My Beloved Daughter….

My two elder children celebrate what we now call ‘milestone’ birthdays this year…my lovely daughter today! A very dear fellow blogger, after reading the post dedicated to my son’s milestone celebration, asked what constitutes a ‘milestone’ age….a very valid and relevant question in this age of quantifying days, events and emotions into Hallmark occasions…often relegating to the back burner the true essence of such celebrations…

For a mother, birthdays are special days of the heart…purely because looking out from the eyes and heart of a mother, whilst Traveling down memory lane…every child of hers’ birthday is a ‘milestone’ celebration! A celebration of awe…honor…joy…fun…comfort…strength…support…care…pride…consideration…above all, Love! A celebration of the varied and rich tapestry of life and living…of rich and joy filled moments shared together…culminating in a day such as this…as an appreciation of the fullness of human happiness in the security of our love! The journey of motherhood, with all it’s ups and downs…it’s highs and lows…the magic…the angst…the fun…the fears…the love…the laughter…all comes together with the peace of looking out and seeing them exactly where they are supposed to be…firmly ensconced in the space they have carved out for themselves! This is the ultimate joy and pride…the humility and thankfulness…yes…birthdays are poignant reminders of this…milestone birthdays perhaps a little more…

My daughter…my eldest…celebrates one such milestone age today…blessedly happy in the circle of love of her parents and  siblings…her own beautiful family….her extended family and her family of friends! In my  mind’s eye I can still vividly picture my serious little girl…she who has now blossomed into a  young woman of substance…her gentle vulnerability, humaneness and compassion being the cornerstone of this beauty, strength and independence…surrounded by the Good Lord’s blessings and grace…her gentle and winning ways…the strength and support of a loving life partner…understanding and giving due deference and balance to the blessings and power of the Divine has all helped her on this journey of hers…all of this whilst keeping pace with her own young ones on the threshold of adulthood…doing it all with an ease, energy and grace that leaves me in awe…

The pride at seeing you fulfill all your roles to such loving excellence makes my heart sing Saamia! This comes with the prayer that God draw you near Him…richly bless you always…and shelter you at all times in His loving care…help you conquer the many horizons still out there…live your dreams and achieve all your milestones and more! With a special prayer that your beautiful self and smile will continue to bring love and sunshine to all who love and surround you…and help radiate your life always with it’s unaffected goodness and love…amen!

Happy Birthday Saamia…

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A Son’s Milestone Birthday…

Some favorite lines of mine from poems about sons are from A Soldiers Prayer for his Son by Gen Douglas MacArthur and Abraham Lincoln’s My Son…both these poems are poignantly definitive and have always resonated with Prayers for Children as also the prayer that I have been able to truly help my Children walk through life with the inner strength and integrity to do the right thing…knowing that nobody is going to know you did it or not! These cherished lines are from a treasured poem plaque my eldest once gave me
…sometimes when I think of Mom
I think of what she Took
She took a child and taught it how
To live this life with pride
She took the hands that longed to hold…
Her child and not let go
Used them to push her child along
The way to thrive and grow….

My two elder Children are celebrating what we now call…’milestone’ birthdays this year…my eldest son celebrates his today…and even though for me all their days are such…my thoughts go back to search…recall…review…tear over…reminiscence…with awe and a deeply felt sense of pure happiness at the wonder that has been my life as my children’s mother! This journey has been one of such incredibly powerful experiences in all aspects of my being…that it is by far my life’s greatest joy and blessing and gives me a sense of ‘non pareil’ accomplishment…and although I do believe that ‘having a child is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body’…often in far away lands…my children are all truly the joyous mainstays of my life…

Seeing this beloved son of mine live his life in a matrix of the search for excellence in all he does has been a learning experience for me too…his focus…commitment…hard work…humility…strength…choices…faith….accompanied by a compassionate and loving heart…has made mine sing so very  often…seeing some of his goals coming to fruition, specially now at such an opportune time in his life, makes my heart swell with pride and thankfulness…above all, his gentle concern…care…and love for all of us has truly been the icing on the cake…Khalil Gibran said….your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you, as by the attitude you bring to life…Not so much by what happens to you, as by the way your mind looks at what happens to you…I feel so very thankful to the Good Lord that you have understood this Usman…and pray you will always work to being the best that the Good Lord meant for you to be…believeing that the ultimate Wisdom of God is greater than ours and that we have to trust Him to guide and help us…Amen!

Happy Birthday Son…I feel so very blessed to have a son like you and in the language of your generation…you rock my world…

Ramadan…

This last month seems to have have flown by and I realize that I have not written at all! The reason for this disappearance from the blogosphere is due in the most part to the fact that it has been the blessed month of Ramadan! Ramadan is celebrated across the world by 1.5 billion muslims…it is now universally acknowledged…accepted and respected as a month that is held in great awe, reverence and deference across the Muslim world…for many of us, it is a month of going underground as it were, in the search and effort for more understanding in our own personal and ongoing spiritual journeys!

This month is observed, celebrated and followed with due deference and reference to Quranic teachings…colored by cultural and social norms and practices depending on your geographical position. The outer form of this month is a universal one…the abstinence! The inner one with an emphasis on ‘more’ in terms of prayer…behavior…seeking guidance…mercy…charity, both of deed and kind…has it’s own individual need, hunger and pace! The prayer here is that the significance and blessings of this blessed and glorious month will help color our lives in a more definitive…compassionate…ethical…moral…virtuous…just and fair manner…above all, that this will be in a positive and progressive curve after experiencing each passing month of Ramadan in our lives!

The end of this holy month is celebrated with great gusto and festivities across the Muslim world…this sense of celebration comes from a feeling of praise and glory of the Good Lord and His blessings upon us…which are manifested in love and brotherhood of family and friends celebrated over three days…a time of much celebratory joy, happiness, gluttony and thanks!

It is also my lovely daughter’s birthday today…and so this comes with additional thanks and gratitude to the Lord for this special blessing as part of His countless and unending gifts of grace and generosity! With the prayer that her beautiful smile will continue to bring love and sunshine to all who love and surround her…and help radiate her life always with it’s unaffected goodness and love…amen!

Happy Birthday Son…

It is my older son’s birthday today…I am on a transatlantic flight and although when I alight at my destination, it will still be his birthday for me…it will not be so for him…our lives seem almost surreal at times they have changed so much…but the one aspect…connection…link that is irrefutable and unchangeable…is the connective tissue of the mother to the child! There is a sort of magic that happens when you have a child…and through varying stages…ages…times…when the magic is not always so readily on tap…it is never really too far below the surface to tap into…motherhood has a special gene for this…the Good Lord be praised…

As mothers, our lives rarely follow a straight path…for obvious and natural reasons sometimes…but the discovery of self through your children is a journey of great learning…development…and unparalleled joy…interrupted often…but a ride worth every moment of it’s duration…finding oneself in the sandpits is often…playing the par course…but the journey is one of such incredible love…joy…fun…laughter…tears…angst…humility…pride…up to a day like this, when you can write about it with your head held high…thankful for the blessing of being able to say with bursting joy and pride…humility and thankfulness…This is my son!

The unparalleled joy of seeing a child exactly where he is supposed to be…be in harmony with his heart and universal truths…be able to remake himself and his goals with the passage of time and experience…be ready to explore and learn the power and depth of personal strengths…to have the insight to accept and understand the power of prayer in the development of character…to wisely use his heart and the Divine as a source of real power…is a blessing par excellence!

The prayer is that he will always be able to understand and accept his calling as opposed to fame…continue this path of discovery whilst maintaining dignity of choice…share his calling and gifts in the help of others…understand that we are the sum of the wisdom of the Divine and ancients, and be able to embrace this wisdom…sagacity…values…whilst taking responsibility for his own special positive energy that is his space…continue to develop and hone his innate goodness…and always continue to be the source of joy and pride he has always been…the prayer above all is, that he is able to use his God given gifts to propel himself to be the best that the Good Lord meant for him to be…always…Amen…

A precious Granddaughter…

From a little girl so very small…how and when did you get so tall?

This line fits my granddaughter, my first born’s first born, to a tee, as she now towers over both of us! It is her 16th birthday today…thoughts of where and how the time flew by come rushing in, as also a host of wonderful…precious…joyous…memorable….memories of this journey…

My first grandchild…a beautiful baby whom I was loath to set down…in spite of endless comments of how I was spoiling her…the joy and wonder of holding her for the first time…the miracle of creation leaving you awestruck at it’s infinite grace and mercy…the smiles that melted your heart…the wonder of hearing her first take your name…the joy of dressing her up…seeing her grow, sometimes all too fast…carrying innumerable pictures of her and being the painfully proverbial proud grandmother…precious memories of playing together…sharing secrets…late night whisperings…pride at her warmth, thoughtfulness and love…delight at her laughter and special charm…blissfully understanding that grandchildren are truly the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation…

The sense of completion…at seeing my daughter fulfilling all her roles with so much…patience…tenderness…wisdom…love and ease…coming full circle in the deep love that is channeled from my child to hers…comes with the prayer to see it continue through ensuing generations…with gratitude for this blessing…because daughters and granddaughters are blessings from above…to cherish and love…and dare I say…compensations from God for growing old! The prayer is that my young granddaughter on the threshold of a different stage in life, will be able to dream all her dreams…make worthy goals of them…and make a difference…nurture strenght of spirit…compassion and a sense of right…take kindly the counsel of experience…and know that this comes with much love and prayers on her special day, to celebrate the gift of “her” to us…above all to always remember that…

                         What we are is God’s gift to us…

                         What we make of ourself is our Gift to God…

Sisters…

It is said…that of two sisters, one is always the watcher, the other the dancer! I have watched my younger sister dance away…often with reckless abandon…and always loved it…and her! She has also led many of us who love her…with unfaltering tenderness…on merry and fun filled dances…and we have all loved her for it…often, when it was over though!

On this birthday of hers…after many years…due to a travel destination that did not allow this…we have not spoken. I have missed it badly, I know she has too…because sisters know why you are as you are…and accept it…because, sisters know the original text! You may grow up to be different…and people may sometimes say…”You are sisters? Really!” Yes…really! Really, because we are bound by a common past…common ground…common territory…the thread of umpteen shared experiences…shared memories…a shared history…same prejudices that carry echoes of mother’s voice…a mutual knowledge of the intuitive, unspoken kind…all of these forge a strong, interwoven and emotional link, a link that transcends differences and often outlasts just about every other relationship! Marriage, husbands may come and go…death of parents…children often and eventually go away…friends lose touch, move away…the one thing that is never lost, is your sister…she is always around…a confidante…best friend…ally…”losing touch” is generally not an issue…

A sister is a gift to the heart…a friend to the spirit…a golden thread to the meaning of life…sisters are connected throughout their lives by an extraordinarily strong and special bond…truly, a blessing par excellence….

Prayers for children….

These lines were written by Abraham Lincoln to his son’s tutor upon his joining school…these were our prayers too for all our children…not articulated as well….but always there…

Treat him gently…but do not coddle him because only the test of fire makes fine steel.
Let him have the courage to be impatient…let him have te patience to be brave.
Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself…because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind.
He will have to learn that all men are not just…all men are not true.
But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero…that for every selfish politician there is a dedicated leader.
Teach him that for every enemy there is a friend.
It will take time, I know, but teach him if you can, that a dollar earned is of far more value than…five found!
Teach him to learn to lose and also…to enjoy winning!
Let him keep away from envy and learn that bullies are the easiest to lick!
Teach him if you please, the wonder of books…but also give him quiet time to ponder over the eternal mystery of birds in the sky…bees in the sun…and flowers on a green hillside.
This is a big order…but see what you can do…
He is such a fine little fellow…My son!
In school teach him that it is far more honorable to fail…than to cheat!
Teach him to have faith in his own ideas even if everyone tells him they are wrong!
Teach him to listen to all…but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through!
Teach him to be gentle with gentle people and tough with the tough!
Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the bandwagon!
Teach him to laugh when he is sad…and that there is no shame in tears!
Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness!
Teach him to sell his brawn to the highest bidder…but never to put a price on his heart and soul!

This powerful, inspiring and commendable prayer from a great man…is above all a parent ‘s prayer…these are universal truths…hopes…ambitions…prayers…and resonate with parents across the globe.

My youngest son, whose birthday it is today is well out of school classrooms…but these are prayers that are ever pertinent…and dedicated to him above all today. I am so very proud of all that he has grown into and achieved…his gentle and soft nature…his ability to bring laughter and sunshine to my world…his humanity and compassion…my prayer for him is that the Good Lord will always help and guide him and help him face and handle all the challenges that force us all to search for our center of gravity…to stay the course and accept that it takes both the rain and the sunshine to make a…rainbow! Amen….

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