My Mother’s a Rebel
“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
This quote says it all. I love Mother’s day because it seems so fitting that someone who pours into you your whole life should deserve a day to be celebrated. Not sure what you have planned this weekend, but hopefully it’s wonderful.
I have so much reverence and respect for my mother. For those of you who don’t know, she has a pretty juicy story 😉
She was the daughter of a Pastor in Egypt, a political figure. He was pretty much the equivalent of the pope of the Presbyterian church in Egypt. In Egypt you are either Muslim or Christian, there aren’t any other religions, so he was kind of a big deal, and he never wanted her to immigrate to America.
He said he wanted her to be by his side when he died, but she had dreams of the Land of Freedom, and a better life.
My mother was very popular, beautiful, and quite the catch. Many men came to her father to ask for her hand, but if they were going to take her away to America he would turn them away before she found out.
One day a man named Samir Faltas came to their door, and asked for my mother’s hand, only this time she overheard the conversation. She fought for what she wanted and went to see a prophet. This prophet said that this was the man she was meant to marry, so she married him after only knowing him for 2 weeks.
She was the only child out of 7 who was rebellious and irreverent enough to have the audacity to go after her dreams regardless of her powerful father’s wishes. She was a rebel.
She pioneered the way over to a foreign land, left her family and all that she knew on the hope of a dream. As we know the road to our dreams can be met with much turbulence.
They had two girls, the first they named Valerie and 3 years later they had Shereen.
My beautiful mother struggled in her marriage. The first year was a happy one, yet every year thereafter plummeted her deeper into a world of verbal abuse, control, and turbulence until in the 7th year of her marriage she was being physically abused by the only family she had in America. The man she trusted to be her partner and care taker on this journey of life.
So she did the unspeakable. At this time in the Egyptian culture, divorce was unheard of. Taboo. You just didn’t do it, no matter how bad things were, it was unacceptable to break up a marriage.
She knew that if she continued in this marriage that her two daughters would also suffer the way she had, and she could not bear the thought. So she rebelled again.
She left him, and pioneered another path to being a single woman in a foreign land. It was a hard road for her, but she nailed it.
My mother and I have had all the typical stages of growth that a mother and daughter have. Childhood, the dramatic adolescence, and the maturing of adulthood. She has been my biggest critic and most vehement supporter in my journey as a girl into a woman, as an employee into an entrepreneur, as someone with a mediocre life into a thought leader who founded and leads a powerful movement. Through it all, she has been there.
And as I look back at her life and her legacy, and who she has been in the world, I find a deeper understanding of myself. She was the original Rebel. She pioneered the way for me to live a life that most Egyptian girls could only dream of. For me to have more choice & freedom & happiness & joy than billions of others in the world get to experience.
And with every moment of my life, every breath that I take, every fiber of my being, I am grateful. I write you this story with tears in my eyes. Reverence for the amazing woman that she is, and who she has helped me become. Her story is one of valiance, of courage, of faith, of struggle, and of sweet victory. She has achieved her dream, freedom for herself and her children. Truly what more can you give a human being than the right to breath more easily?
The right to be whoever they want to be (even if it meant I had to rebel against her a bit to get there 😉 But isn’t that fitting? That I TOO would be a rebel as she was? She may not like it at times, but she respects it as I do her.
I share with you this story for a few reasons. First because it’s a juicy one =) Second because it helps you know my history and where I came from a bit…and mostly to sing my mother’s song. She deserves to have her story told.
A woman as valiant and courageous as her should be shared with the world to encourage others. She is a rebel and a bad ass…a leader and an icon.
I love her and I am so lucky to have her as my mother in this experience of life. So with this, I wish her a happy Mother’s day. God knows she deserves it 😉
In reverence to Mothers all around the world,