By Iman Masoud

Dear mother,

I want to say thank you for giving birth to me. You always tell me stories of how long it took me to come out when I was the tiny one out of me and my siblings. You told me there was a time you were scared because a week after coming home, I became really ill to the point where I had to go to the hospital because there was too much water in my system. These stories make me feel connected with my mother and family as a whole, just hearing what my mother went through to bring me up just amazes me. She always calls me hardheaded and I can see why from all the stories she has told, and I can’t wait for these to be stories for generations.

I want to ask, Were you nervous because I was the first child you had and you were scared? Another question is: How was raising me and then birthing my brother three years after me? It must have been crazy, huh? You tell stories of the struggles you went through with us and how we would mess up the house and drive you nuts. But I am glad you took real good care of me because I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for your undivided attention and care.

Lastly, I want to ask for the secret of your jollof rice because every time I try to cook it, it comes out watery and doesn’t have a lot of flavour. So would you kindly teach me your recipe? Yours is just right every time, with a gigantic burst of flavours. I would also like you to teach me how to make peanut butter soup. Every time you make it, it’s so creamy in my mouth with a pound of fufu washing everything down. You make cooking fun and memorable and that’s how we connect. Cooking brings me and you together because when you cook you are happy and I get to express things to you because I know you are in a happy mood.

Before I close this letter out, I just want to say you are the best mother ever. You always ask me to do little things that get me pissed off but I know you just want the best. You are no ordinary mother, you make me stand out with all the training you have given me. You inspire both me and my siblings more than you think, you never keep us lacking and always make sure we come first. You bring joy with your smiles and laughter with your creativity. You make young kids like me believe we could do it and rule the world. You work a night shift job for what, just to take care of the family. I always ask you, Mommy are you off? You always reply, If I was always off how can I take care of your kids? I don’t want to get carried away because it isn’t even mother day yet but just know no matter what I do it will be under your name.

Love, Iman

Dear Mother was written in Jacqueline Woodson’s Family and Friends quaranTEEN voices, our virtual writing workshop for teens. Help support the unique voices of our young authors by sharing their stories and making a donation on our website! To receive notices about opportunities for your child, sign up for our youth writing opportunities newsletter.

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