A pink taxi

A pink taxi

June 6, 2011

The Tiger Grandmother

You all know too well that I overschedule myself and my children. I am a busy-bee cab driver, taking them from one activity to another. My children only find respite when I rotate my attention from one to the other. They run for their pause and savor every second. I am their grandmother's daughter!

Last year, for my mother's birthday, I posted Driving Miss Daisy. It became a popular post, to which many readers referred often. It was a post full of humor that I could only direct to a woman who has the strength to accept such humor: my mother.

While she never drove, she managed everything from the central office-home, sending us to our Arabic classes, forcing me to go to ballet classes, encouraging us to practice Karate and to horseback ride. She attended to our piano practices, made us train for exams. She was a tiger mom, in the height of the eighties, at a time when parenting was all Dr Spock, with few boundaries given to children. The children of the eighties are the children of the neo-hippies, the yuppies who practiced laissez faire. But my mother stood out! Her in-laws called her the Savak (Shah's secret police) with affection and due respect. In her parenting philosophy, there was no quitting, no pouting and whining, and no blase attitude allowed in her house. We finished what was on our plate and we were grateful for restaurant outings, and presents. Toys were treats received on rare occasions, and thus treasured. Every activity we started, we continued for at least 8 years. She wanted well rounded children, and busy ones too. We were always too busy to watch television or hang out with friends on school days. But our mother did all this with gentleness and love. She watched us at our ballet recitals. She clapped as we participated in horse jumping shows, even if often we fell off the horse. She admired persistence and encouraged us to overcome our fears. She pushed us toward the next karate belt. She waited outside piano examination rooms. And when we excelled, she cheered us on, and gave us the praise we deserved.

Once I had my own children, I could have either rejected my mother's ways or imitated her. It turns out that not only  did I imitate her, I did even more, considering how much is offered in Dubai nowadays. But I have to say, many of the activities my children partake in were by her encouragement: namely golf and sailing, two sports she had not discovered for her own children.

We may now label my mother a  "Tiger Grandmother", attending competitions, keeping up with scores and grades and approving of her daughter's incessant trips to activities, probably remembering her own maternal adrenaline. I am so proud to be following into her footsteps...

Happy Birthday to my beautiful mother and to the beloved Teta to her 8 grandchildren!


  1. She's not only a Tiger Grandmother but also a Tiger Aunt and a Tiger Great Aunt! When I first came to Dubai, Khaleh Laura and Amou Saad were my family away from my family. I often would go hang out at their house to get a sense of my own family that I missed so much and during the course of my visit was encourage to attend different outings, meet a variety of different people (by hook or by crook) and throughout the years she has kept track of all my accomplishments and is quick to voice her concern or dissaproval. She is my aunt with a heart of gold. My girls love her, especially as she is not a Tiger Aunt with them AT ALL and even brought them chocolate yesterday and admonished me when I was too quick reprimand one of my girls. "Don't be so strict with my babies!"(Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!)

    Happy Birthday Khaleh, I wish you a wonderful year, continuing to be surrounded by all your loved ones.


  2. To my lovely Shahnaz Joon,

    For always loving with all your heart, for comforting with your strength and warmth, and for sharing in all of our dreams. I wish you all the happiness your heart can hold. Today and everyday.

    Tavalodetoon kheilly mobarak!

    M x

  3. Wishing our beautiful Teta a very happy birthday!

    We love you too much (as Ali says),
    A&R xx

  4. To our most beautiful mother and Teta,

    Paradise lays under your feet. You are the pillar of our family. We all admire your strength, selflessness, and wisdom. We love you. Happy Birthday!


  5. Dear Teta,,,
    You are a strong loving mother and grandmother who inspires every woman. Thank you for being a great role model for all the female members in your family.
    Wishing you many years of happiness!
    Happy Birthday

  6. I have always admired my mother's dedication towards her children. Now that I am a parent myself, I look back and appreciate all the small decisions she has made in our lives that makes us who we are today. Happy birthday Mommy, you truly are a beautiful soul. With love, T

  7. Dear Teta,

    We are so sad that we were not with you on your birthday, a date that is not only inscribed in my blackberry but of course in my heart. You are the one in the family who expects the least, demands nothing except for us to be healthy and doing the best we possibly can. You are strong enough to lead an army, yet too shy to stand in the spotlight and make a speech. It is this combination of strength, beauty and humility that make you so special, a true role model for all of us. I often think about what you would do when I am faced with different obstacles and I try to emulate this strength of character. Certainly in raising my boys, I find myself falling in your footsteps, a disciplinarian who drowns her children with love.

    We wish you a beautiful year to come Inshallah, and many many more happy moments surrounded by your loving family and all the grandchildren you spoil, in the best of health.

    Happy Birthday to an inspiring mother and a loving grandmother,

    We love you so much,
    The Amro 4