Our mothers and grandmothers often do not know how their actions touch us. I was reminded of this truth when I read what my daughter, Shira, wrote about her memories of her grandmother’s visit to our home two years ago on the Declaration of the Bab. This is a Baha’i holy day that commemorates the Bab’s revelation to his first disciple that he was the one who would prepare the way for the coming of the Promised One, Baha’u’llah.* I was surprised that my mother’s presence in our home on a holy day she did not usually celebrate with us had left such a deep impression on my daughter for whom the Declaration of the Bab is now forever linked with memories of this special family time.
Shira is 13 now and describes herself as a musician and a writer. She has played the violin since she was very young, and she is an avid reader. Sometimes I ask her to read the articles I write for InCultureParent before I submit them. I know that if something in the article doesn’t ring true for her, I should probably change it. Shira knows how a story works, so much so that she can predict how most books she reads will end well in advance of finishing them! As for me, I could not have predicted how the story she wrote about my mother, her grandmother, would end, nor could I anticipate the moral she would draw from that experience.
In celebration of our mothers and grandmothers, Shira offers this story.
-Sandra Lynn Hutchison
In the summer of my tenth year, my grandmother visited us in Maine for the first time. She arrived on the day Baha’is commemorate the Declaration of the Bab, and it seemed as though my grandmother’s arrival on this holy day was a gift from God, although my mother credits it to our sly ingenuity. Instead of giving my grandmother the routine reiteration of the invitation to come to Maine, we simply bought a plane ticket and gave it to her in a stark white envelope for her birthday.
I will never forget that moment of suspense as we waited for the passengers on my grandmother’s plane to disembark. Every single passenger had left the plane before my grandmother finally appeared. She did not, it seems, want to get caught in the rush of people. At last, we saw her making her way down the ramp, holding her head high. My grandmother always has an air of dignity, which is indispensable, a crucial part of her personality. My grandmother resists all types of help, and I will never be able to erase the image of her brushing away an airport attendant’s hand.
The whole family was in for another surprise though. My little cousin, Kenji, was due to be born in a couple of weeks. However, that same night, in the early morning hours of May 23rd, the very hours during which the Bab had revealed to his first disciple that he had come to prepare the way for the Promised One, Kenji arrived, healthy and happy. While we waited by the phone to hear the joyous news of my cousin’s birth, I suddenly understood the importance of cherishing each gift that is given to you. As my grandmother’s visit taught me, sometimes one gift can prepare you for another, unexpected gift.
*May 22rd, 1844 is the day on which Siyyid Ali Muhammad, the Bab, revealed to a single follower that he was the prophet destined to prepare the way for the Promised One, Baha’u’llah. The Bab declared his mission to Mulla Husayn in the upper room of his house in Shiraz, Iran two hours after sunset on May 22 and stayed with his first disciple until dawn the next day answering his questions.