I tell my daughter about home.
I show her pictures and I tell her about the first time I kissed a boy at Vilsonovo
It was fall and chilly and he gave me his jacket and walked me home and spoke to me in our language.
I tell her about all the places I scraped my knees, the cherry trees I climbed and how mama always knew because I would show up at home with red stains all over my hands and mouth.
I show her pictures of the streets I walked with my friends and the bakery we used to go to.
I tell her about the masjid where I learned my Surahs and talk to her about the old imam and the power of his words.
I show her my school, and I tell her about my friend Amina who had to drop out to take care of her sick father.
I picture her face and her curly red hair.
I walk her through the streets of Sarajevo…all the way up to Ferhadija.
I tell her about one cold winter in Sarajevo, how the snow was falling as if the world was coming to an end and it would never fall again. That day, mama and babo took us on a ride through Sarajevo and we listened to Dino Merlin until we fell asleep.
I tell my daughter about home, the fresh air when you wake up and the sound of adhan that carries us.
I laugh and tell her the stories of my childhood. I tell her about the beauty.
But I never tell her about the pain. I keep that hidden. I don’t tell her about the Roses of Sarajevo and I skip the bridges that people were murder in. I stay quiet when Grbavica is mentioned and I never talk about Markale.
Look at this beauty, I tell her. This is where your mama grew up, I tell her. But I don’t tell her about the grenades nor the shellings that we endured. I don’t tell her about the snipers, the bombs, nor the war. And I never talk about the fear and the hunger.
She is a child, after all and all children deserve a childhood, even the children of Sarajevo who, like her mama, had it destroyed by the evil of this world.