Letter to Mother in Law
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!