Although it is not Mother’s Day in my home country, I celebrate this strong-ass woman every day and every time I get the chance to.
She is strong; she is soft. She is tough; she is fragile. She is my best friend; she is my mother.
Dear readers, life’s bumpy rides and its twisted ways and unexpected turns landed a young woman in her mid-20s in a place and a time where she had to rise up, overcome and raise a young daughter in a conservative paternalistic screwed-up society.
My mother had to raise me during my early childhood, and halfway through my toughest adolescent years, all on her own, in tough conditions and in a hostile environment: an Arab environment in a culture where being a single mom is not acceptable even to close family members and friends.
She had to be a mom and a dad; a shoulder to cry on, and a source of strength and power; a soft heart to carry my pains, and a tough mind to be firm when she must; a source of security, and a source of love—all while juggling her own problems and her personal growth, change, and maturity journey.
A woman in her mid-20s, so young, so naïve, having not seen what the world has to offer, had to rise up to a challenge. A challenge that could make her or break her—a challenge that sharpened her edges, made her stronger, and selfless.
Today, I want to share with you what I learned from this phenomenal human being who I proudly, luckily, and happily call my mother/best friend (a Lorelei/Rory kind of relationship, if you know, you know):
Strength and willpower.
From her, I learned that nothing can stop me if I set my mind on something. I can and will achieve wonders once I hit the start button in every journey.
Consistency is key (perseverance).
She was so consistent with the way she raised me, she walked through the fire, she fell, she got up, but she was always there—consistent in her love and care, no matter what. I definitely got that from my momma.
Ignoring gossip, bullying, and useless chitchats.
Having to be a single mom in an oriental patriarchal society has definitely made her talk of the town for a while, even from the closest people. She put her metaphorical earplugs, shut those sounds down, and bulldozed life and what came with the package of raising a child alone, literally, for a while.
Standing up to what one believes in.
She stood up to her oppressors, she paved her way, got jobs to support me, and retaliated against every soul who ever judged her, did her wrong, didn’t let her speak or hurt her in any way.
Staying faithful and truthful in everything one does.
She taught me to turn my words into action and to believe in myself and in my dreams. She remained faithful to what she believed in despite all the setbacks and obstacles.
Put my time and effort into the right people and places.
I am an impatient being who is learning with her mother to let things flow, take their toll on me, embracing a situation, investing time in the people and places I believe my happiness comes from.
To always and no matter what protect myself and my emotions.
Life made her face so many deceptions, backstabbing, hurt, and mistrust. She cocooned, surrounded herself with a protective aura, halo just like bubble boy, which kept her relatively safe and kept her going and strong.
Accepting what life hits you with and working around it.
Life is a b*tch sometimes, and we all know that oftentimes, things don’t go the way we envisioned, planned, or anticipated. With everything she faced, she grabbed every surprise, every change, every sudden detour, and every major slap in life, kicked it in the nuts, and found a way to use it to become a better version of herself. She made lemonade out of lemons.
Verbalizing my fears and concerns.
Nobody lives inside of our heads; our minds are not readable and clear—no matter how easy and obvious it could be for us. Every person needs an explanation and an understanding; every person has a different perspective; every person has a mind of his own; I should verbalize, say what I want, what I feel.
Loving (those who prove worthy and loyal) unconditionally.
She chooses her people carefully, she takes her time but when she lets someone into her territory, when she opens the door to her mind and soul, she is a gem, a jewel. She gives and loves as strong and steady as the scars that made her who she is today—a major life lesson for me.
Selflessness, which I honestly think is the hardest.
The list goes on and on, but the article must end. She put me first in almost every possible situation. Ever since she became a parent, she prioritized me over herself, she was selfless, a step I am definitely not ready for in my life and while I get the luxury to choose that, she couldn’t. She put me first.
So mom, thank you for the fact that at some point in my life, you were my mom and my dad; you were a support to my mind and heart. Thank you for being you and for raising me right. Thank you for not compromising with what you wanted and what you believed in.
Happy Mother’s Day, my warrior.