Having helpful siblings is a gift. Having them helpful and wise is a bless. Ten years ago, my eldest sister gave me an advice that was a turning point in my life. I was leading around eighty of my students in a service project back then, we were passionate and motivated about it and we were savouring the taste of team work and reaping its fruits. My daughter was four at that time, practicing ballet and getting ready for the end of season show. Having her cousin on the same performance, my sister took charge of driving my girl to the trainings with her own daughter. On the show, I felt proud of my daughter in her white dress and her smooth movements. We took pictures to capture the memory and I slept unaware of the journey my daughter had taken till she stood on that stage.
After finishing my project, my sister called to congratulate me. She said: “Iman, I want you to take care. Your daughter had been asking me for all her needs lately. The tights, the hair crown and the dress for the show she asked me to get them for her.” “Yes I know, thank you for your help. Can’t thank you enough actually for helping me with all that.” “I love to help, but just take care.” “Take care of what?” I asked. “Don’t let your kids consider you dead while you’re alive.”
Her words still hurt till now. I had missed it. I had failed my daughter. I didn’t deserve her smiles on the stage that night, I wasn’t there for her along her long journey of trainings, preparations and hard practice for the party. Why did I expect to reap what I hadn’t saw? My sister was the one.
This sentence as hard as it was and as broken my heart felt that day, it had made me reconsider my priorities and shift my paradigms.
I rarely took work home with me since then. My time in the evening was devoted to my family, my family came first and I woke up from being a dead parent.