From the last post: However, it hasn’t been so merry for me. A flood of emotions, doubt, and fear has surfaced and this has been an interesting ride.
LET US CONTINUE……
I stood by the door tapping my feet waiting, as usual, for the teenager. She came down the hall and as my eyes focused I realized she was wearing a hajib. – she very calmly walked past me and came on out the house. I was still standing at the door.
Thus began the manifestation of our conversation. The roller coaster had reached the top – HOLD ON! We bout to go over.
As we have moved along this track, I have found myself having a waterfall of emotions. Some justified some not. Ya’ll know that all roads ultimately lead to me – surprisingly I was having some feelings that I didn’t know would arise.
I sent her picture to my dear dear husband and he wrote back: Al-Humdulalah . I am now convinced my Daddy sent him to me – some of them do not know……they just are.
This is a different climate in America. Islam and Muslims are under various forms of attack and here comes my child wanting to ‘display’ her religious preference. I wasn’t quite sure how to digest that. I have been on HIGH ALERT. Our first outing was to the yogurt shop grand opening. I saw the looks, the stares and I was so ready to fight. All of my motherhood instincts flooded over me with so much power, I actually felt myself become a lioness.
When she was small, I had several episodes of bewilderment and wonder at was she actually my daughter. Open stares to whispers that her daddy was white, how did I have her, was I the nanny. I don’t speak on that a lot, but it sent me for a head trip for awhile – now I stand dressed and looking like me…next to her – who with her head covered does not look like black young girl muslim, she looks like a young arab and that makes us look…different.
There was and are moments of me mourning my dream that was to be lived through her. I feed into what they tell us to feed into as well. Her whole life flashed before me – who would she marry? Would she be someone’s wife number ___? What about my chances for Grand Children? Rolling it back a bit What about the prom? What about the fun I wanted her to have at college? What about the whimsy and joy of finding out about boys?
“Mom – I am more beautiful inside, I want to be adored and respected for my insides and for my beauty in being modest” – the teacher becomes the student as I am just upset that her American Definition of Beauty which she has 10 fold is now all covered up. Then I thought, I don’t know what that feels like to be judged on your looks, this nurturing of her soul, has upped her confidence, she is beautiful from the inside out. besdies she will let me brush her locks…sometimes, lol
Shame that I failed in that area, and Shame that I am who I am. How do I walk beside the civilized, be civilized myself but in a different costume? Did I totally fail her as a parent? I have been exposed – now comes the real test.
We are now ‘successfully’ living in a household with THREE different Religious paths and we have yet to clash. We’ve all sacrificed something and it helps that we all are bonded by our belief in God and our Spiritual base. If there is something you need to do for you, then do it – but respect that at any time 2/3rds of us won’t be joining you. So far it works. Though being the most heathen out the group – I will tag on to Reggie and ask him to throw one in the collection plate for me. He tends to agree, lol
I’m not going for parent of the year, I’m just trying to parent. This child is growing and changing and expanding before my eyes. My role is changing and morphing on how to parent . It’s a plus I am not a follower – because it is not compulsory, she is choosing which gives you FREEDOM.
Then it hit me – I have raised her. She is glowing, she is beautiful, she is confident, she is strong, she is civilized, she is compassionate. She is expressing herself, she’s enjoying High School, she has great supportive friends, she is respected by adults from all walks of life, Children LOVE her , she has a bright future ahead of her – I helped with that. She is who I wish I were and who I strive to be everyday.
This week she began wearing her Hajib to School. She’s taken all kinds of modelesque pictures and great pictures with her friends. Life goes on.
She’s out of her room, she’s chilling with us, she’s connecting even more with her stepfather. There’s light..there’s life!
As she got out of the car this morning, dressed like a fashionable young muslim woman from Dubai or something – that little round face just as beautiful as ever – she raised her fist and said “Score one for Muslim Women” I welled up. You did Good Pam! You did good!
Post Script: Teenagers go through so many stages, do I think this is a phase? I’m not sure. Modeling was, acting seriously was, the Viola was, it’s all part of being a teen. This has religious basis so the faith itself may not be. How she ends up representing her belief, might evolve. I have to be prepared that it might go to even more conservatively or it might go in another direction. I have to just keep an open mind, interject what I do know about life and life decisions and continue to ride.
Post Post Script: I know some of the readers are wondering why I haven’t mentioned the real hot potato on this issue – has anyone told her Grandmother (laughing) – The answer is no but I’m sure by now someone is eagerly awaiting it to get back to her. It’s not for the reasons folks clearly assume either. That’s for another day and another time – right now I’m focusing on us.