Sunday, September 03, 2006

Letter to Mother in Law

Daer MiL

We've known each other for a few years now. Yet things have not come full circle between us. Sure, we meet very occasionally, and there is the language barrier where "Naam?" is what we say most frequently in our attempts at making conversations.

But there are things that transcend cultural and linguistic barriers.

First thing is we have to keep in mind our cultural differences. Culture plays a big part - down to how we wash our floors even! I don't wash my floors like you do; yet my house is not cleaner than yours, and your house is not cleaner than mine. I don't like lamb, so I don't cook it - yet Ali has gained weight on my chicken and beef, and he relishes your lamb stews whenever he eats with you; honest, I'm not starving him!

Then there are the issues which do not concern Ali, but which are just between you and me. I'm not a hijjabi, and I resent that you make me a scene because I don't wear gloves when I'm visiting in Libya. I wear hijjab out of respect - even in the house because of your other sons - although I hate being covered in the comfort of home - but please don't try to make me do things I really resent. Black gloves and thick black socks are out!
Don't give me fake jewellery just to give me something. I'm not jealous of Widad that you gave her so much gold. If you don't want to spend on me, then don't; but taking me for a fool is offensive.
I'm not your daughter that you can shout at me and order me around; I take that form my mother who's given me life, and who's showed me enough love to last beyond one lifetime, but I won't take it from someone I consider a stranger.

In return I promise to not be jealous if Amnah shows you love and affection. I promise to keep a balance between you and my own mother where Amnah is concerned.
I'll show more eagerness when Ali suggests we visit Libya.
As a sign of personal goodwill I'll even try to eat on the carpets with you, and I won't send the sofray flying across the living room again - although I swear it was an accident - I had never eaten on the floor like that.

Please understand that I really love your son - so thank you for raising him into the man he is. You changed his nappies, fed him, and took care of him, and you took the leather belt onto his behind when he showed signs of disobedience and rebellion, until he's a greatfamily man now. So thank you! For that I genuinely thank you!


Blogger ArabLady said...

Enjoyed reading your LETTER! I could imagine myself writing similar letters to my future mother in law but make her son reads them!!

But you are blessed to live away from her at least !! what about those who live at the same house!oh Gosh.......

Love this post .keep it up …my kisses 2 ur little angle

4:31 AM  
Blogger UmmAminah said...

Ayya! Men should never be made to step in between DiL and Mil. They are unable to intervene in such a delicate matter. Their feet are huge; and if they're asked to put their feet in the matter, everything will get crushed to powder.

6:24 AM  
Blogger clayfuture said...

Interesting letter to you mom in law! Diplomatic, yet you manage to make your point of "don't push me!"

Keep writing!

8:41 AM  
Blogger khadijateri said...

My mother in law took to me right away... it was my father in law that took a while to get used to my strange foreign ways... in the end we became very good friends.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Phoenix said...

there are always differences in the environment and culture even in the same country. me and my wife are from the same country but from different areas; and it us a while to accommodate each other and understand the cultural differences. one of the reasons I left Jordan and moved to UAE is because im not feeling comfortable for my wife dealing with other relatives, because my relatives can not understand her appropriately.

12:29 AM  
Blogger UmmAminah said...

I tried so hard to understand him, create a balance between our cultures, but he took our differences as if I'm teasing him! Once he actually hit me for talking and laughing with my UNCLE!!! I had a horrible bruise on for ages all over my arm that it hurt to pick up my daughter.
There were times when I was not a good wife, like when I didn't cook anything for a whole week, but I'm not going to beat myself for my mistakes, because I genuinely tried to make this marriage the happiest one for my daughter. It was his choice to leave.

12:39 AM  
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11:35 PM  

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