A tribute to all mums who gave up big things for the Jannah under their feet….
I swapped my precious sleep to feed you. And hush you. Listening to duas on the creaky chair we rocked. Back and forth. You, me and the phone, eagerly waiting for those burps, until it was nearly dawn.
I swapped Shukr Sajdas for giddy-up rides. Instead of unwinding and praying for the days to come, I held my breath and balanced you on my back. Forgetting all my hajaats that I wanted to ask.
I swapped buying pretty platters and crystal goblets for sterlisers and bottles. Containers, spill-proof bowls and Thermos flasks. More containers in all sizes and shapes, some with lids missing, but ready to hold your favourite snacks.
I swapped flouncy dresses and skirts for plain ol’ jeans, so I could slide with you on my lap. Make sand castles and climb on frames. Run. Run fast to catch you before you plunged into the muddy patch
I swapped clean car seats for Cheerios and raisins wedged along the seams. Sand and pom poms. Shovels and jigsaw pieces, creating a trail of the places we’d been. I dream of the day when the car will smell clean and I won’t have to find a rotting banana peel ever again.
I swapped pampering treatments for tickets to the zoo, indoor playground passes and ice skating classes. My skin and hair could wait, but the ‘firsts’ couldn’t be missed! The first time you saw a lemur when you were one. And the first time you saw it again when you turned two.
I swapped composed moments of sanity for thirty squeals of ‘Mummy!’ per minute. And my braincells seem to deplete every time I mediate the unrelenting ‘who-goes-first’ dispute. Or explain why bright pink shoes under an orange dress is just not cute!
I didn’t give up.
And I’m so glad I did.
Because every time I swapped, I got something greater instead.
I swapped a glistening sink for colourful hand prints. Paint stains and oatmeal clusters. Piles of dishes that seem to be growing from within. You see, the sink is just like my heart, both refill quickly with sticky love – oozing from you energetic spirit.
I swapped TV evenings so I could watch you sleep. Feel the softest skin. Fall in love with (real) eye lashes and dainty chins. I dream of Jannah with you, which I swear I can smell in your breath. And when you whisper those suras, you make me melt away right there.
I swapped years of studying, exams, assignments and research projects to stay at home with you. I researched the most nutritious recipes on Google. I self-imposed hilarious laundry deadlines every week (which I still do!). Solved spill mysteries at the fridge and still trying to come up with a break through theory or formula to ‘do it ALL‘. There was wisdom to be gained from watching you play. Creativity in finding ways to get you to eat and unparalleled sense of achievement and success when you first walked, talked, read or swung a hula hoop.
I swapped treating people with real disabilities to kiss booboos on your knees. Pick you up or stop you from falling – contradicting all known manual handling policies. Cuddle rag dolls and bandage sick bears. Witness the power within me to heal and care.
I swapped making assumptions and judgements for tolerance and empathy towards others. Boy was I wrong about the things I thought I’d ‘NEVER EVER do’! Only you could make me see how inadequate I was, so little and unworthy. A tiny tiny imperfect sinful speck in the vastness of His perfect realm.
I swapped creating an illusory life for a more lived-in today. Because you didn’t care if the cushions matched or if they’d just been fluffed. They were there for obstacle races and pillow fights. There is a deep-found value for some £xp£nsiv£ things these days. ‘A mother raises kids not collects things!’ my clever Mummy always says.
I swapped unappreciative thoughts for proliferating gratitude for my own parents. I must kiss their feet for all they did. Not just two, but for four seriously looney kids! I want to grow up to be JUST LIKE MY MUM I remind myself everyday.
Oh my Rabb, have mercy on them, keep them close and let them stay here with me longer. Much much longer. I promise not to ask for much after that.
I swapped lie-ins for kicks and nudges – at six on a Sunday morning! You came to our bed bringing dolls and blankies. I tried to catch some sleep, but there was simply no peace! Only love. Morning breath love, as you told me the funniest stories from your dreams. Does Jannah really get more beautiful than this?
I swapped predictability for the constant called ‘change’. So much changed. My body, my know-it-all opinions, my feelings and my prayers. You fed at all the wrong times and you never pooped as we thought you should. In the whirl of all the changes we’ve had – countries, seasons, houses, friends, Jake and the Neverland fantasies to becoming a Spider-Man, fav colour pink to turqoiuse blue and back to pink, …
one beautiful thing never changed – Allah is and will remain our ONLY constant, through and through!
It seems, I swapped very little in the bigger scale of things….
So on this Mother’s day, when I’m made to swap a lie in to flip pancakes at the hob, or swap my half-bitten cookie for a chocolatey smile or even nothing in return, my little darlings Z and Z, it’ll be my pleasure to transact with you over and over again, because don’t you see, you’re everything I ever wanted….