Have you ever met a person that you believed was your missing half? Sometimes it’s your soul mate, or best friend, in this instance it’s my mother-in-law. I have to admit, I was sweating bullets thinking about her arrival, pleasing her, and making everything perfect.  

Like the typical daughter-in-law, I feared the worst, her disapproval. To my astonishment, when we first met I was greeted with a tight warm hug and many I love you’s and oh yeah did I forget to mention those Egyptian countless kisses, from cheek to cheek LOL…This lovely woman that I waited sooo…. long to meet was beyond whatever I imagined. The affections I experienced this past week are difficult to put into words. 

The rooted heartfelt emotions I encountered was everything I pictured a perfect mother and daughter relationship to be; one that has been void in my life for four years. While growing up, I had those mother to daughter moments with my mom, but there was always that spark missing between us. She was a loving mother who would read bedtime stories, tuck us in, kiss us on our forehead and whisper “good night” in our ears; however, there was something lacking in our relationship. Till this day, our relationship has been strained more than ever these consecutive four years, nothing I do pleases her or meets her standards. Her insults of my way of life are ineviditable and leave me heartbroken even more with every phone call or reunion.

I’ve missed something for a very long time. I yearned for that unconditional love of a mother. It’s surprising how weird I reacted when my mother-in-law would say she loves me. It wasn’t an I love you that has become routine but a true I love you. It shocked me. I didn’t know how to respond immediately. I froze, filled with shyness, and awe. Here is a woman who has spoken to me about seven times in four years and met me in person for one day and said those beautiful words “I love you darling”. “Wow” I thought this was definitely an eye-opener. This brought the wall I used for protection whenever I would feel insecurity and hurt crumbling down. As the days passed, I would see qualities in this revered strong woman that changed my perception of a typical mother-in-law.

She was warm, loving, affectionate, intelligent, talkative, wise, and truly enchanting. She had all the qualities that I always envisioned having in an ideal mom. My mother is strong, and all these things but when I embraced Islam she has treated me more as a stranger and less than her daughter which has created a great wall between us, that wounded me deeply.

I thought I would never feel loved and wanted as a daughter again or at least not extensively. When I met this beautiful woman, I honestly thought I was dreaming or experiencing an illusion in my imagination. I would pinch myself, and look at her for reassurance that this was reality. I felt numb exteriorly but internally full of excitement and wonderment. She had filled that void that has been lingering in my soul and brought healing to my severed heart.  I spent every minute and second with her trying to squeeze every ounce of information from her… questions about the family, about her life, her opinions on current events, religion, you name it I did my best to incorporate all the questions I’ve been anxiously awaiting an answer for these absent years.

The more time I spent with my mother-in-law, the more love I felt for her and her sweetness was something out of a fairy tale, one that I thought was really impossible and only in dreams or tales told to children. When I would speak to her I could talk to her about anything and everything. She became my friend, and mentor. All the things I desired to share with my mother about my life were fulfilled by my newly adoptive mother. I discovered a balance. Things that lacked in my relationship with my mother, were filled by my mother-in-law. We shared intimate conversations about Islam, marriage life, and raising children, society etc. and she understood me. An incredible seven days that Allah made possible through His mercy.

As her visit closely reached the end. My emotions seemed to be on  a roller coaster. I couldn’t cope looking at her without my brown eyes being flooded with tears of sadness that she was leaving. I tried to be strong and hold them in as hard as I could with no avail. I opened my heart to her and expressed in words how saddened I was that she was leaving and I wouldn’t know when I would be able to see her again. We shared tears of sorrow. “Malesh, habibty” (It’s ok sweetie) she said to me endlessly. “We’ll see each other soon inshallah”. My husband must of thought we were both nuts LOL….  two grown women crying and wiping each others tears LOL like in the movies. 

The day before her departure, I cried most of the day. I wasn’t myself. I had some friends visit us to meet my lovely mother-in-law. I of course had to show her off LOL…. I wanted  my friends to see what a beautiful person she is. If some of you read this you will know what I’m referring too. I tried to put a front as we say here in the states a strong one trying to show my tough side and trying to conceal my true feelings and soft side that no one has ever seen, but only a handful of people in my life.  My eyes would fill with tears when I saw my mother-in-law’s face. I think she knew why I was so upset, and came quietly over to me and whispered “Darling, you are very beautiful, and I love you very much habibty”. Now that really made my want to cry LOL…. that day my husband was right to say I was in a bad mood but didn’t know why. Once my friends left our little tea party, I couldn’t hold these feelings inside of me any longer. I bursted into tears and exclaimed “Please don’t leave, I will miss you so much, and wish you didn’t have to leave us so soon”. She hugged me and did her best to console and reassure me that we would meet soon again inshallah. The rest of the day I pretty much had a kleenex box right beside me to catch the endless tears cascading down my cheeks.

On the day of farewell, we shared as many conversations as possible before she left to the airport. I shared with her how my relationship with my mom has been since embracing Islam, and how she has helped me in healing that part of my heart. I have never met anyone, neverless across the world who was so similar to me. Our life story so similar. I never imagined that a woman born in Islam and from Middle Eastern origin would ever have instances in her life identical to mine. This is a great reminder to me of how Allah (swt) has truly blessed me in many ways. I have become part of a family that I had always dreamed of having as a little girl. A family that has loved me even before they even knew me to be in existance. My mother-in-law said to me, ” Jennifer, I have loved my son’s wife before he even found her. I imagined her to be exactly like you in every way, I have loved you darling even before my son was born”. Those words have stayed imprinted in my heart. What sweet words, that holds so true. I have loved my husband and his family before meeting them also. Minutes before her final farewell we shared a tight hug that lasted minutes. My tears began to drip on her navy blue buttoned down shirt, I couldn’t bare seeing her leave to the airport. I stayed home knowing that the airport would only be flooded with my tears of sorrow.

This destined meeting with my mother-in-law is a true miracle to me. The void that I have had in my heart is no longer existing. It has been filled with what I have craved dearly these four years. It has crumbled that wall I used to distance myself from people and to safeguard my true emotions. All these occurencies that have taken place these seven days has proven to me that there is a Great One watching, hearing, and knowing everything about our souls. Who else could ever know me better than I know myself, to the extent that what I have longed for all my life has become reality. The might and power of Allah (swt) truly this was only made possible by Him who is Ar-Rahman (All-Merciful).

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