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  • Marya Kazmi

Time is a Transformational Tool

Recently I had the opportunity to be on a podcast called “Not Just A . . .” hosted by one of my former guests, Dr. Trudy Ann Frazer. I was sharing my journey as Brown Girl Interrupting and all the things I have created and do. As we started talking she asked me how time has been a transformational tool in my life. In the interview I reflected on past moments of my evolution in healing. Then Mother’s Day came and the idea she brought up came back to the forefront.


I thought about this idea of time on Sunday as I celebrated my 24th Mother’s Day with my four children; three grown boys who are 23. 21 and 18 and my baby girl who is 7. My children made it very special and I enjoyed the whole weekend. A year ago the landscape of this day was starkly different. Time has been a transformational tool in the relationship with my children. Where we are standing today is nothing like where we were a year ago and a day like this past Sunday, is proof of how time can transform circumstances and heal us.


Let’s go back to Sunday May 14, 2023. It was Mother's Day and I woke up before any of the kids with a heaviness I could not shake. It felt like bricks on my chest pushing me into my mattress. I slowly managed to pull myself out of bed and into the shower. As I stood under the hot water my thoughts were racing through all that had happened in those 23 years, beginning with my first pregnancy that tied me to my ex husband and led to the emotional and mental pain I endured for the next 18 years with him. My overthinking mind could not stop retracing the memories and moments I wish I could have changed.


I walked into my closet to change and as I was thinking about what outfit matched with the sadness I was wearing internally, I gave up the search and fell into a curled up fetal position at the floor of my closet. Still wrapped in a towel with soaking wet hair, I was crumpled up on the floor of my closet sobbing uncontrollably and without the ability to move my body. The emotions were like a flood of internal baggage flowing through my body and out in the open. The day continued with that tone and level of energy. 


 I was thinking about the state of my life and relationships. The person I trusted to be the father of my children was more than a disappointment, he was the biggest regret and pain I had ever had to endure. Being married to him not only left me in a financial and emotional mess, his influence on my relationship with my children was a constant fracturing I was regularly undoing. 


At that moment the poisoning of my boys was evident and present in every interaction I had with them. So although it was Mother’s Day and my children have learned to do things to make it special, there is a massive difference between checking a box to complete a task and genuinely doing things from the heart. Many interactions and conversations with hurtful words and behaviors led me to feel that this year was more of a checkbox than a moment to honor our connection as mother and sons. 


Even though my mind could have made sense of this and sucked up those feelings to put on a happy face for the sake of my children and avoid making them feel uncomfortable, something in me would not allow it. I could not fake happy even for my children on Mother’s Day. So my body took control and I cried. Deep heavy vocal gasps and tears flowing without my ability to refocus and find my center. 


My daughter was the first one to come into my room and find me. Her instinct was to sit by my side, rub my back and keep repeating, “ It’s ok Mama. Let your feelings out, it’s ok to cry.” But eventually, she too felt unsure of what to do and told her brothers where I was and what was happening. 


I made my way back to the bed and spent the next few hours just laying unable to move or talk to the kids. They all came in and looked at me, asking me what I needed, water, tea, food, anything that might make me feel better. I had grown boys trying to understand the complex emotions of their mother who could barely understand them for herself. My boys were lost as to how to help me and make me feel better. Luckily my youngest sister, Amna, called from Colorado and immediately knew by the tone of my voice how deep I was in these emotions. 


Amna quickly got the boys on the phone and rallied them to take some action to get me out of bed. Then she promptly called my mother whom I had originally planned to visit for Mother’s Day and told her, “Today Baji ( the term of respect my sister refers to me by) needs you.” My mom made a quick pivot and came right over. 


The day ended up with my boys making her lunch, hosting her at the house and me on the sofa in a daze unable to move. At one point I was able to curl up with my head on my mother’s lap and as she stroked my hair, I finally felt at peace enough to fall asleep. I recall waking up to the sound of laughter and conversation at my kitchen table of my kids and their Grandmother enjoying a meal. The boys stepped it up and did what they could in their power to make the day a little less difficult for me. 


                                                      Time is a transformational tool.


Fast forward to Sunday May 12th 2024. Those same children and I see and treat each other so differently. There are still many things that have to heal between us, and challenges are still present, but our relationship has taken a course to bring us to a much better place. That was thanks to time and allowing myself to let go. 


The months that followed May 2023 had dips and valleys that rocked me to my core. I questioned which of my children I could trust and if I could truly ever rely on them to support me when I struggled in life. But time also allowed my boys to see truths about their lives and the roles adults have played in their beliefs about me and themselves. Time gave them opportunities to examine if adult actions were for their benefit or for the comfort and needs of that other individual. Toxicity comes to the surface when time and patience permits it to. Time brought my boys back into my life, healed our relationship and allowed us to be more honest with one another. The power of time as a transformational tool is to allow and have faith that with time wounds heal, what is done in the dark comes to light and relationships that have strong foundations and roots will survive.


This Mother’s Day May 2024 began with my two oldest sons treating me to dinner on Friday. The three of us shared stories, laughed at life and old times and even connected on the things and people we agree have been painful and detrimental in our ability to stay connected. We genuinely had a beautiful evening that was far from a checkbox and so much more about the authenticity of our complex family dynamics that all five of us have had to endure because of one person’s role in our lives. 


Last year I was regretting all my choices and feeling sorry that I let someone so damaging into my life, this year I sit and realize that the path we all endured and have traveled has taught us far more about life and molded us into the strong people we are today with the bond I have between my children and me as a family. 


Time is a transformational tool. Thanks to Dr. Trudy Ann for pushing me to reflect on this and the power it has had to shape me and my children. 


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