My life revolves around building blocks and sticky hands, plastic cars and before-bed giggles, snack time sweets and wind-up trains, and days and nights immersed in the mind of a just turned two year old. Since my son was born I have been exploring this role called ‘mother’, trying to seek out my way, stumbling often, frustrated often, but always aware of the huge blessing and huge responsibility that comes wrapped up in the tiny package of my little boy.
I want for him all the good that I’ve had, and more. I want for him and long for him to heights I never aspired to for myself. If nothing else, motherhood is every intense feeling you’ve felt for yourself transposed to the one who is completely at your mercy and in your care. And it is a baring of your powerlessness before God, as you realize that even when you give your everything, it is only by Him that things can be accomplished.
I see pieces of my family when I look at him. He has his father’s eyelashes, his mother’s round face, his uncle’s spiky hair that grows around two swirls in the back and never seems to be even. He has his grandmother’s taste for Sunny Delight- though I’ve told her more times than I can count that it’s more sugar than juice- and he likes putting things in their proper place, just like his grandpa on his father’s side.
An imam who came to visit us when my son was first born made an interesting comment as he held him in his lap, smiling broadly at his less than week old face. He said that children, by and by, resemble every member of the family, each in its time. In this way they seem to give everyone their due right.
I remember the moments I spent, when he was first born, just looking at this tiny life in my arms, and wondering, Who are you little one? What will you grow up to be and do, and what type of person will you become? What type of man hid inside the boy?
I wonder and I worry about what qualities he will take on- what goodness he will absorb, and what faults will be an intrinsic a part of him, like the blood following in its marked path through his veins. What will he be given from the people he comes from, and what will he be compelled to take? Part of me wants to shield him from the very possibility that blood and genes, or the more nebulous tie of kinship and family, have a part in who he will be come, and to believe that he is entirely his own person. But another, more honest part of me whispers: Just as you see bits and pieces of others in his external appearance, so too will you see it in his character. Who he will be is tied, forever and always, with who he comes from. A realization I have to come to for myself.
I just hope and I pray that he is apportioned to from the good, and that the bad- the flaws and the weaknesses, the defects and shortcomings- are left behind to quietly slip away as time moves on. He is his own person, but I hope I see in him something from my sister’s free spirit, my mother’s soft heart, and my father’s brilliance; something from my husband’s discipline, my brother’s passion, and my mother in law’s love and concern for family. May everything that is good, noble and beautiful meet in his tiny frame. This is a mother’s prayer, and one I will continue to make even as I watch him grow.
Shazia lives in Cairo, Egypt and is the mother of a two year old boy. She writes for SuhaibWebb.com and blogs at cairocaprices.wordpress.com.