Or when you mean the world to your daughters …
Her elbow was bruised and swollen. As I wiped the tears from her cheeks, and wrapped her elbow in a bandage, I realised all she wanted was to be with me. I lay down by her side, and told her what a brave girl she had been for not screaming, and for letting me nurse her wound without much fuss. She put her other arm around my neck and with closed eyes, she whispered into my ear, “Put your hand over my bruise, Mama, I want the pain to go away.”
I covered her elbow with my hand, and within minutes, Zoya was asleep.
This is not the first time. And yet, every single time, I am amazed, fascinated and in complete awe. It seems my hand has a magical power that can heal her pain, and make it go away. Every time she gets hurt, all she wants is my hand on her wound, and somehow her pain seems to disappear. As Zoya drifts into sleep, my mind wanders. With my hand on Zoya’s bandage now, just my touch being so important to her, I couldn’t believe how special it was to have her by my side, and for me, to be her mother. I close my eyes and thank God for her.
I hear my helper, Tes, call out, “Zara, Zara, come quick, the bus will leave.”
Zara responds with “Mama! Mama!”
Having just settled down into my seat with my iPad to watch the previous night’s episode of a drama, I am a little annoyed. “Hadn’t we just gotten them ready for school?” I think to myself. I got up, thinking I would put them both in their place for the commotion.
“What is it, Zara, what’s wrong? Why are you calling out for me over and over again?”
She stood there with her presentation portfolio, looking anxious, and said:
“Do you think this blue clip is going with my dress? Am I looking okay for my presentation, or do you think I should change?”
Both her grandmother and aunt who were visiting from abroad reassured her, “Yes, Zara, you look fine.” My daughter’s eyes were fixed on me, searching desperately for an answer on my face – the answer that would make the difference.
“You look perfect, not overdressed; and that clip will add a little bit of fun, which is great”, I said.
Her expression relaxed, and she smiled, giving me a tight hug and kiss before running out of the house, like she does every day.
It has been a long day. Establishing a business while juggling a household can be very taxing, and sometimes, extremely difficult to manage. All I want is a can of Coca-Cola with which to chill on the sofa. I set my bag down on the table, and before I take off my shoes, both my daughters run towards me, each trying to get my attention.
Zoya is going swimming the next day, and she has been waiting to show me all the things she has taken out to pack. Zara has a bake sale for the Global Concern she supports the next day, and she is asking me how much change I think she needs to keep with her for it. My fatigue and exasperation is evident in my voice as I ask Zoya why she has not already packed as yet.
“Of course, Mama, you have to see which swimming costume I am taking, and make sure I have not forgotten anything.”
The “Of course” is what I should, of course, have realised myself. I smile, and without asking Zara much, I instruct her to go to the minimart and get change for fifty dollars.
It’s two o’clock at night and two eyes are looking right at me, a face right above mine. I get up quickly, knowing she is frightened, and wants me to sleep with her. Within five minutes of lying down with Zoya, Zara has come by and squeezed in with us. It is a tight fit, we can barely stay on the bed, but I love it. I close my eyes and savour this moment, which I have the fortune of having two to three times a week. I am already looking forward to the morning, when I will wake up with them around me, either kissing my face, or kicking each other in fun fights, or me screaming at them to get up so they won’t be late for school.
I stand in line at the cashier, waiting to pay for my items, with people ahead of me and behind me. I am just one of them.
I walk down the road, with not a second glance from anyone.
I sit at a café, with people moving all around me with cups of coffee in their hands. I am yet another coffee-drinker.
I am nothing. I am nobody. In all of these places, I am but one of many specks on this planet.
All of that changes, my existence and its meaning change as soon as I enter the brown, wooden door to my home. Suddenly, there are little feet pitter-pattering around me, hands touching my face, pulling me towards them – my daughters. There are arms around me, eyes which seek my facial expressions, and ears that want to hear only my voice.
But when I’m with my daughters – in their world, in their atmosphere and environment; all they see, all they need is me, me, and more me.
I make the difference.
My smile is reason for their joy, and my anxiety a prelude to their sadness.
I am the most important person in the world.
I am a mother.
Rabia stays involved in various social causes. Believing in creating equal opportunities for underprivileged kids, she helps The Citizens’ Foundation, Pakistan, to create awareness of the need for providing quality education to children. At the same time, she is also involved with Singapore-based VWO, 4PM’s Ramadan on Wheels project by supporting it through the FUCHSIA platform. At FUCHSIA, Rabia oversees the Marketing and Public Relations work. She is also part of the Editing Team in conceptualising articles and monthly issues.