There was a time in life where all I had to worry about was myself. School, homework, teachers, friends, peer pressure, fashion, parents, etc. Everything that only related to ME. Then marriage happened.
With marriage came a new perspective in life, a new dimension. Knowing someone and living with someone are two very different things. You have a partner in crime, someone whose opinion matters sometimes more than your own; someone to cook with, and do the dishes with.
And then, sometimes even before you get used to the new, married dynamic of life, you get some special news through two lines on that stick. PREGNANT. BABY. And your entire world is spun into a whirlwind.
If marriage is a different perspective on life, then having a child IS a different life. A whole new world in which you basically come last. And you wouldn’t have it any other way. So this is a love letter to my two children, a list of things I want them to know throughout their lives:
1. Your Opinion Matters
I know that as a child, the tools on offer for decision making are quite limited. So many grownups who know what they are doing and trying to squash down your ideas. It gets frustrating. But just know….it doesn’t end there. You might have friends or acquaintances who think that only their opinions matter. And that isn’t true. Be a loud and clear voice. If you think your opinion is worth talking about, do it. But do the research, educate yourself, and in voicing your opinion, educate others as well.
2. Do Well And Do Good
Of course as your mother, I want you to get the highest grades that you can, and get into an amazing university. However, I want it to be so that whatever you achieve, you make the world a little better with your achievements and skills. If you work hard enough, you have the power to make your own dreams come true. But a step above that, would be to help others achieve their dreams.
3. Be Humble
Arrogance is a dangerous thing. It’s also very easy to get this way if life is constantly kind to us. But ground yourself in prayer. When your forehead touches the ground in salat, what can be more grounding than that? Thank Allah for every single thing in your life, and be humbled about how blessed you are. Allow that truth to wash over you and take every speck of arrogance away. It will leave you humble, and able to do more good in the world.
4. Material Things Do Not Matter
Trust me when I say, I know how difficult it is to want something you can’t afford. That designer purse everyone seems to have, the shiny car a friend just got, just anything! But this goes hand in hand with being humble and grounding yourself. Think of all the things you DO have. The very basic of things that everyone in this world should have. A roof over your head, food to eat, clothes, a bed. Also, trust me when I say that I have every intention of taking you both on trips to help the less fortunate. These experiences have a way of ridding your mind of the whole “I never have what they have” mentality.
5. Love Means Respect
Love and respect are both a two-way street. If you love someone who has no respect for you, better believe their love for you is out the window as well. And you deserve more, which sounds like a cliché but it is true. YOU deserve to have a partner who not only speaks their love, but shows it as well. Love and respect for your opinions, your experiences, your thoughts, and your body is non-negotiable. It is also equally important that you reciprocate your love and respect. I will run through halls of fire to protect you from anyone who might hurt you. But I will also do the exact thing to make sure you are not doing the hurting.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
Making mistakes is crucial to learning in life. As a mother, I wouldn’t want you to make any mistakes that could potentially harm you. But as a person, I know how important it is to fall down and be able to get back up. Just know that when you do get back up, you are stronger and little wiser. So when you are older and making those decisions on your own, sometimes those decisions might be a mistake. And you could get hurt. But I will be here always to comfort you and guide you.
7. Accept And Own Your Mistakes
I have seen many a people in complete denial about the mistakes they have made. Which basically means they didn’t learn from them or are ashamed of them. Not good. I myself have done things that I am not proud of, yet I learned from them. I hurt people along my way, but I owned up to my mistakes and apologized. And I will expect nothing less from you. You hurt anyone, even if it’s someone you are not particularly fond of, you apologize for that hurt you caused. Some people will say, “your apology means nothing.” And yes, sometimes words are empty. However, there can be so much heart in that small phrase, “I’m sorry.” A small phrase that morphs into a huge lesson and requires maturity. So be mature, own up, and accept your faults.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Dream And Dream Big
I had many of my big career ideas shot down with excuses that they were too big for me to achieve. Don’t let people do that to you. Though I will be your biggest cheerleader, other people may not be. Unfortunately, we live in world where sometimes, some individuals will want to see you fail. And while failure is a part of life, we cannot stay in that frame of mind. Let the negative comments and ideas roll off of you. Surround yourself with optimism and people who also have big dreams. Anything can be achieved when you work hard (like really, really hard) and have genuine love and support.
9. Own Your Emotions
For my oldest, my daughter. The world will tell you to stop being such a girl when you cry. To stop being dramatic and stop being emotional and crazy. Don’t listen to them. To my youngest, my son. The world will tell you to stop being a little girl when you cry, to man up and grow a pair. Don’t listen to them. To both of you: Own your anger and your sadness. Channel them the right way and see what magic comes of it. When you are happy, you add more light and color into the world. When you are angry, do what your father says and drink cold water, and remember Allah in that moment. He knows you even better than I do. Pray for calmness and peace to be replaced into your heart. And when you cry, release the pain your mind and body hold. It’s toxic to hold onto that. Let it go and be happy again.
10. I Will Love You No Matter What
Also, a cliché, but it comes from my heart and from every fiber of my being. No matter what you do in life, what you achieve, what mistakes you make, I will always love you. Even if I am not here in your world anymore, I will be present in your heart to love you and to guide you. Don’t forget that, my loves.