I know you feel diminished. Invisible. I am a Mommy’s girl. She is a strong woman. You are a powerful man.
As Father’s Day approaches, certain things flash into my memory. I remember you driving us to school because we hadn’t learned to drive yet. You saw me panic. You could read it on my face.
You taught me to pray. You said, “God is not worried about what language you speak, or if it is from a holy book. Talk to God. He will hear you.” I did pray. I was frightened all too often as a child. You gave me so much. That day in the car you started a ritual with me. I still do this: when something is hard, scary, or I am nervous, I close my eyes and go back to those morning drives to school. I recite not only the words you taught me in Arabic, but also talk to God like you suggested I do. It works.
I am in tears as I think of how I disappointed you in the past. The ways I hurt you.
Yet, what I remember more than anything else is how no matter how angry you are, you are my biggest fan. Something awful happened before I started my sophomore year. You came into my room as I was crying. I was so ashamed, so scared I would never recover from what had happened.
On that day, you came in and checked on me, sat at my side and told me to pray. That you would pray also. You explained that choices have consequences. Sometimes the consequence result in personal growth.
I saw you cry. It hurt me that I was the reason such a powerful man would cry. I can never fully forgive myself for making you hurt so badly.
I am a lot like Mom, but also like you.
I am often combustible.
When I need the strength to remain calm as a parent, when my children make choices I know are mistakes. Choices which I don’t want them to make again. I need to tell you because, you should know I channel you.
You are a smart man. More than that, you are savvy. I don’t know that I have ever seen you fail. If you have, you never showed me. I draw from you the power to remain calm.
I become incombustible channeling you.
I don’t make the same mistakes twice.
That is because of you. There was a time when I would have let myself lose control. Thanks to you I see that my actions will impact my children. I feel like you don’t know me anymore because you can’t see past the cover.
In my pages are written the fondest of memories during the WORST of times. A direct result of you raised me to ALWAYS do my due diligence. You told me to never make a promise I could not keep. You advised me to work hard, play…but not too hard.
You told me to think.
To not speak unless I had something of real value.
You advised me to think before I act.
I notice that your birthday and father’s day are always downplayed. I always think of you. You may never know how much I needed you to be the “softy” you were after that terrible event. You held my hand like Mom would. You reminded me that I did not have to worry or be sad. You are an amazing Father.
I wish I had been a better daughter. I wish I had chosen to listen and not learn the hard way.
I know now that was your goal.
I fell down the rabbit hole. When I came back I realized you had been there all along. Guiding me through. The king of my heart.
Happy Father’s Day and Ramadan.