I have always been scared. Growing up, my peers would never have guessed. Valedictorian of my high school and undergraduate classes, cross country and crew team medalist, and voted Most Likely to Succeed, I certainly did not seem scared. But I was terrified.
I remember after my first day in the grade six Gifted Program, I sat on the stairs, crying, and told my mom that I did not belong in the program because I couldn’t understand algebra. Fast forward over ten years later, I came home to my mom from my first day of my Masters program distressed and in tears again. However, this time I was convinced that I would never be able to read journal articles. Fast-forward about two years later, I held a positive pregnancy test and felt more frightened than ever. Motherhood? Needless to say, I figured out the X’s and Y’s in algebra, I learned to read (and write) journal articles, and I am finally getting into the groove of motherhood.
But lately I have been experiencing a new fear: I feel like I’m not sure where I’m going with my life. After an all-consuming first 20 months of motherhood, I’m finally seeing daylight again and am not quite sure what to do now that I can see my pre-motherhood dreams again. Go back to school and finish my PhD? Work? Have another baby? None of the options seem to quite fit and it is making me feel suffocated and afraid. Meanwhile, a little voice is telling me I have enough on my plate and I will not be able to handle more. If only my classmates could see me now. I certainly don’t feel Most Likely to Succeed.Deep in my thoughts, I decided to take Ibrahim, my 20-month-old son, for a walk to the park. After playing on the slide and swings, we ran over to the grass where Ibrahim laid down. He motioned for me to lie down next to him. With our heads touching, we looked up at the sky together. His little hand felt for mine and he gave my hand a squeeze, laughing.
It was a magical moment. It was as if he was reminding me not to forget where my success truly lay: in contentment. Instead of anxiously worrying over the future, I was better off soaking up the present and thanking Allah for it. Not only that, but his little laugh reminded me not to lose hope in Allah and His perfectly crafted plan for me. A companion once asked the Prophet (pbuh) whether Allah laughs. The Prophet (pbuh) answered, “Yes”, after which the companion remarked, “We will never be deprived of good by a Lord who laughs.” As long as I remember Allah as I make my choices, I am confident that Allah would be by my side.
Turning to look at my son, he looked into my eyes. While I could see a twinkle in his eyes, I could also see fear, hopes, and dreams. Still holding hands, we looked up and I knew that no matter what path I chose, I had Allah and my little sidekick Ibrahim by my side.
Bushra is from Toronto, Canada. She has a Master’s degree in business and has now put her Phd in Organizational Behaviour on hold to stay at home with her toddler, Ibrahim. She loves to write because, unlike toddlers, writing makes sense.