Diala shares how her mother’s struggle has been a source of strength and inspiration for her. Diala recounts how her mother managed to work full time, raise children, and attend college as an American immigrant. This story was recorded in partnership with MALA and StoryCorps at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
“I have this passion in me.
I love helping people and I didn’t know I wanted to do nursing until last year. I just—like my whole life I know a lot of people love helping people, but for me like I feel like my purpose in life is to help people.
What made me choose nursing is the way that my mom helped me realize how important education is and college is.
So, my mom she came to America when she was eighteen. She was so very young. She got engaged and married very young. She really didn’t know a lot about life. She, I feel like, really hadn’t found herself yet. So, she got some secretary job. She didn’t go to college. She graduated high school, but she knew was like a smart person. She knew it and she knew that she wanted to do more with her life, so she told my dad, “I want to go to college” and my dad was like “Yeah, I support you.” So she went to Henry Ford for two years for her prerequisites and then she transferred over to University of Michigan Dearborn where she entered a program to get her masters in engineering. This is when I was like four years old.
I still remember her taking me to class and she still put dinner on the table even with school, and right now when I’m in college I’m thinking like how did she do it, you know? I don’t have kids. I’m not married. I’m still struggling in college. How did my mom find the time to have two kids, go to college, put dinner on the table, and support her family?
So, even now I’m still inspired by her ’cause I’m learning how difficult it must have been for her. She is a very big inspiration to me. She’s such a hard working mother and it made me realize how much of a queen my mom is. She definitely made me a stronger person and it made me focus on who the right person to marry is—what kind of qualities to look for in a person in the future, in a husband. I talk to myself. I’m like my own therapist, you know, in my mind.
It’s the little things. Ramadan is a very spiritual month so every Ramadan in Lailatul Qadr, you know, I just like have this spiritual feeling in me like where—I’m just—I don’t even know to how to put it into words. This kind of feeling is just like so spiritually fulfilling and makes you so happy and I see the way my friends are whenever I vent to them they talk to me and bring me to the present and bring me to making me a happier person, making me realize what I have now is the best that I can have. So, those are the ways that I like to stay positive. It’s just finding reasons why and how I can make me better knowing that there’s people who support me and love me. There’s always one in your life. There’s always something to be thankful for no matter what brings you or what kind of situations comes into your life, there’s always something you should be thankful for—no matter what.”