Mother’s Day special: A letter to my son

Even though I have dark circles the size of craters and haven't had a full night's sleep in ages, I couldn't be happier because I have you.


By Aliya Zuberi

KARACHI: To my dearest son Nayel, it’s 3 am and you’re sleeping away next to me while I write this letter. It was one of those days where I wanted nothing more than to sleep early but you had other plans. After I sang all the nursery rhymes I knew and played all the games I could three times over, you finally fell asleep. But by the time I put you to bed, my sleep had come and gone. So instead, I decided to sit and snack and savor the only time I get to eat something uninterrupted. All of this is routine for me, it’s an average mother’s day and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

All my life, if there was one thing I was absolutely certain about was the fact I wanted to be a mother. I have always loved kids and kids love me. After I got married to your father and settled in with him, I began yearning to have a baby of my own. So much so, I didn’t even wait an entire year to have you! But the journey hasn’t been easy. I struggled all throughout my pregnancy. I spent the first months nauseous all the time. Then I had to deal with all sorts of problems like constantly having to pee, restless legs and not being able to sleep because no position was comfortable for me. And that was just the start.

You’re almost 10 months old and I don’t think I’ve had a full night’s sleep since you were born. You also end up occupying my entire side of the bed every night and I’m left with various aches and pains from the weird angles I sleep in! And don’t even get me started on meal times. I can’t remember the last time I ate food that was hot or the last time I ate food without shoveling it at super speed so that I could tend to you.

If I were to categorize my life into two frames, before Nayel and after Nayel, you’d see a stark difference. Long gone is the girl who was so particular about her clothes being perfectly ironed before she left the house. Long gone is the girl who loved to accessorize. My designer bags have been replaced with baby bags, my ironing hardly makes it through the first 5 minutes of the car ride and all my rings, bracelets and necklaces have been locked away. My hair has been yanked on so many times that I’m surprised I’m not bald yet. I’m so longer the girl who put herself first. I don’t live for myself, I live for you.

And I’m fine with that. Because at the end of the day, I am rewarded with your toothy smiles and your unconditional love. Every morning you wake me up with the biggest smile and all aches and pains are forgotten. You sing shrill songs in the bath and you grab my face and give me sloppy kisses. You try to gobble down water and end up spluttering it everywhere and you’re so proud of yourself when you do. You laugh so loudly when we play peekaboo and your one legged crawl is the most adorable thing on the planet.

Watch: Dear Ammi

But I won’t lie. I do have my bad days. On the days you refuse to eat a single bite and on the days you refuse to sleep. On the days you want nothing more than to fling yourself off the bed or the sofa and face plant on the floor. On the days you don’t give me a second to breathe. Those are the days you leave me wondering how will I make it through this day?  There have been times when I have sat down and cried wondering if I’m even cut out to be mother. There are days when I wonder when I’ll get to be me and not just your mother. The bad days might be comparatively less, but they do happen and there is no shame in that.  You see, I am entirely consumed by you. My life has to mold itself around a child who can’t even communicate what he wants or doesn’t want. You weren’t born with an instruction manual. A lot of the times I don’t even know what I’m doing. But if there’s one thing I do know, whatever I do, whatever decision I make, I make sure that your best interests are kept in mind.

A part of being your mother is constantly worrying about you. Throughout my pregnancy I would worry about you coming into this world safe and sound. I would obsessively poke my stomach to feel your kicks. The first question I asked when I came out from anesthesia was if you were okay. I worry about your future. I worry about the responsibility that I have to raise you to be a gentleman. You see Nayel, as you grow up to be a man I will have some expectations from you. I’ll expect you to be the kind of man who respects women, the kind of man who will lend a helping hand rather than being a burden, the kind of man who will treat the women around him like his equal. The kind of man that your father, uncles and grandfathers are. I haven’t spent the prime of my youth raising a man who doesn’t respect the gender that brought him into this world and raised him.

 

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Nayel, there is no greater love than that of a mother’s. She dedicates her life to raising her children and she sometimes even loses herself in the process but doesn’t complain about it. As mother’s day is celebrated around the world, I’ve come to realize mothers should be celebrated every single day. While we don’t mind the grand gestures, sometimes all we need is a kind word telling us we’re doing a great job. Other times all we need is a hug from our kids telling us that they love us just as we love you.

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