Marriage of our sons and daughters: Separation from parents or unification with life

“Your children are not yours to keep; they are the children of life”


Jubran Khalil Jubran


I always believed in Jubran’s words and quoted them to myself and to my friends when a discussion was made about the relationship between children and their parents. Those same words stepped into a distinct meaning, though, when my daughter was to be married. Happiness was reborn into our family; the happiness of seeing my love get settled in a marriage and build a family of her own. This happiness was also merged with the agony of separation.

I watched the young woman hold the sword and cut the wedding cake hand in hand with her young groom. The sword tackled my imagination; the young woman is being born out of my child, the child that grew away from her country, her life spent from exile to exile, until she returned to Palestine. Photos of her childhood and youth passed by my eyes, ones that resemble a presentation she prepared herself to be showed to family and friends in the wedding. From Egypt to Palestine to Dubai to England to Amman; the journey seems long, but to me it seems as short as a blink of an eye.

            The child did not sing to Mother Nature, or to rain and clouds, or to puppets. She sang to trees that resemble war, to a nation that resembles rain, and to a heart that resembles strings. She sang along with children who grew away from their homeland; Abbad El Shams Choir, in Cairo, lyrics by the Egyptian poet Zen El Abedeen Foad:

“Nothing would resemble you, oh war, but trees

They tell you: be the borders of nature

Nothing would resemble you, oh nation, but rain

It tells you: the desert has passion and sun fall

Nothing would resemble you, oh heart, but strings

As songs explode like gunpowder”

The child sang through the choir the words of Mahmoud Darwish, about a homeland she dreamt of embracing:

“To the most beautiful riverbank I walk

Do not mourn my feet because of the thorns

My steps are like the sun, they get stronger with my blood

To the most beautiful riverbank I walk

Do not mourn my heart because of the pirate

My heart is molded like the earth:

It is a breeze in the hands of love

And gunfire to shoot ugliness

To the most beautiful riverbank I walk

Where my shoe is torn I place my eyelash

Yes, my eyelash

I do not sleep nor do I shake

Come to me, oh fellows of shackles and misery

Let us walk

To the most beautiful riverbank, let us walk

We will not defeat

Nor will we loose

But the grave”

            The child did walk to the most beautiful riverbank. What she saw was shocking and painful. She did not find a free homeland, nor did she find the freedom of citizenship. The image of a most beautiful homeland was kept in her eyelashes. She played her hopes and dreams on the Buzuq instrument. She tried to make her dreams a reality through the vast medium of education and knowledge.



What does a mother say to her daughter? What does one heart tell another, to a piece of itself? To the child and young woman who wears the crown of my heart’s throne: make your own future. You will always find me and your family around you and beside you when you need us. Your homeland will await you and your husband. It will await all of its children. It will embrace them all.


And memories whispered:

What remains after a lifetime but me.