Dear Mom

Mom back in the days. Time and place are unknown.

Thank you for everything.

I was browsing through some of my old pictures from Iraq, and I came across this picture of my mom: a beautiful, elegant, fashionable, and most importantly, fierce Iraqi woman.

This International Women’s Day, and as we all celebrate the amazing women in our lives, I want to celebrate and thank my mom: a woman who did the impossible to help me get to where I am today. She truly defines what it means to be the best mom anyone could ask for.

I want to share one story about her.

In 2008, I was a refugee living with my mother and one of my brothers in Damascus, Syria. We had been living there for nearly two years after we had left Iraq in late 2006. And one day, I received the happiest news of my life: that I was going to the United States.

I had just received my acceptance letter to attend Union College in Schenectady, New York and also my student visa. I could not believe it at first, and I was so excited to go home and tell mom about it.

As I was climbing up the stairs to our fourth-floor apartment, with an acceptance letter in one hand and a visa in the other, it suddenly hit me: how am I supposed to leave mom alone in Syria?

My brother at that time was working in France, and so it was just mom and I for a few months. She was my best friend and support system. Her health wasn’t the best, and I knew it would be difficult for her to wave goodbye to her youngest child.

But I didn’t want to let these thoughts overtake my excitement, and I was so eager to tell mom about the great news I got.

It’s hard to put into words and describe the happiness I saw on mom’s face once I told her that I was going to finish my education in America. She saw her youngest child with an opportunity to receive the best education of his life. She was proud—and that made me even happier.

However, as we sat down to talk about it, I was starting to feel guilty that I might leave mom alone. So I asked her a very blunt question: “What do I do? Whatever you decide, mom, I will happily do it.”

And here’s why I said earlier that my mom is the best mother anyone could ask for.

“Throughout my entire life, I have worked so hard, and sacrificed so much, for you and your siblings to be successful. All I want for all of you is to finish your education and have a prosperous future. I give you my full blessings to go to America,” my mom told me with teary eyes.

Today, after nearly 10 years since the day I had that conversation with mom in our little apartment in Damascus, I am proud to say that I have made it in America.

After 4 years of separation, mom came to my my graduation from Union College in 2012.

But none of my successes in life would have been possible with you mom, and for that I say thank you.

2 Replies to “Dear Mom”

  1. Taif, your Mom, because she is YOUR Mom will always be the best for you. Selfless in her response to you tells that this is how she probably has lived her whole life. I hope hope hope that you are able to be with her many more times. And I have to say that she has passed on to her youngest born, a good deal of her DNA and gracious attitude about life.
    fondly, jane

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