Mariam Ahmed Roubi | 12-11-2020
Yesterday, for the first time, I woke up at 6 a.m. to the insistent call of my alarm clock. My dear mom usually turns it off and wakes me up herself. She doesn’t want to miss a joyful bonding moment between mother and daughter. But yesterday was different.
After the death of mom’s aunt, she stayed overnight at the family’s house to offer support. It is common in our culture to spend the first night with the family of the deceased. Since I am the eldest child in my own family, it falls to me to play the role of Mom when she is not at home.
I helped my sisters wake up to pray al-fajr (the first the five daily prayers for Muslims). Then, I sipped fresh orange juice in the back yard while reading a book called Hadith al-Sabah (Morning Talk). The book discusses a wide range of suggestions for enriching one’s life. For example, the author stresses the need to be honest in our relationships—being generous with praise, but also sharing what bothers you. That made me think more about my own relationships; too many times, for instance, I bottle up what bothers me when someone hurts my feelings. Perhaps next time I will try to put my feelings out in the open.
It was nearly 9 a.m. when I finished the book and began preparing breakfast for my family. It was a challenge because I didn’t know what my family preferred; I typically don’t eat until mid-day. I ended up making an omelet with sauteed vegetables on the side. It wasn’t Mom’s cooking, but everyone cleaned their plates.
Later, my sisters and I did the chores. It’s my least favorite part of the day for me; ever since I was young, I have disliked cleaning the house every day. After two hours of sweeping, washing dishes and organizing the cupboards, I noticed that everyone had showered except me. Yet, it was almost time to prepare our lunch!
l had a long call with my mom about preparing the next round of food; it was also the longest time I had ever spent in the kitchen! My mom has preferred that I spend time studying than on learning to cook. I realized then how difficult it is to plan a meal for a family of seven; it takes longer than to actually eat it. It was my mother’s suggestion to make spaghetti; it is a simple dish to make and, thank God, it tasted pretty good.
As a young Palestinian woman, my day doesn’t really start until after lunch. I must help Mom until lunchtime; only then I can do whatever I like.
Today, because I was now exhausted, took a nap while my sisters did their homework. When I woke up, I prayed and read some holy Quran. When it started to grow dark, I made a cup of coffee and some popcorn, then turned on the TV to look for a drama. One of my friends had suggested I watch “Little Women,” so I selected that. I loved that the main character is a brave girl who works as a writer to take care of her family! Unfortunately, everyone else in her family thought of themselves and their own futures instead, leaving her lonely in the end. I cried so much, because I could picture myself in the heroine’s place. I’ve felt that lonely before.
I didn’t prepare anything for dinner because we were not hungry. I followed my skin-cleaning ritual, since I am a teenager and I can so easily break out, especially when I am under stress. Finally, I checked my email and social media accounts. I was shocked to find that while I had been so busy or watching my movie, a mass of messages and mentions had piled up. I set the alarm for early the next day so I’d be sure to carefully reply to each message. Now very sleepy and tired, I prepared a task list so I could do my best to make the next day better.
That was my day without my mom. Whenever I am without her, I realize how amazing she is. I appreciate all mothers around the world for how much they give even without being asked!
Posted: November 12, 2020