A relative of mine has a son who is station in Basra, Iraq. She shared this story that he sent her on Mother’s Day. It is a very moving story.
I met a lady by the name of Rihanna who runs a local shop here on base. She had a couple of pictures of what looked to be a little boy and her on a shelf near the back of the shop. I asked her if it was her son to which she replied, “yes”. So I told her that in American today would be her day and since she was with Americans that we offer her thanks for being a Mother on this special day. She seemed confused by this and I quickly learned that she has only been on the base a couple of months after one of the other shop owners decided to do something else. So her experience with Americans was little as most of the Soldiers just bought the jewlery and left.
She asked me; “so your country gives one day to Mother’s?”. To which I replied; “one Official Day, the other days we love them in our own way”.
She smiled and said; “Maybe someday, it will happen here too. A holiday just for Mothers.”
She kind of drifted off and I was about to walk out when she said; “Excuse me, but I must tell you something.”
“What is it?”, I asked.
In perfect English she said, “I wish I would have known about these things before about your country. I was offered a place on this base for years and I continued to say no. Other friends of mine who have shops here would tell me of the riches they enjoyed because of their shops on base. One shop on this base brings thirty times the money as a shop in Basra. I did not believe it for a couple years, but year after year of my friends getting richer and finally I took my place here. In four months on this base I have made more than I have in the last ten years.”
I asked her, “What made you afraid to come to the base before?”
She spoke as she began to cry, “You must understand, the boy in the picture you see here is indeed my son. But I have not seen him in the four months that I have been here. Because of the rules of this society, my husband will no longer allow me to see my son and I most likely get a divorce. When we get divorced, my husband will no longer let me see my son. But, I had to come here because we needed the money. With this money I can guarantee my son’s future. Even if I cannot see him, I will give him everything that I have to make a better life.”
I was about to talk to console her, but stopped as she continued.
“Perhaps in the years to come, I will be able to see him again. Maybe, if Iraq starts to think like America does, Mothers will be equal to Fathers in the law as well as the heart. I can only pray that this day will come to my country.” She turned to me and said softly,”before today, I never thought American’s could give me hope. I only thought you could give me pain. Thank you for letting me know about such a day in your country, so I can pray that it comes to mine.”
I thanked her for her wonderful words and went out the door much richer than I went in, hoping myself that her wish would come true.
So, this Mother’s day, thank you for what you do and who you are, and have a quiet moment and give thought to Mothers around the world who need a day like today.