My parents are always busy, always have been even before I was born, especially my father. He’s rarely home, moving from one city to the next in a spare of hours. (Actually, now that I really think about it, it was worse when I was younger and my father was a politician. He could be away for weeks and go back home for just two days or so. Abi has his own school to manage now so he couldn’t leave the town as often, for which I would be very grateful if not for the fact that I’m living away from my family anyway). I remember asking him why and he told me it’s because people need him. Innocent as I was just a kid, I said how does he know if people need him (I realize that even then, this question was not about something as obvious as people calling a doctor when they’re sick). He told me simply that just because people do not come knocking on your door for help does not mean there isn’t something wrong. He said while this world is indeed a beautiful place, it also contains layers and layers of problems and not everyone is sensible enough to see it, let alone trying to solve it. At that time, it really didn’t make the tiniest sense to my too young brain. I mean, why does Abi have to put persoalan ummat above anything else? As if his own family doesn’t need him. As if I don’t need him.
As selfish as a little girl could be, I often got mad (pundung is the more precise word actually) every time I purposely waited for him to come home and he only did long after I fell asleep (staying awake past 10 at night for a five-year-old is difficult, you see). I got upset when he didn’t buy me the toys I want but gave the money to the other children instead, patiently explaining that those children are not as lucky as I am (but of course I refused to understand, not when I wanted the toys so badly). I got jealous over kids my age when years passed by and there was not one time my parents ever throw a party to celebrate my birthday when the other parents did, thinking that the excuse of overspending for unnecessary cause was so lame and if they loved me enough, they should know that, come ooon, I freaking wanted a party! I never hate Ummi and Abi of course, but I couldn’t help wondering what is wrong with my parents and their oh-so-different way of raising me.
It took me so long to understand why my parents were (and still are) willing to give everything they have: money (they’re not the richest couple in town, darn it, I saw them having financial difficulties and yet they still give), body (if the fever is not bad enough, if he thinks he could still move, Abi would still attend his weekly halaqah and fulfill his other responsibilities, same goes to my mom), and soul (this I swear I just know, I know it with all my heart that they never wish for anything in return, that they find happiness in suffering for people’s sake). My parents hold on to their values so tight that they don’t mind being destroyed to defend it. And one thing I know ever since I could understand words: Ummi and Abi are the most selfless people I’ve ever known.
So selfless that they selfishly force me and my siblings to understand that until forever, we will always have to share our parents with the world. So selfless that they selfishly push us to open our eyes and see that being our parents is just one of their many more-demanding-roles. So selfless that they selfishly give only what my siblings and I really need and never what we want, no matter how badly we want it. So selfless that they selfishly passed down the same values to their children’s blood.
And so I promise myself to be selfishly selfless, too. Well, because why not? I grew up listening to bedtime stories about Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his friends defending the very same values my parents are defending today. Look at what it got them: a place by His side! It’s worth a try, right? I grew up learning about the true meaning of dedication from the people whose love is what I would always call home. I grew up feeling ashamed if I can’t make them proud the way they hope I would, not by achieving worldly achivements but by being the best version of me. And the best version of me would be Mutsla Qanitah (sebaik-baiknya wanita yang taat), the version that hopefully would be able to save them a place in heaven. And so I promise myself to be selfishly selfless, too. I am so inspired by the way they raise me that I promise myself to make my children a bunch of selfishly selfless people, too.
As you might already be able to see, my father is the person I most often have deep conversations with. Abi once said that Abi is never just my father, and until I understand that, I would never be satisfied with what he is to me. Abi once said that this path will always demand everthing from him, and until I understand that, I would always feel like he’s not enough of a father for me. Abi once said that as much as he loves me, he will never stray from that path, even if it means he has to put me aside every once in a while, and until I understand that, I will never be able to truly be his daughter.
I’ve never told him this, but as I get older and I begin to understand, I want him to know through my actions that I am his daughter. I’ll never stop trying to proof him that I’m his daughter alright. And for that, I plan to be a gorgeous, selfishly selfless person as best as I could. Pray for me, would you? Oh and of course you’re very welcome to join ;)