I am writing about my mother today. The reason I am is because I find myself in the middle of a health scare that involves a lot of patience. Next week, I am going in for a procedure to determine whether I will need further treatment. Regardless of the outcome, I will still need surgery to treat the issue causing so much havoc on my body right now. I cannot share this information with my mom until I have all the facts and I hate not being able to. However, I don’t want to alarm her. She is already lost so much and I don’t want to put fears in her head that may turn out to be baseless. I am writing about her because I know that as I deal with this crisis, she will still be here in everything she taught me.
Mom tried for years to teach me the value of patience and growing up, I never imagined the value patience would hold in my adult years. My mother was a Palestinian woman who married my father and came to the United States at age 23. Three years later, I was born. By cultural standards, Mom was considered old when she got married. However, if not for Mom’s age, I don’t think she would have prepared for a life of hardship in a country that was all foreign to her.
Growing up, I watched Mom take hardship by the horns but that it is not say it took its toll on her. However, in those days, I never understood where her strength came from nor did I really grasp the role that she played in our lives. My mother kept her children close by and an example would be her walking us to school on a cold snowy day in Southeast Michigan. She often told us that about twenty years ago, she had a horrible dream that she had lost one of her children. In that dream, she was frantically screaming, “I lost one of my children!” It was once of the reasons she kept her children close by and growing up, I didn’t quite understand her reasoning behind that. As a mother myself now, I understand the fear a mother feels when her children leave her side and I understand the pain when she fears for their safety.
Reading this, you may think that my mother and I were close but the opposite is true. Mom and I never saw eye to eye and growing up, I often thought that my mother never really loved me. For that reason I rebelled and my rebellion was no secret. Being part of a close knit Arab community growing up, my actions were thought to be disgraceful to my family. It was probably the reason my parents married me off so young. These days, my mother is one of my closest friends and I confide in her more than I do my best friend or my sisters. However, getting to point took a lot of work on my part. The fact is my mother never changed – I did.
The reality is that my mother and I are more alike than I ever imagined. My strength, my stubbornness and my resilience are things I get from her – I owe some of that to genetics and some by watching her. Growing up, my mother tried to teach me the value of patience and some of that was based on her religious and cultural upbringing. To me, her views were nothing but prehistoric. Being a first generation American, the last thing I wanted to do was feel less American and different from my peers. I never wanted to believe that my mother was trying to teach how to survive and how to be a strong independent woman. Without that education, I couldn’t have overcome the obstacles I overcame nor could I have overcome them with strong patience and determination.
Immanuel Kant said, “Have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time; erelong she shall appear to vindicate thee.” Having done a research paper in college on Immanuel Kant, I recall how difficult his work was to interpret and this is a particular qoute that has stood with for quite some time. In fact, Kant’s work is deep and complex. My professor told me that he commended me for taking on such a difficult project and for successfully getting my point across. The fact is I understood Kant’s need to be different, deep and complex. In particular, that quote was everything my mother sought to teach me. Patience was something that I had to have in order to survive but I would also prevail and even when wronged, there would always be higher power to answer.
I may have a huge obstacle upcoming and I know that like everything else in my life, I can overcome and surpass. A part of me feels restless and I just feel like I am entitled to a break considering everything my kids and I have been through. However, I know that regardless of what happens, I will have the Almighty at my side and my mother’s life lessons to get me through and I will prevail.