Sunday, 15 March 2015

An Homage to my Mother

When you're younger, you aren't able to truly appreciate the things you've always taken for granted, or the journeys people have travelled to get to where they are. It's truly incredible when you get the opportunity to piece those parts together of a person, and finally get a full picture of why they are the way they are today, and how this has impacted you.

That's partly why I wanted to write this post. In the past few years, I grew to understand just how significant my mother's life experiences where to my own. Here's a little background:

I was born and raised in London, but my mother grew up in Somalia, and later in Kenya after the civil war broke out (where she met my dad). Her dad, my grandad, was one of the few (actually, the only!) person in our family who saw the value a good education could bring, and so with hard work, he scraped together what he could to send my mum to a private school. From what I gather, it was a blessing, but also odd to others in our family that a woman was being gifted with a seemingly rare opportunity to make something of herself, outside of being a mother and housewife. This certainly made things difficult. Well, she didn't let this affect her love of learning, and after meeting my dad, getting married and moving into a pretty horrid flat in London in the 90's with my older sister, my mum did take to being a full-time housewife, having me and my two younger brothers along the way.

Fast-forward about 10 years into the early 2000's, she realised that working with children and bringing them up to appreciate and love their education was something she wanted to do, and so she got a job as a bilingual teaching assistant, studied part-time to qualify as a teacher - all while bringing up four children! - and slowly but surely, she got ever-closer to reaching her dream of becoming a teacher. And around four years ago, that's exactly what happened. Another daughter came in 2006, and my mum is now a fully fledged nursery teacher in one of the top primary schools in London.


Mum (left) with my sister on her graduation last summer


Looking at it from my perspective, it's just incredible to me that she was somehow able to balance so many hugely important things, without breaking a sweat. My dad's support was such an important factor too, having worked as a tailor since the age of 17, he never complained once about providing for his family, and was fully supportive of my mum's choices.

I'm sure it must have been stressful, but I wasn't old enough to understand this, but what I did know was that I was proud of her for setting the motion for a new mindset in our family - that women can pursue their dream careers while being mothers, that you don't need to fall within the expectations of others, that you must listen to that inner voice telling you that you can try harder, reach further, become better. She brought up my siblings and I to truly value each and every learning opportunity that came our way, she has never once told us that we can't become whatever we want, have whatever dreams we wish. This played such an important role in my life in the past two years, when I was setting towards choosing my future academic and career path.

It was the driving force behind me wanting to achieve the best grades I could and get as many experiences in the real world as possible. And now, an internship, a scholarship and almost 1/3 of my law degree later, I know that I will carry her journey forwards with me, as a constant reminder that even in the face of adversity, it is your passion that will get you where you want to be in life.


I cannot thank this amazing woman enough for being such an important part of me. I love you, mum.

Happy Mothers Day to all of the incredibly strong women out there - do you have a tale to share about your mum? Let us all see in the comments section,

Zahra
x

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