I sat next to a beautiful old woman on plane from Shanghai to Vancouver.
was Nurun Nessa.
She was flying from Bangladesh to visit her son and daughter-in-law, whom she hadn’t seen in four years.We talked for hours.
She told me she would do anything for her daughter-in-law because her own mother-in-law had been nothing short of abusive.
I told her about my travels.
She told me she wished for grandchildren with all her heart.
I told her about my life in New York.
She told me she was proud of what her son and his wife had accomplished as immigrants in my country.
I told her about my dreams.
She told me my career was important and that I needed to continue to put myself first.
I told her about my fears.
She told me I was doing the right thing.
She told me she admired strong, independent young women because growing up in her country she was never allowed to seize such opportunities.
She put her hand on my hand and looked at me with kind, honest eyes and said that when the time comes, I will be an amazing mother.
She said she could see it in my eyes and hear it in my voice.
No one has ever told me that before.
My own mother has said I would be a horrible mother; that I was too selfish for kids.
Maybe I could raise some kids.
I don’t think I’m selfish, I just think I’m free.
Her name was Nurun Nessa.
She wore a gold and yellow sari.
Nurun Nessa means Light of the Woman.