The story we leave behind is the best message we give to our children. My mom does not like to tell stories, but she has lived her life in a way that says a lot. Still, for years I’ve been trying to get detailed information from her about her childhood, her early marriage and motherhood. But while I have been successful in doing great interviews with the most prominent members in the Chaldean American community, I have not been too successful with her. She always tries to divert my questions.
Finally, on Wednesday, with the help of my sisters, we poked around until we learned that in the village of Telkaif in northern Iraq, snow did sometimes appear, during which time my mother and other children would slip and slide over it – basically ice skating with shoes.
“What was the biggest lie you ever told?” I asked her.
“I didn’t lie,” my mother said, indignantly.
“Yes, you did,” my older sister responded. “I remember when Babba gave you spending money, you would put it away and when it totaled to two dinars, you gave it to your mother.”
My mother shrugged. “I did do that. They needed it. They didn’t have much.”
“So that was for a good cause,” my sister said.
Even when my mother lied, it was out of the goodness of her heart.
Well, given that my mother is now 80 years old, I have a lot of catching up to do – with regards to jotting down her stories. So I pray that God blesses us with her presence for a long long time.