Although Fall is my favorite season I do love summer. Warm sunshine, BBQ’s and festivals make my world go ‘round during the summer months. Last year my family and I attended the annual Muslim Summer Festival with thousands of other Ottawans.
It takes place at a park that backs on to a beach and with the 30-degree (celsius) weather we were having that day, I was certainly glad to take a break from the park and frolic in the water with my daughter. After some splish-splashing fun we decided to head for dry land and grab some food. While I was walking with my pants soaked to the knees, my daughter in one hand and our shoes in the other, a man with a camera approached me and said, “I just took a great shot of you with your daughter on the beach” and then proceeded to tell me it would likely be printed in the local paper. I was thrilled with our good fortune. Out of thousands of people we were lucky enough to have grabbed the eye of that photographer – what are the odds?
I browsed the online paper and found our picture there. The moment he had captured was of me catching my daughter (after throwing her up in the air) and we look so happy. I began to feel warm all over because I felt this one picture was a sincere representation of not just a moment in time but of my life as a whole. I have a daughter whom I adore, I enjoy being playful with her and life is good.
I often trip up on what I should be doing. Questions like “are you planning on going back to work?” always intensify an uncertainty within me that asks if I should be doing more than ‘just’ being a stay-at-home mom. This picture reminded me of the power I had let one four-letter word -just- control me with. This picture reminded me that I’m not ‘just’ a mom (whatever that means) but I’m the world to one little girl. And I’m not ‘just’ staying at home; I’m building a life for someone and with someone.
The funny thing is, that photo was one split second in my life but seeing it knocked the ‘just’ right out of me. Is my life perfect? Of course not. Do I feel I have enough? No. Is motherhood a honeymoon everyday? Certainly not. But am I happy? Absolutely. And therein lies the golden ticket. And all you have to do is reach for it.
Lena Hassan lives in Ottawa, Ontario and is a loving mother of one.