Veteran’s Day & Lucky Numbers

The “1” button on everyone’s keyboard is surely getting a good workout today. May I suggest being kind enough to split your usage between the “1” above your letters, and the “1” on your number pad. I mean seriously people, give ’em a break!

But that’s not what I meant to talk about. I wanted to talk about lucky numbers, and then move into Veteran’s Day. Ready? Here we go!

Okay first off, my husband’s lucky number is 11. He always had it as a jersey number in school. Also, my birthday is in the month of 11. For that fact alone, I think we were meant to be together. Just sayin’.

Now then, let’s use the hubby mention as a segway into the more important topic here.

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My Childhood (From What I Know) – Part III: Mom

*sigh*

When I think about mom, it’s as if I split into two people. (It may have to do with being on the cusp of scorpio and sagittarius though. It can be a very conflicting state of mind!)

laila A’s bleeding heart is always loudest at first: Your heart aches to think about her because you know she is sick and nobody would live their life doing the things she does consciously. She doesn’t know any better. And she’s been through a lifetime of strife. Love her. Accept her. Help her.

But laila 1’s stubbornness strikes immediately: How can I love her when she took my one chance at a childhood and turned it into loneliness and confusion? She did not teach me basic life skills, and she made walls from words to keep me away from my cousins, aunts and uncles, simply because they were on my dad’s side of the family. I missed out on so much because of her. I struggle to live a normal life because of her. I sacrificed everything I could in my teens and early 20’s because of her. I put aside my dreams for her.

But laila A does not back down: How can you love her you ask?! Because she can’t help herself. We just talked about this! (She rolls her eyes.) And she did the best she could with what she had. She loves you with all her heart, and you break hers when you don’t call or show that you care.

laila A. That bitch usually wins.

My mother didn’t take care of my sister’s very well in Iran. My oldest sister did most of the cooking and cleaning and my middle sister, while she hasn’t denied that, has never refuted it either. (And she would, because a: she’s honest to a fault and b:the two don’t have the best relationship.) How can you blame them? From what I understand, mom hit them often and yelled at them even more.

When we moved to London, my mother had a mitral valve repair to her heart. Funny – the most I’ve ever really known about this is from a story that my family pull’s out of the Family Arsenal of laila’s Embarrassing Childhood Stories, which they like to share with friends and (when we were dating), my husband. Apparently, when my sisters took me to go see her in the hospital, they gave me a carnation to give to her. The second we walked in though, my two year old self must have been so overwhelmed by the sight of my “mommy” hooked up to machines, that tears started rolling down my cheeks and I started eating the flower petals frantically, as my eyes remained locked on my mother. (Umm…the beginnings of stress eating anyone?) Hahahaha. I think that’s hilarious. Little did I know that I’d see her in that state often.

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My Childhood (From What I Know) – Part II: Dad

In the US, my father worked extremely hard, six days a week as a sole proprietor and every Sunday as our personal gardener, lawn mower and handy man. My mother was an amazing cook and did catering on the side for extra cash (because my father didn’t seem to give her a decent “allowance”). Needless to say, she made sure there was a always a steaming plate of rice on the table with whatever delicious Persian stew she had spent all day making. I’m guessing this contribution to her household was a direct result of her upbringing and her lessons on how to be a good Persian housewife.

Although I’m only realizing this now, they were never particularly affectionate towards each other.

I sincerely loved my father. I looked up to him despite all the things my mom would say to me while he was at work. He taught me how to ride a bike, he taught me how to pick fruit off the trees in our front yard, how to take care of tools after you use them, how to enjoy a football game, and how to appreciate the centuries old martial arts displayed in the ridiculous Jean Claude Van Dam movies. Thinking about those things now brings a smile to my face.

Like most little kids, I thought my father knew everything. He would go into great detail about how electricity works, how you gain interest in your bank account, how birds migrate each winter, the difference between an automatic and stick shift car, and the importance of taking care of yourself. My mother did not teach me these things, particularly the latter point.

I didn’t think it was weird that my dad slept on the floor of my room every night, instead of sharing the bed with my mom. All I know is that I got used to the snoring, and in the morning when it was time for school, he would gently wake me up with this soft popping sound he made intermixed with what translated to, “wake up my little darling, it’s time to learn all you can in school.” As I write this, a flood of memories come back to me. Along with tears.

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