My daughter is insha Allāh graduating from college this June with a bachelor's degree in political science (concentration in international relations). I've been working on her graduation album and in the process have gone through all the memorabilia I've kept – photos, report cards, essays, even my diaries that talk about life with her throughout the years. The diaries really amazed me. A couple things struck me as I read them.
One is that I was more religious in her early years than I remember being. She was an infant when I began practicing Islam, and although in the next few years I took less and less time to fast and pray and eventually lost focus on my practice altogether, throughout my diaries I talk about the will of God being manifest in everything and having power over everything. Despite my spiritual lapse of a dozen years, during which my lifestyle became acutely un-Islamic, I never lost belief in tawheed. I remember reading that once Allāh kindles the concept of tawheed in someone's heart, it's never lost. I believe I am a demonstration of that.
The other thing that impressed me was the chaos of my daughter's youth. She suffered through so much instability over the years – we lived in a lot of different places, my ex-husband and I separated many times, and his behavior was at times a catalyst for despair. My journals reminded me how difficult everything was even during her first two years, how I longed to quit working and stay home and raise her, how I worried about her going to different child care situations and how sometimes even her father wasn't a reliable caregiver. I, too, was moody and careless at times and not always effective in shielding or comforting her.
Yet she's grown into an intelligent, motivated and personable young woman. To me that is a clear demonstration of God's blessing. For all she went through as a child, all the horrible mistakes I made and the turmoil she endured, she is remarkably well-adjusted and capable. Her success is a source of pride, of course, but it also makes me think that in it there is a message from Allāh that I can be forgiven, that certainly His mercy far outweighs my guilt and failings, and that my grip on the idea of tawheed ultimately brought me back to Islam and the chance to lead a better life. If her success is my redemption, then I can't fail or falter. To do so would be a terrible expression of ingratitude.