When I was a child my mother gave me the freedom of choice for everything. In Afghan culture most parents don’t pay attention to their children’s opinions, but my mother was different. She never forced me to buy the things she wanted. Unlike my aunts, who decided what their children would wear, she encouraged me to choose my clothing styles and coIors. I was allowed to wear pants when other girls had to wear skirts.
My mother is tall and always has a smile on her face. Her eyes are black and shine with love. Her hands are pale and kind. Every time she puts her hands on my head she expresses this kindness. Sometimes when I am asleep, she puts her hands on my forehead to see if I am fine. She always worries if she finds that I am not feeling well.
My mother encouraged me to get an education. When I started school the situation in Afghanistan was still all right, and during my primary and secondary schools no Talib were in our country.
After that I could not go to school and I had to stay home. But later I started high school and my mother told me I should only pay attention to my lessons and prepare for university. She advised me to take mathematics, chemistry, and biology, which are important for the university entrance exam.
When I finally went to Kabul University, my mother always told me I should study and not do the household chores. She cooked, washed the clothes, vacuumed, and did all the shopping. When she was a child her dream had been to study and go to university, but because her father died when she was four years old and her mother had a heart problem, she never reached her goal. She knew the sour feeling of giving up a dream and didn’t want the same thing to happen to her children.
My mother always tried to cook the best foods for her family. She knew that rice with meat was my favorite food and would make this for me. We had different types of rice with chicken, kebab, and meatballs. When my brothers, sisters, and I came home from school, she would be waiting for us. She never said she was tired from so much work, but would ask us if we had enjoyed our day.
When it was time for exams, my mother’s cooking changed. On these special days she tried her best to cook “energetic” foods like meat and different vegetables. She bought different fruits and forced us to eat every two hours. As we came home after our exams, she would be standing in the doorway waiting for good news. If she saw we were happy and smiling, she would know we had done well and would start clapping. Then she would tell us to change our clothes and come into the kitchen for our favourite foods like mantu, ashak, and qabuli palow to show us how happy she was.
My mother’s dream for me to get my education finally came true after several years. She wanted me to work in a field that would allow me to help our people and she always said I should be very careful in my work to behave well and learn new things. My wish is that someday I will be like my mother. Neither of my parents have pushed us to be married; they said we will know when the time is right. When I am married, I want to give my children the freedom and advice my mother gave me.
I don’t have any words to tell you how much I admire mothers, their sense of love toward their children, and their hard work for us. These things are unforgettable.
Photo of mantu by Jadi