Monday, December 24, 2007

A Tribute to Sa3deyya Saqr

Over the years, I didn't see the point to my life, I mean I don't know why I do certain things and act in certain ways and make certain choices. I "stumbled" upon my hobbies out of chance, I went to a certain faculty just to spite my dad (may Allah bless his soul), and at this phase of my life I can't figure out what is it that drives me, actually it's absolutely nothing; I do my job because I'm supposed to, I gain social and professional skills because they'll help my job and my relationships with people, not to reach an "ultimate" goal.
How is this related to Sa3deyya Saqr? Well, first I have to introduce her; she's my maternal grandma; she's in her seventies, and she has the most fascinating character I've ever seen! She's an old fashioned woman who believes a woman's "ultimate" goal is to give this world healthy, well-mannered, and successful children. She did just that! She had six children in what we call a "middle-class" family. Life was never easy; on the contrary, some days were very hard financially and socially. She had a rough marriage, but she kept it well preserved. She could not afford to provide her kids with life material luxuries, but she compensated that with a simple loving heart. She was a very neat woman; keeping her house clean and her food sinfully delicious, and she didn't do it in loneliness, she used to gather her children around her in the kitchen and make stuff, and she gave every one of her daughters a hand craft to master so that they can always have something to do. She kept her house in pristine state; you can not find anything out of order, even made a fashionable "dressing" to the old fashioned oven "gas tube" so that you don't have to see its ugliness. She used to make her kids' clothing on the sewing machine. Up til now, she can still reflect "beauty" on anything that "looks" wrong or out of place.
You'd think that I'd say she's a highly cultured woman with sophisticated political and social views! Well, none of that, I once found one of her school books, and what did it contain? brilliant methods to do house work; dress-making, tips, recipes,...etc. I marvelled not only on the fact that she actually "studied" that but also that she kept it for all these years (we're talking about things from the forties and fifties here.) and she always has a solution to any problem within that area; a small problem like aligning winter blankets? she made buttons on one and holes o the other and Voila!! you link the two together and no aligning problem!
Once I had a discussion with my uncle Mohamed; whom I'd like very much to have a blog entry about because he's a very interesting character, but the conversation was about our "mothers"; his mother and his sister. He asked me: "was your mother a good mother?" and he has specific standards to the "yes" answer, I said "No" and we had a mutual understanding that we both meant the same set of standards. I asked then: "Did you?" and he said (and I hope to quote it right): "She was a good mother in the sense that she took good care of her children's physical needs; she provided good food, good clothing as her tight budget allowed, and good shelter. She provided a sanctuary for us. But she was not culturally motivating or highly sophisticated." Maybe the latter meaning was implied in his answer and not stated explicitly, but I understand what he meant; he meant that as an "intillegent" man, he needed more of his parents than that, and I think that "more" should've come from his father except for the fact that they were at odds. Of course by me answering "No" to his question I meant that my mother didn't even provide those basic needs; it was out of her hand to some degree; but a mother is never forgiven for her mishaps! My uncle has a theory that I concluded through observation; which is "Everything you say, do, or make your child do, must be for a higher purpose to be achieved and value to be gained and ingrained in him." Well, my grandma may not be that sophisticated, but she had a wonderful thing to give her kids that sophistication can't provide: a gathering that can be happy in spite of the individuals' problems. The siblings gather in the kitchen with her and remember with a laugh, a sigh, and a joke, how they did in the old days. The kitchen is the sanctuary where all problems fade aways and only the old smells and voices remain in the atmosphere.
This about sums up why I opened my entry the way I did; I want to have that deep and wonderful effect in some people who will carry that effect through the ages. I know that if I'm destined to have kids one day I'll tell them the story of this great and wonderful woman who single-handedly raised six children and made them very successful in their current positions in life, and tried as hard as she could to make their harsh life easier with her warmness. Her presence still provides power to their annual gatherings, even as she grows more and more silent over the years. She enjoys watching them around her, competing to make her life comfortable and enjoyable. Maybe you can't discuss political or cultural matters with her, but you'll sure get a helpful and beautiful hint to make life better and easier and more "beautiful."

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