By Zehra Kamal
June 21, 2015
If you are fortunate enough, you will grow up with two supportive parents and live a happy, fulfilling life under their guidance and watchful eye. If you are even more blessed, you will be raised by one strong, courageous woman, who stands by you regardless of what the world has to say.
That woman is my mother.
There are two sentiments in life I never want associated with me: pity and hatred. Why? Because my mother never introduced me to them and her judgment is one I will not question. So today, as I write this piece and dedicate it to the woman I owe, quite literally, my life to, be assured that it is not to gain sympathy. It is simply to tell my story which would be insipid and so very incomplete without her.
Having lost our father at a very young age, my siblings and I were thrown into a life of confusion, despair and inescapable distress, as is natural. It was too soon, and it was not fair. No one had warned us for the life that lay ahead, but, as time moved on and the reality of the situation sunk in, I saw in front of me a woman I had never seen before.
A woman unaffected by the world’s pointing fingers, unnecessary whispers and crude comments. I saw in my mother a woman who knew that this life had thrown her a rude curve ball, and although unprepared, she would need to move on, not for herself, but for the children that she held so near and dear to her.
I saw in her the resilience of a woman who had made up her mind to never strike out.
For years now, I have seen my mother support us in every way possible. She is determined, if not outspoken. She is brave, if not fierce. Her silent reserve and will power to see through the best and worst of us is more often than not mistaken for her weakness.
See, the problem with people is that they always need someone to talk about, and a single woman managing to raise three not so bratty children was an easy, soft, target. Their problem with my mother was that she trusted her children too much. Her loyalty to her children, as ridiculous as it sounds, was, and perhaps still is, the reason behind people’s discontent.
But my mother never let them get to her.
She stood by us.
She stood by us through thick and thin, celebrating our wins, motivating and steering us out of our losses, proudly supporting us come what may.
She never backed down.
She took on the world for us and with us, valiantly replacing the emptiness in our lives with strength, love and resolution. My mother, so patient, calm and affectionate, became both parents for three young, unguarded children, and never once did she flinch at the magnitude of this responsibility; never once did she express her loneliness; never once did she put herself before us; never once did she go against us.
This Father’s Day, while the world pays tribute to all the amazing fathers of this world, I choose to celebrate the parent who continues to fight for me every day. I choose to honour the parent who sacrificed everything for me and my siblings. I choose to acknowledge the strength and courage of a woman who rose above all criticism to raise successful, spirited children. I choose to recognise my closest friend and her unmatched strength; this Father’s Day, I choose to celebrate my mom.
Zehra Kamal is an avid reader, keen writer, political enthusiast and cricket aficionado with a Bachelors in International Development Studies from the University of Guelph, Canada.