Today you came to me and showed me how to remove the cheese slice from the wrapping without breaking it. Because you like the entire square intact.
Little Hasan, you’re growing up.
Every day, I watch you grow up in tiny, imperceptible ways. I notice the change in your tone, in your manner of speaking. How you assert your opinion, instead of just throwing a tantrum. I notice how you want more details, more logical answers to questions. I see you rising like the sun and I’m filled with wonder. Awe.
I could never perhaps, be the kind of mother I wanted to be. I could never be the happiest mom on earth, the doting mother, the sacrificing mother. Perhaps I’d never be the woman who gets everything done on time, in the most patient manner. I was perhaps never cut out to be a mother at all.
But the older you grow, the more I wonder at motherhood. It makes me feel things I’ve never felt before. Because I see you develop into yourself, develop more fully into a human being.
For it is not enough to be born human; we must grow into one as well.
You’re growing into a human now, a human who has been given to me— to love to protect, to nurture. But never to control.
Dear boy, this is what I want to tell you, whenever you read this.
I wish to be the mother who learns from you. Never the mother who is irked by ‘young upstarts telling her how to do things better’. I wish to be the mother who is contradicted by you. Never the mother who cannot stand ‘being talked back to’. I want to be the mother who sees the world in a new light, and the light is shown by you.
I want you to be your own person, little boy. I want you to be you.
Just as I want me to be me, as well.
I have always guarded my independence and my identity, my dreams and my aspirations, and never wished to dissolve entirely into the role of mother or wife. And that is why, I think, I cannot look upon you only as my son. You are your own person. An individual. A human. And it fills me with awe and wonder. Beyond being my son, you are someone who has two eyes, two ears, a nose, two hands, two feet—and a brain and heart. All distinct from mine. Why should you see, hear, smell, touch, think and feel the way I do?
I do not wish to see you develop into an image or shadow of me. Why should you? God made you into a distinct individual, with your own destiny. There was a time, little boy, when all I wanted was to be who my father wanted me to be. He was the one who was most proud of me, the one who most pushed me to achieve. And then, somewhere along the journey, I realised that my dreams are my own. I have a path to follow, a destination to reach. And that doesn’t belong to my father; it belongs to me. That was when I cut loose from the dream of being an officer of the law, like him. That was when I went on to explore who it was that I actually wanted to be.
I am my own person. A person who takes her own decisions and becomes who she wants to be. I am not my father’s shadow, and I’m sure he would never want me to be a shadow at all—anybody’s. We were all put on this earth with our own distinct minds and hearts and senses, to reach out to our destinations and fulfil our destiny.
And that, dear one, is why I hope you’ll show me new facets of the world through your eyes. Filling me with even more awe, for the human that you become.
The umbilical chord is severed at birth, my son. Because that is the end of you being an extension of me.
Now you have come out into the world.
Now be whoever you wish to be.