ve had our share of huge fights- what mother-daughter relationship hasn’t? But I can honestly say she is my best friend.
When I converted to Islam the one person I really thought about it impacting, and feeling bad about it, was my mom. I am an only child and so my mom doesn’t have any other chance of grandchildren except through me (and possibly if she marries again to a man with children of his own but that wouldn’t be the same) and it makes me feel sad that all the religiously-tinted things she did for me like Easter baskets won’t be the same if we have them at all.
But she’s the first person I told out of the family, the only one who knew (for certain) for months if not years before anyone else. In fact my mom knew at least a year before I even told Oogie who is one of my best friends. And she knew me so well. When I told her, the morning I was driving her to surgery, before I even told her she said, “don’t tell me… you’re Muslim.”
And after that she’s been my biggest support, sure she was disappointed being a firm born-again Christian herself, and we try to avoid getting too in-depth about religious differences, but despite these things she is my biggest defendant. When family or acquaintances of the family malign my choice in religion she defends me, and she has even defended Islam against pre-conceived misconceptions when she knows what the truth is. And she is my biggest cheerleader as well, when I moved to Arizona she whole-heartedly supported me, and when I moved here to Egypt she again whole-heartedly supported me and she continues to support me in every way she can. About once a month she packs up a care package to send to me from home filled with goodies and gifts, sweets, necessities, shoes for my poor plantar-faciitised feet, and things for my husband and his family. On Eid el Fitr she sent two packages with extra gifts for my husband’s family. One cannot imagine just how much her support and gifts have kept me sane while here. In fact, how much her support has kept me sane in life.
Almost everyone who knows my mom says to me, “wow, you’re mom is really cool.” And I smile and nod because I know that what they saw is only the tip of the iceberg on how wonderful she really is.
My friend Rahma, a convert like me, met my mom the other day and she sent me an email that said, “Your mom is very cool. You’re so lucky to have someone so understanding.”
I am lucky. So, so, so lucky that I got her as a mom. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to have been born to. So when people say that we’re alike, I say thank you.
Cuz my mom is the coolest person in the world.
I love you mom.