“Sometimes I wish you hadn’t chosen to complicate your life as such” and with those words, I could have very well began putting in place the beginning of me losing my child. Let me back up, this morning as I drove to the school to pick her up and take her to the Mosque to pray for EID, I just got annoyed with the entire thing. Yes I did. Since the beginning of this journey, I have been supportive and gotten on board and been understanding and I still am – but now that she’s no longer in the nest…….
I still am supportive and she is free to choose her path, and I’ve really been pretty good at keeping my own ‘issues’ and ‘thoughts’ about Religion out of the mix, but again, I’m annoyed. If she had of came to me with this at say 30..ok, you’ve lived out here, you’ve made grown decisions and comparisons – but you haven’t even lived at 16-22 and what should be (and still can be) an exciting exciting time is all bogged down with Halal meat, can’t wear a tank top, where’s the Mosque, Cute guys don’t exist, the girls don’t live on campus so you’re the only one – it’s all just…….
You know truth be told, I had religion up until I was around 11 or so, then it was….something. It is cool and all and I ‘claim’ like most of my siblings the religious upbringing of our youth, but the Faith may have offered comfort as an adult, but the ‘Religion” not so much. None of us have even successfully been able to pass it effectively to our seed (as far as I know) and most of us keep just enough to (1) pull it up against each other with the one word more that we may know/remember (2) recite something prolific at times and (3) not upset our elders. Deal with it.
As much as we like to think and believe and pray about it, when groups of people get together, the overall fact that based on most faiths we are living in hell takes over and as part of that hell comes some of the following: Separation within the group based on all types of things, class and ethnic distinction etc. etc. We are hopeful that it’s not that way, but it is. She may look like a ‘native’ of the Land of Allah, but she’s a black girl born and raised in America by a single, religious askew mom and eventually by a bit more of a base Step Father. They may smile and invite her to dinners and what not, but her collective experience is different – go down to the west end area and ask them.
So she stopped talking to me, and when she did she spit out the usual rhetoric that has been spoken about Islam and Muslim Woman and those of us who ‘don’t get it’ – I just told her this:
“We are both adjusting to a lot and I AM your support system. I have no one to lean on as I adjust to my only daughter going out here in the world. This will NOT divide us we both are emotional right now. I didn’t say you or any woman was oppressed. I said this was complicated. I have your back not just in words but in actions on a daily basis. Tomorrow you will around and meet all kinds of folks. This won’t be the first or last time you will have to start at the beginning explaining who you are, who you want to be and the type of life you want to live. Get used to it. That’s life we all have to do it. I just tried at 46 years old to explain myself and pretty much got rejected for it. I haven’t turned my back on you, I don’t have the right, because its’ natural that you leave and grow and build your own life, and I hope you don’t turn your back on me, because I’m not turning it on you.
I will just leave you with this, don’t EVER worry or think about trying to live and be whoever you think I might want you to be. DO YOU. I’ve spent most of my life with the shadow of that and I’m not repeating that with you! We will make it through this transition and you will fly and I will be alright with it.
We are continuing to talk and are both feeling better as we maneuver through this. I have said the way to stop dysfunction is to do something different. I thank GOD that even when there are bumps in the road, I changed it enough that I can catch it in myself and we can work through it. We will be alright. Whewww this has been one hell of a year thus far. One hell of a year.