Happy THIRD Birthday to my precious Arham. It’s certainly been a fun month-long celebration of your birthday.
From the moment I found out about you, I have identified myself first and foremost as your Mama Arham beta. You are my pride and joy. My happiness. My everything.
SubhanAllah, I can’t believe how fast you are growing up. You amaze me daily with all the new things you do, observe, say and ask.
Each milestone is amazing, and I’ll always be your number one supporter… but to be honest, each one is also a reminder of how fast you are growing.
Watching your logic skills at work or listening to you reason, I can’t help but be in awe… not to mention how much you make me laugh constantly each and every day. You have been able to make me laugh when there was nothing else to laugh about.
Your smile is captivating. Your hugs and kisses are everything. Your “I love you more Mama” melts me instantly.
You are curious, inquisitive, and a quick learner and I pray this never changes. Your amazing memory and ability to story-tell or explain yourself or what happened are beyond your years. I pray Allah SWT keeps you under His infinite protection always and blesses you with the best of this world and the hereafter.
It takes a village. It takes the few but true friends who just get it. It takes understanding co-workers who value the importance of work-life balance. It takes siblings and parents who are always by my side. Ultimately, it takes a Mama’s instincts and love. I don’t know if there is anything as pure, genuine and empowering as a Mama’s love for her child.
Arham beta, inshAllah, I can’t wait to see what year three has in store!
Happy SECOND birthday to, my pride and joy, my dearest Arham beta,
SubhanAllah I can’t put into words what these past two years have been for me. You are my world. That’s the only way to even attempt to put into words the impossible way to describe you.
You bring me happiness that I can’t put into words and happiness that is simply a blessing from above.
It seems every time I blink, you have gotten a little older and a little wiser, having learned something new yet again (mashAllah). It’s a constant battle between enjoying the moment vs. capturing the moment.
The best thing about being a mama? Even in the darkest of days, Arham beta, you have been the shining light. You light up every room you enter with your smile, but you have lightened up my life from day one.
In a world of crazy and unknowns, you have been my one constant.
Your hugs and kisses are the best things. You calling me Mama melts my heart in a way that I can’t describe. Your cuddles are time-pausing.
I love your smile and your energy (mashAllah). I love your persistence and determination. I love you. And who you make me.
There is never a dull moment, and you are constantly keeping me on my toes. Not to mention, constantly making me laugh. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You not only make my life meaningful, but you give my life purpose. Each thing I do, I do for you Arham beta… and for you, I would do anything (in my power). I am by no means a perfect Mama, but I will always have your best interest in mind.
All the hurdles and obstacles along the way have been worth it, for me to have you. You make me so proud.
You make everything better, you make every thing worth it.
You have defied odds since before you were born and I pray the only “statistic” you will ever become will be one to make us tremendously proud of you inshAllah. I have no doubt that with your strong-will personality and can-do attitude, you will achieve great things inshAllah.
I love how you come running to the door excitedly saying “Mama” and into my arms. I wish I didn’t have to be away so many hours, but the welcome home love makes up for the heartbreaking mornings. The hours away from you are difficult and heart wrenching in ways I can’t put into words, and I wish I didn’t have to work away from home, but I know I have to do it for you. And for you? I would do anything.
You are my reason for everything.
Last week at work, we celebrated a 100 years of Douglass empowering women… but this week is twice the celebration because Arham beta, in just a few short years, you have empowered me in ways I couldn’t imagine.
You have given me strength to fight when I have felt defeated.
You have given me reasons to smile when all I wanted to do was cry.
You have given me reasons to have faith for all the obstacles you have overcome couldn’t be explained in any other way.
You make me so proud, not only for who you are… but who you push me to be by reminding me what truly matters.
I wish there was a way to preserve the innocence of your infancy and toddler-hood, as it truly is going by too fast, but just the same it’s amazing to see you thrive. It seems like it was just yesterday you were too small for even newborn sized clothes and it amazes me how quickly each phase has passed.
Let’s see what this coming year brings inshAllah. … but if we can just agree to “terrific twos” instead of “terrible twos”…
I pray you always stay grounded. I pray Allah SWT keeps you under His infinite protection always. I pray He protects you from the evil and guides you to goodness always. I pray you use your talents and intellect in a positive manner always. I pray you are always a source of joy for others.
Forever your proud Mama,
Too often we forget how limited our time in this world is and what truly matters.
We chase materialistic things, not realizing it's going to be meaningless after our short stay here.
We chase people who are nothing. We devalue those who are everything. We make trivial matters into big things yet diminish the value of what really matters.
You never know what lies ahead and tomorrow is never guaranteed. And tomorrow? People are not going to remember what you had materialistically. People are, however, going to remember you for who you are.
It's said that only when you are going through some sort of hardship do people's true colors come out.
What kind of legacy are you going to leave behind? What will you be remembered for? What is the first thing that will come to people's mind when they think of you?
Sunday night, our family lost a beloved family member in Imtiaz Chachoo.
Cancer has no prejudice and takes prisoners without bias. It takes from us those we love dearly and doesn't care what lasting effect it leaves us to endure.
The first thing that comes to mind whenever I think of Imtiaz Chachoo is his jovial personality and his love for making people laugh with his comedic personality. That is something indeed that most people will fondly remember him for.
Equally important, but on a way more personal level, what I will cherish forever is the kindness and generosity Imtiaz Chachoo, Neelo Chachi, Sara baji and Sarwat baji showed me and my family when we moved to Canada twenty-two years back. Even though my brothers and I were young at the time, it's something we will never forget.
I don't have the right words to express my sorrow or condolences to the immediate family. He was taken from us too soon.
I pray Allah SWT grants Imtiaz Chachoo the highest level of jannat. I pray Allah SWT gives the family patience and sabr to endure such a heavy trial.
This morning, a co-worker gave me such beautiful flowers for Mother’s Day [that is this weekend]. I love flowers! The best part about these particular flowers? They are to be planted… and I can’t wait to see them bloom.
Happy (early) Mother’s Day to all the Mama’s!
I hope we Mama’s use this day to reflect on and celebrate our child(ren) that made us Mama’s. My Arham is the biggest blessing/gift from Allah, and it’s just not possible to put into words… but something that I reflect on a lot.
A few weeks after Arham was born, when I posted his first picture on social media [from his aqeeqa], I wrote my feelings of how Arham “... gave me the proudest title: I became a mama. Each day since you have brought more smiles and joy to me than I could have ever imagined.”… and it is something that my Arham has proven to be true an infinite times over. I have never been more proud, and he brings such an indescribable joy that leaves me in awe.
As I mentioned previously, while I never imagined working outside of the home when he was at such a fundamental age… what I have learned is this: being a mother is the hardest, but yet the most rewarding role I have ever had in my life. It makes me who I am, and it’s what I am most proud of.
So many people say don’t let becoming a mother change or define your identity. I understand they mean it in a positive way, but if you think about it … how can it not? Arham has changed my life, making it infinitely better, and so fulfilling alhumdulillah.
It was right around Mother’s Day in my pregnancy that I had the scare, and wondered if I would even get to hold Arham in my arms. I can’t begin to describe what the uncertainty felt like, but if anything– all the time since has been a constant reminder to not take even a moment for granted.
I pray Allah SWT protects my Arham and guides him to be the very best version of himself.
It’s been a year, today, since our beloved Papa left us for a better place and it hasn’t gotten easier. I don’t know if it ever will.
A year ago, when I saw him at the funeral home after his death, one of the first thoughts that entered my mind and remains to this day was how tall he was. All my life, because of his age, he was always hunched over a little and I didn’t even realize how tall he truly was.
I could go on and on about my Papa and I love anytime anyone brings up Papa in conversation.
He loved reading. The Qu’ran especially. And did so daily without fail.
Even when dementia overtook him, subhanAllah, even just hearing the words of the Qu’ran calmed him and brought peace to his mind.
He loved Kit Kats.
He loved Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Don’t ever disturb him from 7 PM to 8 PM. Without a doubt, it’s how my family and I started watching and still watch to this day. Arham, too, is already a fan.
He loved spending time with us just as much as we loved spending time with him. His presence brought a joy that I can’t describe. I loved loved loved spending any time I could with him and cherished the moments. My NJ cousins knew that if my Papa was over, all my other plans would be cancelled.
He loved us all unconditionally. I have never met anyone more genuine than my Papa, and I don’t say that in a biased granddaughter way. I created the #TeamPapa hashtag several years ago, and it’s stuck within our family. My cousin made us matching shirts with it as well.
When I was pregnant with Arham, because of his dementia we didn’t tell Papa but, subhanAllah, he would ask on the phone about the baby. When I went to visit him while pregnant, he asked where was the baby, why is the baby crying in the other room. Even with his dementia overtaking him, he still had an intuition somehow.
Although Arham got to meet him, I wish he got to grow up around Papa and see for himself who Papa was. Or why I am so fond of him. Why he brought me such joy and why his memories still bring me joy, why the memories are so strong and always positive toned.
He brought so much joy in my life, I can’t even describe it. It’s just not possible to put into words who he is for me and how much I miss his presence.
I pray Allah SWT grants him the highest place in jannat. I pray I can carry his legacy forward by being the best version of myself and make him proud. I pray I raise Arham to be the kind of person that Papa was.
I didn’t watch the inauguration. If you know what a news and political junkies we are in this house, this was big.
News are big in our house. Domestic and international. Politics are discussed profusely.
Throughout the day, there are texts, news alerts and tweets sent among our household group text. We watch the news together nightly.
The first inauguration I can remember watching with full memory is of George Bush. I have watched every one since. I know little tidbits like the oath is always at noon and other things that do nothing for my personal gain.
But I couldn’t watch today.
This whole election cycle, I feel we sat around passively thinking it was not possible to elect such a candidate and *news flash alert* he now holds the office. I don’t know if it says more about the type of people who support him or more about the type of people who passively allowed this to happen.
A man who lashes out on twitter over minute things. Doesn’t he, or should he, have better things to do? You know… like trying to figure out what this presidency entails exactly??
A man who probably has a contradictory statement for each one he has made. Probably on his own Twitter account nonetheless.
A man who is equal about discrimination against all. A racist, sexist, ableist, a bigot.
A man who lacks the basic understanding of what this position requires suddenly holds the power and control over so many things. Let’s not even start with the nuclear codes.
His own campaign staff didn’t/couldn’t trust him with his own twitter handle leading up to the election, need I remind you, but we are suppose to trust him as the POTUS?
Where do we stand, as a nation, now?
How much weaker are we as a nation in the eyes of countries around the globe?
Was it a publicity stunt for him? Perhaps. Are we suppose to wait around holding our breaths what’s to come in the next four years? No. Way.
Popular hashtags trending on twitter include #NotMyPresident and #OptOut. But you know what? Whether we like it or not, the reality is that he is now our president. And we certainly can’t just opt out.
I tried to convince myself post-election that we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. That rooting for his failure is essentially rooting for our own demise. But you know what? No. No we don’t have to. And we certainly shouldn’t.
Enough of the “how bad can it get?” and “what worse could happen?”. All logic and common sense has gone out the window. Anything and everything is suddenly fair game and quite the possibility.
As a matter of fact, it suddenly got just that more important to be proactive and speak up for what is right and what we believe in and make our voices be heard and be heard and hold those in office accountable. Not be silenced or sit passively any longer.
One of my biggest regrets will be that I wasn’t active in the election campaign this go around like I was during the Obama campaigns.
It starts small. It starts local. I urge everyone to become more involved in their own communities.
We can’t change what happened, but we certainly can have a lot to say about what is happening and what happens in the next four years.
His slogan may be “Make America Great Again”, and we certainly need to… but he certainly isn’t the one to lead our nation to do so.
Update: This can also be found here.
There is absolutely no worse feeling than your baby being unwell and you can’t take away their pain. For the past seven days we have either been at the pediatrician, at the hospital, or both. These past seven days have been exhausting, physically and emotionally.
When Arham woke up ill Friday, and wouldn’t improve as the day went on, plus a doctor’s visit later… I knew I had to take him to the ER. I thought I was going in just so he would feel better with some IV fluids.
Little did I know what that night would have in store for us. Or even the next few days that followed for that matter.
To be quite honest, I was dreading taking him to the hospital remembering how painful it was (physically) for Arham when he was six weeks old and hospitalized and how painful it was (emotionally) for me. It’s traumatic and something I can’t get it out of my mind.
Which brings me to what led me to start writing today:
The staff at Saint Peter’s University Hospital? Godsend. Especially the nurses.
The level of care [and comfort] they provided for not just my precious Arham, but my parents and I during the stay? It’s unforgettable. It’s something I’ll never forget and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am.
From explaining what I didn’t understand multiple times, to giving me time to process the information.
From being available for questions to continuously asking if I (or we) needed anything.
From listening to and addressing my concerns to allowing my parents to stay and be in the room with me when not typically allowed.
From using a flashlight instead of turning the lights on in the middle of the night to prevent disturbing my finally sleeping 15 month old to coming in later to try again to not disturb my child.
From understanding my fears and hesitation to providing any sort of help they could.
From calming my fears to reminding me prayers can change everything.
The list is endless, just as my appreciation towards them is.
It is an innate reaction to complain and not forget when things don’t go wrong, but we need to express appreciation when things go right just the same.
On a side note: I, myself, ended up in the ER one night while Arham was hospitalized — and they were so accommodating. A typical ER visit is hours long. They had me out within three hours so I could go back up to the pediatric ward to be with Arham and each of Arham’s nurses were just as concerned about me as they were of Arham.
Being completely honest, even though I always like to be safe rather than sorry, I wasn’t sure why they were putting my baby through excessive tests that wouldn’t help or weren’t even needed on that Friday.
He just had a terrible stomach virus I thought.
THIS is why I was hesitating bringing my baby I thought.
It may very well have saved his life.
Let me tell you, it’s not comforting when multiple people are rushed into the room, each trying to confirm the diagnosis… and in mere minutes a plan of action is put into place and surgery team is prepped for backup. Neither is when you are told it’s “life threatening”.
It was a scary situation, and what could have been is too scary to even think about, but not for even a second did I doubt the level of care Arham was being given.
The level of response once the problem was spotted was absolutely amazing and that may very well have made the difference. I will, forever, be grateful towards the staff at SPUH not for just this stay — but for what they do always.
Earlier this month, one morning, Arham woke up quite content. He got up, sat up in his crib and started playing. I checked on him a few times, he glanced at me before continuing to play. I should have been ecstatic, right?
So why did I feel sad instead?
It got me thinking…
Some day he won’t need me to feed him. Or even prepare his bottle.
Some day he won’t need me to change his clothes. Or even his diapers.
Some day he won’t need me to give him a bath.
Some day he won’t need me to fall asleep.
Some day he won’t wake up crying in the middle of the night looking for me.
Some day he won’t want to play peek a boo with me.
Some day he won’t want to cuddle so tightly.
Some day he won’t want me to kiss and hug him so many times daily.
Some day he won’t sit with me so patiently while reading through picture books.
Some day it will be him teaching me new things, not the other way around like it is right now.
Some day there won’t be an excited welcoming committee each time I enter the room.
Some day. Not today.
Today? Today is a different story and I will savor every moment of it.
He is mine to spoil. He is mine to love. He is mine to teach right from wrong.
He is the biggest blessing of my life.
He is fifteen months old today mashAllah… and if the first fifteen months are any indication, time flies by.
Both my paternal and maternal grandmothers, unfortunately, passed away before I was born. So, what I know of them is only through stories and pictures.
33 years ago today, my maternal grandmother passed away. Two days ago, it was my Papa’s birthday. His first birthday since his demise last March. If you know anything about me, it’s how much I adore my Papa.
Papa, throughout our lives, held a dual role. He was, of course, my grandfather… but I always felt he spoiled us extra as if to do Nani’s part too. As if to make sure we never felt we were missing anything our Nani would have done for us.
I don’t think I fully understood the love Papa had for us until I saw my parents with Arham. The bond I had with Papa– I see that forming between Arham and my parents… especially with Abu. If Abu is present, Arham wants just him.
Losing Papa has left an empty space that I don’t think can be filled, as it rightfully should be for someone so dear as our beloved Papa. That void constantly reminds me of who I want Arham to be as he grows up InshAllah. I miss Papa daily, and often find myself looking at pictures of him or reminiscing of memories. I don’t know if it gets easier ever, it certainly hasn’t yet.
More than anything else, I wish Arham got to see who Papa was.
I feel as we lose the older generations that were the pillars that held our family tree together, slowly but surely, the leaves are falling off the branches. How much longer before the branches fall off and divide us completely?
Age is but a number. The level headed, down to earth honest people we had in Papa’s generation? Sadly, those characteristics didn’t carry forward as much for the next generation. Everyone has their own agenda, family ties mean nothing, good and evil are the same, morals are destroyed and values are negated.
Nothing gold can stay, and as the cycle of life goes, we must all meet our end one day… but I wish more than anything that their morals and values remained in the future generations.
If there was one thing I learned from Papa it was the value of family. He always tried to gather all five of his children, all in various states, and their respective families any chance he got. It was what made him happiest. I love that I am like him in that aspect. For me, family is everything.
Nowadays, not many value the importance of a family. It’s upsetting and unfortunate to say the very least. For me? It’s what makes the world go round. It’s what makes it worth waking up in the morning. It’s what makes one look forward to things.
“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided.” [3:103]
Nowadays, sadly, people are happiest tearing others apart. People rejoice in other people’s grief. People enjoy havoc in other people’s lives, and cause it too. People jump in to see as if it’s a spectacle.
Truths aren’t held to be self-evident anymore. The wrong are encouraged and supported, the right are put on trial.
Hypocrites say and do anything just to protect themselves. No matter who is harmed in the process. No matter who is brought down along the way.
We are better than this.
It’s everything that Papa stood against. What is suppose to unite us, should never divide us.
It starts at home, and it starts from day one. Dual role. The man Arham grows up to be depends on what (values and morals) I teach him. I am not just raising my son, but I am potentially raising someone’s husband and someone’s father. It’s a job I take very seriously.
A different kind of dual role, but a dual role, nonetheless, of significant importance.
I know Papa would be proud of me. He always was. But I hope, more than anything that, I raise Arham to be someone that would make Papa proud too.
I pray Allah SWT grants Papa (+ Nani and Dadi) highest level of Jannat. I pray Allah SWT forgives them for any of their shortcomings. I pray Allah SWT rewards them immensely for their good deeds– especially their roles in who we have become today because of them. I pray Allah SWT leads us all to be the kind of person that people can only say positive things about, even years after they leave this world.
As a nation, we failed.
And we failed our children the most. They are the ones to suffer the most. They will see the aftermath the most and be effected the most.
No, we didn’t fail because we failed to elect Hillary Clinton. In fact, it was never about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump the people themselves.
It wasn’t ever about them. It was about everything we stand for as individuals and as a collective society and what candidate aligns closely with that sentiment.
We, as a country, elected a racist, a sexist, a bigot, an ableist all in one who openly discriminates against all, … and all those that were at least embarrassed and ashamed and as a result hid their hate for all? Now, its socially acceptable to display freely.
The polls weren’t wrong. What happened was the closet haters didn’t express themselves openly until they could cast their votes in anonymity.
It wasn’t about the lesser of two evils. Rather, it became that evil [and hate] won.
We try and teach our children basic differences between what is right and wrong. We teach them that innately each person is equal and the same and no one deserves to think they are entitled or put anyone else down for any reason.
How do we teach our child(ren) it’s wrong, when we didn’t stand up for what is wrong? How do we teach our child(ren) to do the right thing, when we didn’t do the right thing? How do we teach our child(ren) to stick up for what is right no matter how hard it is or how unpopular it is, when we failed to do that?
How does one teach their child(ren) its wrong to discriminate, disrespect women or put others down when as a nation we said it’s totally acceptable? Let’s be clear: there was a choice and we chose this as a union.
Today, as a nation, we moved backwards. And to reverse this? Not as easy as changing the clock for daylight savings. We took a huge step backwards in the wrong direction. We have a lot of work to do and its going to be rigorous, but more important than ever to stick up for what is right. Now it’s more important than ever to have these honest hard conversations.
All the closet haters that were built in these past eight years since we elected Barack Obama came out in full force yesterday and spoke volumes. For anyone who naively thought we were making progress in terms of discrimination of any sorts? Our eyes were, unfortunately, opened to reality today.
Elections have consequences. Actions have consequences.
How can SO many people be … so far off from reality?
It’s easy to play the what if game. What if more people had voted. What if more people hadn’t wasted their votes. What if the media hadn’t created this monster. What if the voters turnout was greater in the primaries – would the candidate be different? Who knows. What if’s never become what is. And what is? Is an unfortunate reality that we now have to deal with.
It doesn’t just go away in four years. In reality, today, we opened way to create this as a new norm. We said, wrongly, that this is okay. That it’s okay to hate. And that isn’t okay ever.
I always send reminders to those closest to me to vote always — not just in the general presidential election, but all types of elections. It’s not just your right but your civil duty. In the aftermath, it’s each to say or think things in hindsight. But it’s too late by then.
It wasn’t a typical election with two qualified candidates with different views. We had a clear choice last night, but somehow made the wrong decision. I knew the American electorate is ignorant, but perhaps I underestimated just how ignorant they truly are.
I read something last night which was all true — last night’s election was like working with a dysfunctional group for a school project. You do your part, but can only hope that the others don’t screw it up. Unfortunately, more than half of the nation screwed up big time. A project grade didn’t depend on it though, our future did.
I have never been more scared, or more unsure of the uncertain future than I am at this moment. Not for me, but for my young thirteen month old son. He is my life. What kind of tomorrow are we choosing for him today?
We are suppose to be the role models for our children. For the future generations. As parents, we are suppose to be unselfish and make decisions to create good futures for our children. Each thing we do daily, is about our kids. And today, we didn’t just disappoint them – we failed them.
In some ways I am glad my son is to young to realize or even ask questions. It doesn’t stop my worries or lessen what is. But because I can’t imagine what it was like to be one of the many parents, and teachers, across this nation who had to deal with tough questions and have some serious discussions with the young children in their lives.
As I was discussing with Faraz about my sentiments and thinking of what to title this post, he quoted to me the following from Batman:
Alfred: “Why do we fall sir?”
Bruce: “So we can pick ourselves up again.”
As a nation, we fell deep. Picking ourselves up won’t be easy, but it needs to be done.
As I close off my thought for now, something I wanted to share — I am a US citizen, but I am also a Canadian citizen. And the biggest difference? The day we had our naturalization ceremony in Canada many many years back, we were reminded to never forget who we are and where we came from: that Canada is so great because it’s so diverse. Here in the US? It’s about assimilating. It’s about being all the same. We don’t celebrate differences, we try to blend in and not stand out or be seen as different.
And today? It’s now socially acceptable to hate what is different.
Update: This can also be found here. My first time on The Huffington Post.