The mood switch in her head tripped. I should have expected it. She was the perfect little girl until that moment. Evening drew near and with it a rumbling stomach, a tired body. She had a long day at school, rehearsing for the end of term concert. She came home excited to tell me all that she had learned. Singing with her little voice, I was proud she knew all the words. As the day waned, I tired as she did too. My patience grew weary as I thrust her dinner plate close to her face. I told her to eat quickly and not to make a fuss. She had to be in bed soon or she would miss the morning bus. Her wide eyes puzzled, she wondered why I was speaking in rhyme, my voice cold talking about less time.
“Mama why are you making that face?” she asked “What face?” I challenged. “That mean face.” This only angered me more as I was done with her crass and sent her to bed, hoping for some peace at last.
“Mama lie down with me please” She asked me softly. Momentarily I melted and it felt good to cuddle her close. As her breathing steadied into a rhythm, her warm breath on my neck, I started to calm. I realized it was my mood that had changed, my switch that kept triggering without any alarm. It was a brief moment of clarity however, as the serenity was gone. My daughter kept tossing and turning. My fury started to escape.
“Just go to sleep!” I yelled.
“It’s late!” I cried.
“You’ll miss your concert!” I threatened.
She looked up at me with her big brown eyes. As the tears rolled down her face, I knew I was crushing this little girl’s spirit. I knew I was crushing my own. I was becoming the monster I threatened her with all the time. But I was stuck. My ego was stuck. I couldn’t get out of my shell to hug her and kiss her and tell her it was alright. So she went to sleep with tear stains down her cheeks.
The next morning she awoke, tentatively approached me, wondering how I would be. I wrapped her around my arms as we kissed and giggled with glee.
“I thought you were angry with me, Mama” my beautiful daughter asked out loud. “I am sorry my darling, Mama is not proud”
As she made her way to school this morning, I prayed to God to give me strength, to give me patience and forbearance. I promised myself I would hold her more, tell her she is loved more, and teach her as I teach myself that anger is not worth a dime.
Then I heard the blast.
Her little voice stuck in my head, singing the songs she never would again; remembering her saying “I love you Mama”, her bright eyes twinkling one last time.
Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un (“Surely we belong to God and to Him shall we return” Source: Quran Surat Al Baqarah 2:156)
I pray for the lives of all the innocent children and hard-working teachers and staff that were lost today in Peshawar, Pakistan in one of the most senseless and barbaric tragedies incited & executed by the Taliban. They claimed they wanted revenge, so they murdered our children? What will it take for the country to unite, for the world to unite to rid us of this evil? This has nothing to do with religion. This is not Islam, they DO NOT represent Islam. This is about humanity. Each child was our son, daughter, brother and sister; each teacher our friend. Their lives were NOT lost in vain. These souls are our saviours. They will bring the light.
If this abhorrent, inhumane, unjust act of terror cannot bring us together to dispel of this repugnant evil, then we deserve to stay in this darkness.
I have been mourning along with the world, connecting with other mourners over social media, frustrated not knowing how I can help. Having a child who I dropped off to school this morning, this has hit me right in my soul. Writing this story was the only way to help me through this. It was the most difficult thing I have ever written. But maybe it will make a difference to somebody, help in some small measure. Please think of ways you can help too.
My heart goes out to all the families who have lost their precious ones today. I pray for your resilience and know that I mourn with you. For the rest of us, when we go back to “normalcy” and shut our emotions away, a reminder to put an alarm on our smartphones to break-free once in a while and SHOW our loved ones we care.
Be passionate, be positive, be there.