To My Ammi, Shagufta – with gratitude..
I am a Daddy’s girl, pampered and cared for by a man that loves me the most in the world and has made sure I live my life as a princess taking care of my every need from the time I was born until today when almost half of my life has passed.
However, I am the woman that I am today, because Allah was kind enough to bless me with Ammi. My mother is the eldest in 9 children, first of 6 sisters. She was brought up with the typical notion of ‘all women should be married by 20 and if she does not get married, how will her sisters take her place in the line’.. She was married in the 70s to a man she had hardly spoken to once before marriage but gave him all her love without asking for a penny. She brought 3 children into this world, third one being me and she was and still is a home maker. So, she did everything by the book as she was told or like many in her time told her was the right thing to do.
But Ammi- deep down was much more than what people expected her to be; she was a dreamer, a doer, an artist, a singer, a chef, a fashion designer, an accountant, a teacher, a mentor- all in one! She had the power to heal, heal her family with her touch, her love, her care in the most difficult of circumstances. She was a trusted partner, standing by my father, always smiling and prepared. She was our Google- much before Google ever existed, making everything right in an instant by finding the simplest answers to our most absurd questions. She had so much love to give us that some times it annoyed me as it does to a lot of children growing up.
Love in large amounts is often ignored or taken for granted and me, being no different did the same for 24 years that I was with her before my marriage. It was after I left my home, my privilege to be with her 24/7, my gift of seeing her every day, that I realized what my mother had given to me and if I can put it in one word. It is” resilience”. Ammi did not know the meaning of giving up and she never has in all my life that I have seen her. That was my one single weapon as I saw life outside the safety of my house of 24 years. Ammi never worked, never drove a car, never ran a business and even when she had a chance we were too selfish to let her go but she knew that she had a second chance of living that life through her daughter and she made sure I reach to a place where she wanted to reach. So she helped me, in every manner possible to reach that dream. Whether it was staying up night with me during my exams, or sitting at the back when I could not park the car right or taking care of my 11-month old daughter when I travelled for the first time to pitch my business to an international audience, she was always there.
I am 30 years old today, a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur, leading a business, studying on the weekends to complete my education. Running from morning to evening to reach my dream of doing everything at this moment, as if I have very little time in the world. Yet, I know a woman, my Ammi, who gave it all up for 4 other people in her life. She has lived her entire life working from dawn till dusk yet she has not even given a single day to herself. She has done the ultimate “compromise” that any one can ever do for the other person, her life, her beauty, her time, her dreams, her will and her needs. She still smiles, she still loves, she still forgives, she till hugs, she still tells me “Hojaiga!”, she still makes me dream more, she still shows how to not to give up every single day.
Ammi, today and every day you are my super hero- with magical powers to cure everything around you with just your touch!
YOU – Just a few years younger..