Baba

Let me button up your coat one more time
Hold your fleshy hands
Watch football reruns and westerns
Just to be with you,
To be held by you, nurtured by you,
Understood by you, loved by you.

You were the age I am now when you married
And planted the family tree that you so nurtured,
So loved and adored, in your protective shade,
Loving, kind, bewildering, breathtaking,
You allowed me to be me, to be free.
You were the age I am now.

I have become like you
Perhaps I always was, but you see,
I didn’t know you when you were younger
In your 20s, 30s, and early 40s
Still experiencing and exploring the world
Before you felt ready to plant your roots and nurture your tree.

I embraced the wildness of a bush over the stability of a tree
Every few years cutting the healthiest parts and replanting
In new soil, with new water, and a new perspective.
Maya, the most beautiful blossom, is now 16 years old
She has joined me in every replanting, in my 20s, 30s and early 40s
As I have experienced and explored the world

She will soon leave the nest to discover and experiment without me
A little younger than I was when I left the nest you and mama so carefully maintained
I hope I have given her the strength, the courage, the grounding
That you so beautifully gave me
Though she will always know, just as I did,
That her path home will forever be obstacle free


I wrote this poem a few days before I realised I would be turning the same age to the day (15,293 days) as my father was when he married my mother and they planted our family tree. I find myself more and more like him every day and it is a privilege, an honour, to walk in the light of such a great man and finally, finally, understand. This photograph of my father and my daughter was taken around 13 years ago, just before we moved to Syria.

*Maya is my inspired and inspiring daughter. Her name appears frequently in these pages, as she is not only my greatest love, but also my muse and my teacher.

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