Happy Birthday Mommy


My mother is the all-powerful queen I aim to be, and the tyrannical monster I admire. She is an extremely intricate hypocrite; and she has lived for an eternity. She has the presence of Nefertiti and the smile of Diana, and she sometimes embarrasses her three daughters with her boisterous laugh and utter carelessness for those uncomfortable with her demeanor. She is the champion of liberty; being a refugee after being a commodity has opened her heart to all walks of life, and the gleam in her eyes reflect freedom. Her hands are Mother Theresa’s and her hugs are home. Her soul is scarred and she is often the victim of her own optimism. But it is her pessimism that brought the wrinkles around her eyes, and I have turned her hair gray. She is old because of me. Five nations can understand her when she speaks, and she has touched the soil of countless countries. She has one thousand friends and one million children, and I will worship her until my knees are bloodied and she has commanded me to stop. She has no sons but her nephews adore her. She protects her children like a tiger with her cubs.

And she will not let me kiss her feet. Those feet have travelled a lifetime, carried her daughters across borders, escaped political turmoil and fled a nation occupied by evil. They too are wrinkled and they ache all day; but to have the soles of her feet in my palms is Heaven. She, like her sisters, is hairless; her legs are smooth and a beautiful tan. Diabetes has tortured them, and sciatica slows her down. But her stride is royalty, and her scent is forever flowers. When she penetrates my dreams, I awake with a damp pillow and red eyes, how lucky am I to have her grace me, even in sleep? How lucky am I, to have lived in her womb and shared her blood? What made me worthy? Her voice is a reminder of God, and often late at night I hear her singing, in Farsi, in Russian, in Pashto, in Urdu. She drinks chai all day and watches CNN all night. She fights with Bill O’Reilly in the living room and tells her Republican friends to vote Hillary. She flirts with cashiers and sings old songs at weddings. She argues with cops and she questions authority and she tells me to dance until I die. And in an instant, she can throw you to the floor with her temper and powerful mood swings. She is a vengeful Pashtun to the core; to be cursed by her is a death sentence, for God is on her side, and He grants her every wish. To see her in a crazed fury is beauty at its zenith, the epitome of the human condition, the fervor and passion of generations. She is the daughter of Afghanistan, but the American dream, and she is a stronger patriot than Malalai, or Sojourner Truth. I love her because she is crazy and I hate her when she’s right. She is my best friend while being the open wound on my heart. Her poise and prowess frighten me and I cannot be anything but in awe of her valiant soul, her violent passion, and her piercing eyes. She shoots first and asks questions later.

& I will forever shackle myself to her temple; I will never stop begging at her altar. She quenches my soul and she completes my essence, and for as long as I grace this earth, I will thank her for my life, spent here in Beauty.

…A man once consulted the Prophet Muhammad about taking part in a military campaign. The Prophet asked the man if his mother was still living. When told that she was alive, the Prophet said: “(Then) stay with her, for Paradise is at her feet.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

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