Dear Mum, I was counting my blessings and you came to mind. How fitting it is that the first person on my list is also the first one who knew me when I arrived into this world. I’ve always wondered how you felt about me when you were carrying me in your womb. And now as I scroll through my news feed, coming across soon-to-be mothers showing off their tummy bumps getting bigger as the weeks pass, I am hoping that you did the same.

Perhaps not on any of your social media accounts (because I doubt you had any back then), but to those you knew. Or maybe not to your family and friends, but to yourself in the mirror. Even if you didn’t, I hope the marks that remain on your body now remind you of those nine months, which I am afraid to describe in words, because only you and all other mothers would know what they were like. And I ask this of you just so that you remember how special of a human being you must be in the eyes of Allah – that He chose you to bear another life.

Dear Ibu, your love manifests itself in a perfect combination of opposites – firm yet gentle, strong yet soft – and how lucky am I to have been on its receiving end. It baffles me why someone could love so much, but perhaps when I have my own children (InsyaAllah), I would also take a day off from work to be by their side when they collect their PSLE results, and utter their names in my prayers for Allah to forgive them when they raise their voice at me, and check in on them in the middle of a thunderous, stormy night to make sure they are still sound asleep.

It is not just in the things that you do for me, but in how much of yourself that you put into doing every single one of them that has made me into the person that I am today. And although I am far from perfection and am at times tired of trying and failing, the silent pride in your eyes when you speak of your children is reason enough to keep me going.

I begin to fully understand why heaven is under the sole of a mother’s feet

Dear Ummi, as the days pass, and with each sunset that witnesses my growth as a person, I begin to fully understand why heaven is under the sole of a mother’s feet. On days when my life gets too hectic and I become too absorbed in caring for things that would not matter in the long run, a single text message from you asking me if I have eaten reminds me of what is important – family.

Thinking about the sacrifices you’ve made for each of us keeps me grounded and humbled. It takes a woman of insurmountable kindness and patience to keep a family tight-knit. And I would be fortunate if in my lifetime, I become just half the woman you are. So I write this as a little tribute to you – a token of thanks that you have never asked for from me. Blessings beget blessings, and I pray that every wrinkle you gain from working so tirelessly for me and the family will reap boundless rewards from Him.