I was amazed and speechless. It is because of our conversation, my daughter and I.
I made an agreement with her that we will keep speaking in English to each other as I know that my brain is not as fresh as her, as I realized that I can learn good English from her and as I need to keep talking in English with somebody, otherwise my ability to speak the language will vanish. So, we have been talking in English for several months since I moved to Indonesia, mmh…not talking actually, but writing because mostly our communication is via Whatsapp or emails.
And today, after several busy days with no contact at all with her, we talked again.
Daughter (thirtheen years old): Is it fun there in Indonesia?
Mom: It is, but if I am not busy then I miss all of you very very much. It’s painfull sometimes, as a knife scratching on my heart.
Mom: Are you ready to move here Honey?
Daughter: Yes I am and Mom, if I am going to Indonesia, I want to wear hijab, okay…
Mom: *A bit surprised* Oow, that’s very good. I am happy to hear that, are you sure? Take your time Honey.
Daughter: Yes I am. My hair is very annoying at times.
Mom: Don’t get me wrong okay, of course I am happy, but I think it’s better if you find first about hijab, find the reason and why you wear it. Not only because of your hair or because of people in Indonesia.
Mom: But, it has to come out from your heart.
Daughter: I know Mom.
Mom: Good Honey, you are a good girl *Kiss icon* Honey, you know, actually there are some schools in Indonesia that make hijab as an obligation for the girls, but I don’t choose that kind of school for you. I don’t want my kids do something just because that is an obligation.
Daughter: Yes Mom
Mom: I want my kids do something because they know the reasons and it should come from their hearts. You know something, when I was doing my study abroad, some of my friends kept asking me why I wear hijab.
Daughter: It comes from my heart Mom.
Mom: Yes, you can say that, but for some people if you answer like that they will say that it doesn’t make sense, they’ll call it stupid. Why men don’t have to cover their hair? It’s not fair. They said, it is hot in Indonesia, are you crazy so you cover all of your body? Why God is so racist? That kind of questions are good questions and I think you also need to find the answers. So then you can be really sure with your choice, because to be honest, it’s not easy to wear hijab, Honey. I mean, the responsibility is not easy. So find the answers, take your time, and if you are really sure, then decide it, okay. *Kiss icon*
Daughter: Okay Mom *Another kiss icon*
Mom: I am proud of you and really support you, of course. I just tell you the worst case that you should know.
Daughter: Yes, but if you don’t wear hijab people will acknowledge you less faster as a muslima. That’s why.
Mom: Less faster? I don’t understand what is that?
Mom: Actually, the point is just don’t care about what people think about us. What really matter is about we are and Allah. So, you really have to find out and ask Allah, should I use it, why? It’s not between you and other people, it’s between you and Allah. That’s why you really need to ponder and just take your time.
Daughter: But it’s also about how you think and feel about yourself. I hate it when people look at me and tell me I am cute of so while they don’t know me and they just see me. I want people to like me for my personality and stuff. Because if people do so, I’ll feel more confident about myself. I think beauty is not everyone to see. Just for yourself, your family, Allah and your husband. That is why.
Mom: *Surprised* Woow you are really growing up Honey. My tears are coming up reading your answers hiks, so proud of you. What are you going to answer if people ask why do women have to hide their beauty? Why men are not? Why Allah is so racist?
Daughter: Men have another kind of beauty. The kind that women feel the ‘beauty’of men is kind of different. The world is racist too u.u. Allah created rules, and it’s actually sexist and not racist. Because Allah created men and women differently, and made rules for them. How would you feel if you make creatures and those creatures wouldn’t obey the rules they made for you. I know some people fall for people of their own sex, and I respect that. It’s against the rules, but it’s their choice and not mine. So if they want to do that they can.
Mom: And what will you answer if people ask why God is so crangky, makes a very detail rule like that, and why it’s only for moslem people, why different religions don’t have to use hijab? There is only one God in this world, isn’t there?
Daughter: God is only helping us to survive in this world and to be closer with Him. There are more monotheist religions and in all those religions there is only one God and that is the same with all. So it’s actually that Allah made rules for jews, and a few more for Christian and more for Islam. But see it as a restaurant. There are small meals, medium meals and large meals. In the small one you may not get full. And maybe in the medium one neither. But you get food and that is good. If you really want to get full, you take the large one, and that’s what I think it is.
Mom: *really really surprised icon* Oh Dear Lord my Honey, I am really amazed with your answer, you are so smart! You know, I told you already maybe. When I was in Groningen, there were some people who did racialist things to me. Remember? The lady who I worked with, as her cleaning service? She said I am a terrorist.
Mom: She doesn’t like Islam. She thinks that I am stupid wearing a hijab, etc etc.
Daughter: Well if that’s her choice to think so she thinks so. You just need to ignore it.
Mom: Yes of course, but are you ready for that?
Daughter: I am already ignoring people’s opinions.
Mom: Because if you experience it, it is really not easy.
Daughter: You remember when I was in the 8th class and I was very sad right? I took people’s jokes and opinions seriously.
Mom: Yes, and?
Daughter: I learned from my mistakes and I tried to stop doing that, convincing myself that this is my life that I live and not theirs.And I just ignored them, and now if people say bad things about me, I can just laugh at it. But a few years ago I would’ve cried about it.
Mom: Wow that’s good Honey.
Daughter: Thanks Mom
Mom: You are just like your Dad, he really knows what is his goal and if it is not bother his relation between him and Allah, he will never mind and just let it go.
Daughter: Yeah. Okay Mom, Daddy wants to talk to you again, and please don’t put all of this on facebook okay…
Mom: *Uups, why she knew what I am going to do with facebook, but…wait… calm down, we’ll see :D* I am really proud of you Honey. Don’t get me wrong, your answers really are smart and good, but you have to learn more about it, take your time and ask your heart.
Daughter: Do you know how many times I’ve thought of this?
Mom: How many?
Mom: Really? Wow!
Daughter: I already took my time.
Mom: Okay that’s very good. Now just let it go and see what your heart will say in the next three or six months.
Daughter: Okay Mom. Love youuu….
Mom: By the way, why can’t I put this on facebook? It’s very inspiring. I won’t tag you, though.
Daughter: I don’t want people to know the real me. Don’t even say my daughter.
Mom: But I have been writing about my kids since you and your brother were very small, in my blog, and I still keep doing it. How about that?
Daughter: Okay Mom, if it’s not facebook it’s okay.
Mom: But my blog is even worst, there are so much people in this world can read it *Big smile*
Daughter: Okay…okay you can say ‘my daughter’but not my name, okay. I don’t care if my friends can read it. It’s okay.
Mom: Hahaha thank you Honeeey. I love you my smart girl *kiss icon*
And wow…I am still amazed and speechless. Lately, since I left my kids for continuing my study (again) sometimes I feel like, ughh how bad I am as a Mom. But sometimes I also feel like that it’s enough, it’s time for me to catch and grow up’’. I already stayed very close with them, almost 24 hours every day for more than 10 years. I know that being a parent is a never ending job, there is no ‘”enough’’ word, but I need another “air’ for refreshment, just for a moment, is that bad? However, the conversation with my daughter today really heals me. What Khalil Gibran said in his poem ‘On children’ is really true. “Your children is not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”
And now… I feel that I can smile and be happy as it seems that my husband and I already are going in the right direction, putting ‘the arrow’ in place so ‘’the arrow ‘ can go swift and far.