Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, I’d heard – but daughters are a mother’s best friend – I never understood this line until I had my own first child – a daughter.
My mother is a working mom and my father retired from work after he got severely ill back in 2011. My father’s illness came as a huge blow to us as a family. What started off as a persistent fever soon became a case of an acute infection in my father’s lungs.
One evening I was driving back from work, when I received a frantic call from my mother. My father had collapsed on the bed and was not responsive.
As a child, that was the hardest thing that I had to hear – I thought of the worst. I don’t know how, but I managed to get home in time to call an ambulance, help my mother gather her wits and arrange for us to take my father to the hospital.
My father stayed in the hospital for another 11 days, during which time my mother and I would juggle our jobs, my university and smooth management of the house that we had left unattended while we were at the hospital.
We were exhausted – emotionally, mentally and physically.
The doctors told us that the road to recovery was gradual but things looked positive. The thoughts of bringing our beloved head of the family home were enough to keep us motivated and pray for the best.
Thankfully, my father got discharged and we brought him home in a much better condition. My mother and I, even though our strenuous duty towards caring for an ill family member was not over, managed to become each other’s strength in this time of trial – the worst was over before we knew it.
Fast forward to 2018, I have forgotten about that difficult time in our life. But what I do remember are the words my mother said to me one night in the hospital:
“You are my best friend; I could not have done this without you. You are my strength and I am glad I shared this experience with you.”
The respect and admiration I had for my mother increased immensely. She is a fighter, a graceful, loving and sacrificing warrior who doesn’t let out a single wail in the face of hardships. I did not see her shed a single tear, at least in front of me. But these words coming from her meant there was another side to her that she never revealed to me; the vulnerable side.
You see, I was only doing what was my due duty towards my parents. But to my mother, I was a pillar of strength, I was a ray of hope, I was more than her responsibility – I was a friend in time of trial and need.
She shared her deepest thoughts and fears with me; she shared her life lessons as a woman, a mother, a wife and as a professional, with me. She let herself be weak in front of me. I did not even know, but in that time of emotional trauma and mental stress, I was the best friend my mother needed.
My mother’s words resonated in my heart and mind so much that I prayed and prayed for my first born child to be a daughter.
When I got married to the love of my life, I thought that I had found a soul mate for life. But when I held my daughter in my arms for the first time, I knew I found the best friend I needed.
The kind of friend I could give my life for; the kind of friend I would hold close to my heart and she would grow up to hold me in her arms when I’m old. The kind of friend whose world would get better with the sound of my heartbeat and I would find comfort in the moments when she would comb my ivory hair when I’m too weak to do so myself. The kind of friend, who would learn from my life and then hold my hand throughout hers. The kind of friend who would have my heart and soul in the palms of her hands.
I wanted, for myself, the person that I was for my mother – and I felt that only a daughter could play this part.
Only she could take my fragile heart into her hands and hold it tight, never letting go no matter what. So you see, this is why I wanted my first child to be a daughter because no amount of diamonds can ever come close to how precious my daughter is to me.
Cover image via M. Haris Usmani