It is the first time I am taking her out. I am nervous how she will be in the car. I pack her diapers and extra clothes for the trip in case she wets herself. I grab some snacks and food for her dinner. It is only a two-hour drive, but I want to make it a smooth ride for her. Once I have gathered all her things, she is ready to be put in the car. I carefully lift her up and gently place her into the car, buckling her into her seat. We are finally ready to head out. This is my mother’s first day out since she was hospitalized for multiple strokes. Although she is a full-grown adult, it feels as if I am taking care of a third child.
My eldest is seven and the little one is four. They definitely keep me very busy throughout the day. All day long, I play chef, chauffer, stylist, hairdresser, teacher, cleaning lady, launderer, nurse, personal shopper, and many more self-proclaimed titles. Doing these things comes with the territory of being a mother, but how about being a daughter?
Now my mother is home recovering. Alhumdullilah (All Praise to God), she did not suffer any major damage, such as paralysis. Still the strokes have left her weak and dependent on others. She cannot be left unattended and needs assistance with many everyday tasks. She must use a walker to stand and move around, as her legs are not quiet mobile on their own. She has less control over the lower half of her body now, and her bladder has been affected, requiring adult diapers at all times.
I remember having to wake up at night change my kids’ diapers, but nothing compares to doing it for your parent. I downloaded baby monitor apps on our smart phones so that I can hear her as soon as she calls me at night from her room. Every night as I change and clean her, I hold myself back from crying for this new relationship Allah has chosen for us. I’ve gone from being taken care of by my mom my whole life to having to take care of her in her old age. It is a hard reality to face, as no one wants to see a parent in such a state.
However, this is Allah’s will and design. Allah tells us in the Quran “Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and do good to parents. If any of them or both of them reach old age, do not say to them ‘uf’ and do not scold them and address them with respectful words, and submit yourself before them in humility out of compassion, and say, ‘My Lord, be merciful to them as they have brought me up in my childhood” (Surah Isra, V. 23-24).
There are times when things seem so hard, and I feel as if I cannot bear any more. Yet, I know Allah will not test me with more than I can handle. He affirms this in the Quran, saying that indeed with hardship there is ease (Surah Inshirah, V. 5-6). I must be patient and understanding through this trying time, as my mother’s test is much more difficult than mine. I must see it as an opportunity to serve my mother when she needs me the most. I am also setting an example for my children who are with me along the way, watching, learning, absorbing what life really is. I cannot truly grow as a mother until I have become the daughter that I am supposed to be. May Allah not lessen our loads, but instead strengthen our backs so we may bear them.
Tayyaba is a freelance journalist from Illinois. She has been featured on NPR and writes for numerous publications. She also speaks about marriage and family. Most importantly, she is blessed to be a mother of two little adventurers and blogs at www.tayyabasyed.blogspot.com.