Growing up with a sister with competitive traits, I always found myself trying to prove the smallest things to her. One particular and beautiful childhood memory I have is trying to compete for my father’s love. Whenever we fought, our arguments always led to one outrageous scream from either of us: “at least dad loves me more than you!” When I was about fourteen years old, I finally had concrete evidence to support my silly claim. But if I told my sister, it meant I’d have to give up that beautiful memory. So it wasn’t until I was about eighteen that I had the courage to blurt out the evident love my father had for me. See, when I was fifteen, during Ramadan, my sister in laws would make about five hundred samosas for the whole festive month. Every day, I would come home from school, exhausted and hungry. When the final minute was left to break our fasts, I would gobble down the food and then my sister and I would fight for the last piece of the delicious beef samosa. It’s funny because we wouldn’t even look at the samosa when there was more than one. I guess it was more epic to fight for “the last cookie.” So years later, when my sister and I had yet another argument, I had the courage to say “haha dad loves me more!” Confused, she stared straight at my face and her expression demanded an explanation. Back in the old days, we would just stick our tongue and walk away. But not today; today I had concrete evidence. So I told her “you remember fighting for the samosa during Ramadan?” She nodded. “So dad used to give me his share of samosa because he knew how much I loved them! So there you go, he loves me more. Hahahhah!” As I said this, she laughed so hysterically, it was as if I had unleashed an invisible tickle monster.
What sounded so smart and bad ass to me now confused the heck out of me. I gave her a few seconds to calm down and then my expression demanded an explanation. “Sajeda, did dad give you a samosa every other day?” I nodded in agreement. My sister continued her lecture. “Why wasn’t he giving it to you every day? Because the day he wasn’t giving it to you, he was giving it to me. He took turns. And he strictly told us not to tell each other or he would stop giving it to us, right?” I nodded and I was shocked and hurt. What I thought was an accomplishment and a victory just turned into another one of my father’s fair upbringing. Of course, now that I’m older I can see the beauty of this love. He didn’t let us tell each other because he wanted us to continue to fight for his love. So that one day, I can learn this exact lesson I finally learnt from just one of many life lessons. It is that you can fight all you want for your parent’s love but they’ll always love each of your siblings with the same amount of love. A parent doesn’t see one child any different than their other child.
Now, it is my nephews’ turn to fight for their grandfather’s love. I can’t help but smile when each of them come up to me and show me what their dada gave them. And then with a secretive, sly smile, they make me promise not to tell my other nephews. Eavesdropping on the cute and heart warming interaction between me and my nephews, my father just stands there in the corner and winks at me. This is the circle of life, you know. I just can’t wait until my nephews see beyond the candies and the sweet tooth. I can’t wait until they learn this life changing lesson, as well.