Updated: Apr 3
A few years ago a tarot reader said to me that the spirit of an important man in my life who passed is connected to my daughter. At the time she was 2 years old, and although I felt the truth of that statement, I couldn’t pinpoint what made me believe it and then this week I had a moment which took me back and reminded me of all the ways that has become a reality in our lives.
My work partner and I were leading a meeting with a group of educators and we posed a community builder question “If you could write a book what would it be about?”. One woman shared that she would write a children’s book about her late mother and her daughter’s relationship if they had met. This inspired today’s post. I feel my daughter has been a connection to my father after his passing 13 years ago this September.
I first started to see it after the tarot reader spoke about the connection this spirit she carried had between her oldest brother and her. I would watch as the two who are 16 years apart in age had this closeness of comfort and safety that in many ways I have seen my son struggle with throughout his life.
It started when she was born and has since evolved into so much more.
He was the one who whispered the traditional Muslim custom of the call to prayer, or Adhan, in her ear when she was born just as my father once did for each of my boys at birth. She grounds him and I see the softest and most loving sides of him come out when they are together. His desire to be a man who leads her to be better, learn and grow is important for him. He protects her and guides her just like my father once did for him.
This connection she holds with my father has guided our interactions as well. A few years ago, I started a ritual with my daughter as a nightly routine in our home. It was so familiar from my childhood but yet also so far away in my memory of being a young girl and the moments I tucked away with my dad as I grew up and my focus was on so many other things. I had never recalled doing this with my boys, but yet somehow it came back to me with her. It’s the same thing my father would say to me each night before bed as he tucked me in.
Good night, sleep tight.
Don’t let the bedbugs bite.
And in the morning light, you will wake up bright
To do what’s right ,with all your might.
As a younger child I was stuck on the bed bugs not biting, but as he repeated it each night I realize he was planting a seed to how I live every day putting my light and energy into my tine spaces and places in the world and with the people. I love to do what's right with all my might. Making him proud as he watched while here and now from wherever his spirit surrounds me.
For the past few years I see how it gives her a sense of peace and something familiar she can ground herself in to ease herself to sleep nightly. It's become such a routine that even if I can't be there at the moment of bedtime due to work or other responsibilities the bedtime story and song can be passed, but not this special routine. Because we do this nightly, I have my father in my mind and heart as I finish my day as well. Without realizing it, she is tying me to him and reminding me how he continues to watch over me and my kids.
This week she did a research project in her first grade class and the animal she chose was a hummingbird. She didn’t know it at the time, but that is my father’s favorite bird. I have fond memories of sitting with him and watching his bird feeders around the perimeter of our house awaiting these delicate little creatures to flutter by and sip up the nectar. She has these moments where she says and does things that remind me of my father and his spirit.
I imagine all these similarities and the fact that she is a lot like me as a child, he would have adored her. Her energy, her curiosity and precociousness would have made him smile and challenged him just like years ago his middle daughter Marya once did. He would have referred to her with his endearing Urdu terms, Beti or Jaan, and spoiled her with time and his energy.
I am certain she would have become his shadow following him around as he built things or messed with the electronics of his complex technology splurges throughout our home. He would have great discussions with her and she would love his knowledge of everything under the sun as the walking encyclopedia she could turn to when her wonderings and curiosity about the world, life and philosophical ideas took over her brain.
She’s the only child my father never met, yet I think she is more connected to him despite that reality. The boys remember him physically, but they also knew his final three years of his life as they watched his body wither and his mind leave us over time until his passing on September 10, 2010. Then 6 years later and with so much change in my life ensuing, she came into the world on September 7th, 2016.
She gets to know his spirit and soul which is filled with life, discovery and passion for people and justice and leads us to hold that memory of his strongest days and presence in our lives. I like to say, I am not a daddy's girl, but I am my father's daughter.
Here's to the one man who loved me and believed in me like no one has.
Hope I am continuing to make you proud.
Love you, Ba.