E I G H T E E N. . . The word slips awkwardly from my lips… an almost unnatural response to anyone who asks how old you are. Awkward because, even though I know the years have indeed accumulated to this number; there are parts of me that hasn’t quite caught up with the fast spinning wheel of time… can’t comprehend how quickly we’ve gotten here…is still stuck on seeing you as 12. I mean, it feels like just the other day I was caving into cravings of orange suckers and fresh oranges, waiting for you to be born; and all of a sudden we’re standing on the threshold of you turning 18. And now, I’m sitting here, trying to comprehend the magnitude of it all while my mind is going around in circles playing back every single milestone.
When I became a mom all those years ago, I always assumed that I will be the one holding your hand and guiding you through life. I thought I would be your torch, your road map and your compass. I thought I would be the mast to your sails. Your guiding light. Your North star. Little did I know that it was you who would be all those things to me. You have always been a reflection of my own inner turmoil…a mirror for my scars. A magnifying glass for my shortcomings. I welcomed you into the world thinking I would have all the answers to all your burning questions, that I would steer your ship and have it always be anchored in calm shores, that I’d be able to fix everything and be a healing balm to your soul…be your guide. But instead, I have been the one to learn so much from watching you evolve and grow.
For 18 years I’ve watched you dance to the song of Life. Like a flower unfurling, I watched you transition from a serene baby to a lively toddler. I’ve watched you leap from a cartwheeling, water loving 5 year old; to dominating the running track right into your tweens. I’ve watched you grow from a tomboy, to knowing how to do your makeup to the T. Perhaps the most pivotal transformation was witnessing you peel away the mask and shield that had always concealed your emotions and feelings and learning to understand them. And perhaps, as a parent, the hardest of them all was standing by and witnessing you navigate your way through hardship and trials and not being able to turn a switch an fix it all. The past year has no doubt been your biggest evolution of all! It’s been quite an adventure, but now, here you are at 18…like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon.
Saafiyah, you are kind and compassionate; you are soft and gentle; and yet you are incredibly strong. You have a fire and determination within you that truly comes to life when fuelled by passion – I only wish sometimes that you could see it inside of you too.. You have a wondrous spirit and an eye for all things magical. You see things far beyond the surface, yet your words never give away the secrets of your thoughts . You are not a follower; you are rhythm and a beat all your own. You no longer need to just dance to the song of life. My darling child, you have the ability to create music to call your own. You are a shining light. My daughter. My best friend…and to see you happy and smiling is the greatest gift. I’ve tried to shield you as much as I could from the outside world…in a way serving as a chrysalis. But now it’s time to shake off the protective shield (ever so slightly) spread your wings, follow your dreams, and thrive!
Happy 18th Birthday Feef Kebaab