As I watch my friends around me have children I’m amazed with how much work and energy it requires. I am amazed that my parents oceans apart from their own parents raised us all by themselves. No advice from the “older and wiser” they had to do what they had to as brand new parents and in a new culture that they were learning along with us. Good parents are an amazing and special breed… Last week one of our friends came over for a party. Their son ran up to me smiling “salaam alaikum auntie aisha”. It was so sweet and it reminded me of my own parents and how all they had to do was look at me, much like his mom did, and I knew I had to do. As my parents very well know, I can easily list a string of all my gripes, but they’ve heard those enough… and really all the gripes I have resulted from their love, and worrying as they faced a culture they perhaps didn’t understand… I can’t say with certainty that I wouldn’t have done the same things…. So I wanted to say thanks….
Thank you for teaching me urdu and punjabi, and pretending you couldn’t understand us when we tested you by talking in English. By the way, I really did think you couldn’t understand us…surely it would have been easier to give in and speak English all the time. But you didn’t and thereby gave us a precious gift of bilinguilism… Thank you for not letting me watch cartoons in my formative years but letting me watch all the Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow I could stand and letting me read all the books I could find, and for reading to me every night before I went to sleep… I read so many of those stories to my students… and I used creative lisence like you did too… Thanks for never ending supplies of crayons, scissors, and glue. For making me feel that I truly was the most special girl you ever came across…elementary school was the hardest time of my life emotionally speaking… but having a warm home where I knew I was loved and was special is what saved me….For humoring me by wrapping up the cardboard boxes so I could play imagination. For sitting patiently as I serenaded you with songs I came up with, and watched skits we performed, and letting us help with chores even if we broke more dishes than we washed… For starting Islamic School in the back porch… and for making Eid so special by decorating the house with lights, for exchanging gifts, and making us never feel as though we were missing out on anything. There’s a song called Butterfly Kisses where the parent says “Oh with all that I’ve done I must have done something right to deserve her love every morning and butterfly kisses at night.” For all the times I’ve slammed my door growing up and we’ve argued and fought… for all that you did wrong, you did much much more right. I hope when the day comes, I will be able to follow in your formidable footsteps.