Beneath Mom’s Feet by Professor A.L.I.
“When you were born,” my mother used to tell me, “you were like a little bird, so tiny.” I imagine her holding me close, easing my transition into this world and throughout my life, no one has done more for me, and especially as selflessly as she did and there hasn’t been a moment since she passed that I haven’t longed for her embrace—even though, as she breathed her last breath, she did so in my arms.
People who really know me know that every night I fall asleep longing to have a dream of her, to connect with an old memory or catch a metaphysical glimpse of her form. In many ways I feel her in my life, I see her in the expressions of my children and wonder how she was when she was growing up and I wish I could see her interacting with them.
She was a life long educator and she taught countless generations throughout her life how to read and write. So many students, that some of my most consistent memories of her were of her helping young children from the neighborhood in her spare time, wherever we were staying learn how to read–many of whom were ESL students and recent immigrants. I began tutoring because she did. I taught because she did and I turned into an educator to be like her.
I miss our walks together, her advice and ever-hopeful perspective on life. I miss her ability to make the bad days go away with a smile and hug. I miss her singing, her melodic voice, singing in the four or five languages she was fluent in as she worked around the home or when she gardened and made roses bloom more beautifully on the bushes she touched than anywhere else I have seen on the planet.
She was a humanist, who believed in the multiplicity of paths to the divine, and though she turned to an Islamic way of framing towards the end of her life, she remained a lover of Krishna, Jesus and other conduits to God. Through her I find the same connection to other human beings and I find, as the Prophet Muhammad instructed, in what could be my most favorite quote in the faith of Islam, that paradise is found beneath one’s mother’s feet.