You miss your mother.
Two years have passed since the two of you fell out. Certain things were said and you’d reacted badly – and how could you not, after a lifetime of repressed heartbreak and hurt thanks to your father? You’d spent your whole life thinking that you didn’t belong in your own family, that you didn’t matter, and there she was confirming your suspicions.
To make things worse, she doesn’t believe your account of your childhood. She doesn’t believe your memories of your father.
So here you are, two years on. You’ve rebuilt your life without her, and you don’t really have anything to say to her anymore.
But still, you miss her.
You miss your mother. You’re her daughter through and through; you realised that this year. Your career – the one she steered you into – started gaining momentum this year, and it’s her voice you hear whenever you find yourself holding your own in rooms full of men listening intently to you, knowing that they’ll soon begin to challenge you (as they should) and feeling no fear because this is what she raised you to do. Your stubbornness, your sarcasm, your perfectionist tendencies – they are all her gifts to you. She raised you to be strong and confident and independent, even when you yourself did not feel strong and confident and independent.
You see traces of her peeking out at you in the mirror, especially now that you’ve cut your hair, and you realise with a start that you no longer know what she looks like without her hijab. You can no longer picture her at rest; the image that comes to mind is of the face she presents to the world and not the mother you once knew.
You miss your mother.
But let’s face it: you missed her most last year when you walked away from an eight year relationship and the beginnings of wedding plans and the creation of a life together. You missed her most when you walked away from the man you thought you were going to spend your life and remembered – with a sharp pain in your heart – that she had done this too and that you are just repeating her life now.
It’s a terrifying thought.
She’d told you about it once, in an attempt to talk to you about her
reservations about the boy you ended up leaving. She’d ended a long-term relationship when she was in her 20s and was left convinced that she’d never fall in love again, that she would never marry or have children.
You are proof that none of these things came to bear – never mind how it all turned out for her (and you are proof of the tragedies of her life too).
You missed her then. Faced with the prospect of a life alone, you missed her. You needed her to tell you how it will all play out: if you are indeed repeating aspects of her life, then you need her to tell you what to expect. How long did she have to wait before your father came along? Were there other men before him? Did they really get married within three months of meeting? Are you going to meet and fall in love with and marry a man 13 years your senior too?
Her story offers no guarantees as to how yours will ultimately play out, you knew that, but you needed something to cling to anyway. You needed her to tell you that you’ll be okay. She raised you to be strong and confident and independent, but you get so tired of being all these things sometimes.
She is still the strongest woman you know.
You have nothing more to say to her.
You miss her.