I still clearly remember the day
When I came home early from school, to your dismay.
I handed you the sealed letter
That the principal had given me,
And saw the tears that nestled in the corner of your eyes
As you read it like it was some plea.
You folded the letter and placed it in the drawer next to your side.
You took me in your arms and let out a sigh.
You cupped my face and said,
“My boy, you are a great kid,”
As you kissed my eight-year-old forehead.
I spent the next two weeks home.
You said the principal gave me a holiday
Because I was the smartest kid in the class.
Before that, I had always thought I was just a castaway.
You instilled in me self-belief.
Your “You’ll do better next time, In Sha Allah,”
Never failed to give me relief.
I was always easily hurt
By words and paper swords,
But each time, you picked me up and brushed off the dirt.
You taught me how to tread,
Step by step.
And patiently corrected,
When I purposely misread,
Letter by letter and word by word.
I was never the best child,
A silly boy, lost in thoughts and caught in mirth,
But you looked at me and always smiled.
Your love made me feel like as if
I was the only child on planet Earth.
I still remember the day
When I came home wounded, covered in mud,
And for the first time, you scolded me when you saw the blood.
I had gotten into a fight.
You told me I should stand up for myself
And fear only Allah and His Might.
Now, I stand here, Ma.
Graduation cap in one hand and a degree in the other.
I longed for you to see me in this.
You did leave me with your sweet words and sincere prayers,
But it is your presence that I miss.
In the drawer next to the bed,
Tucked away beneath everything,
A detention letter from fifteen years ago,
Sent from the principal to the mother of a child
Who had learning difficulties.
Written by: Areeba Khan
Edited by: The Editorial Team
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