To paint her beautiful, kind face I need a new vocabulary, new words which speak from the deepest part of my heart. If I had those words I could use them now as I write about the greatest woman in my life. Yes, I am talking about my mother. I have a deep love for my mother. But I respect all mothers. I know they are breathing one air; the same air of kindness— motherhood.

During my childhood I learned everything from my mother: love, generosity, kindness, honesty. I also learned bravery and survival. During difficult times she opened the box of her heart and told me the stories of her past life. She was the first girl in her family and wanted desperately to go to school, but girls were not permitted. They could learn only Quran basics from the mosque. But when she was six years old and her father was sick she came to Kabul with him for treatments. One day, she left the hospital and went to the nearest school to register her name as a student.

Telling me this story, she smiled and said, “I was unwashed, my hair was not brushed, I didn’t have shoes on my feet. The principal of the school asked my name and information and finally said ‘give me your national identity card.’ I didn’t have it and I said, ‘please don’t put a wall in front of me, help me, I will get it later and bring it to you. Just let me study please. Please.’”

High cost of education

When my grandfather found out she wanted to go to school he beat her. But my grandmother understood the wishes of my mom. There was a couple close to my grandfather who was not able to have a child, so my grandfather allowed them to adopt my mother and she went to live with them in Kabul. My mother told me, “I was never happy to be separated from my parents, but I was so glad that I could go to school and become educated.”

She was the best mother. But even though we were close in many ways there was also a distance in our relationship. She was a serious, angry teacher. “If you don’t study your subjects you will fail!” she would admonish me. She wanted me to obey her always because she was my mother. I didn’t agree with her but I didn’t want to hurt her heart. I believe parents are honorable, but they can be wrong and make mistakes.

Hard lessons

The lives of mothers are so different in Afghanistan. When a woman gets married she doesn’t enjoy life after that. Pregnancies start one after another and women become baby-producing machines. But mothers love their children and do whatever they can for them. I cannot remember one night I was allowed to be without my mom. She believed a girl must be with her mother until she gets married. My mother could not tolerate it if I was away one minute without knowing where I was. Her heart would beat too fast from worry and when I came back to her she told me, “Never go far from me; stay with me. I know you don’t understand me now, but you will when you become a mother yourself.”

She was right. It has been three years since I last saw my mother. I miss her madly. She built a world in my heart, raised me, taught me lessons, and now my world is empty without her. My heart is like a deserted city after a storm. 

Some relationships have no name in this world, and I think the relationship of a child and a mother is like this, so lovely and special. I feel proud and so lucky because I am a mother now. I am going crazy anticipating the time my son will call me “Mummy.”

A new mother’s wish

I love my country and I respect the traditions, but I want to be a different kind of mother. I want my child to think of me as a friend. I don’t want to be like a judge in his life. I think I will just let him know what is right and what is wrong. I will tell him about the beautiful and strange ways of human beings. As a mother, I will always pray for him. I wish that my child will never meet sadness in any aspect of his life, and I know in this way I am not different because that is the wish of every mother.

Dear readers: Thanks for reading some chapters of my heart. I wrote this for you. I wish my mother was with me so that I could thank her, but this is our life. We are never with our parents. I congratulate all mothers and, from the language of sparrows, I congratulate myself! I am a lucky mother.

By Norwan