I am not sure why I have not written in a long time. I try to dissect my feelings. To open up the bloody mess and follow the veins of my thoughts and explore the chambers of my heart. I get lost every time. I must accept that I will never find my way through the clutter.
Of course, I miss Ibrahim. I have learned that I will always miss him. I miss him in different ways everyday. Most days, I miss his smell or even the smell of the sterile hospital. His now-yellowed white hospital hat, which I store in two Ziploc bags and smell daily, no longer has his scent. So instead, when I visit people at the hospital, I pump the possibly carcinogenic hand sanitizing lotion twice, close my eyes, and breathe it in deeply. I am immediately taken back to his bedside- his pink abdomen moving rapidly and his lips cracked around the breathing tube. I don’t feel grief ,rather, joy for the short moment with him. I open my eyes to see my husband, the only other being on earth who knows why I do this, looking at me. I avoid eye contact and rub my hands together as if nothing happened.
Yes, it’s complicated.
Always show your love. Even when you are upset. Especially if you are upset. No one under four [or any age for that matter] reacts as well to disapproval as they do to the promise of unconditional love despite their mistakes. It’s important to remind them that despite the partial egg and toast remnants stuffed up their younger brother’s left nostril and the time-out inevitably in his future, you do in fact, still love him.
Be one with the television, or at least, be forgiving when you cave. I cringe at the vision I had of myself pre-parenting. I walked in the land of absolutes and one of them was absolutely no television. I was fairly strict until he turned two, but then, with the cautious approval of the American Pediatric Academy to nudge me on, I dipped my toes into youtube videos. It began virtuously enough with Sim Sim Hamara, Pakistan’s version of Sesame Street. And then I discovered he could learn an Urdu song while I sipped a cup of chai without worrying about second degree burns. Wow. It was a slippery slope then, this TV thing, as we then escalated from the two minute videos to a 12 minute episode of Curious George, throwing in the occasional one-hour Sesame Street episode where I could gather the laundry and my thoughts without a child using my leg like it was his own personal hockey stick. Is it good to use the television as your baby sitter? No. But three days a week, it sure feels good. Most of us let our kids watch television from time to time. Most of us feel guilt about doing so. Don’t. Embrace it. Accept it. Drink chai.
In a couple weeks’ time, I will be ironing a navy blue pinafore and a crisp white Peter Pan collar blouse and hanging them in your closet in preparation for your first day of kindergarten. I will be cutting the price tags off of your new backpack and lunchbox, filling the latter with sensible snacks and a note reading, “So proud of you! See you soon!” I will update my Facebook stream with an ironic comment that will mask how I really feel. I will then try to sleep… but instead, I will remember.
I will remember the day you were born, the relief I felt as your took your first breath. I will remember your big brother, 3 years old, greeting you for the first time with “Let’s see the baby! Hello, baby!”
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Cartoonist and writer Connie Sun’s hilarious take on the plight of the single, Asian daughter made us chuckle (it’s funny because it’s true!). Check out more of Connie’s work, here.
I didn’t mean to misplace my spirituality. I just lost it while searching for my identity. After a tumultuous marriage and divorce, all I wanted to do was scrape the remnants of the relationship from my being.
In Pashto, a girl’s reputation is like a mirror, a chip or crack makes it look ugly. Thinking that my divorce was a mar on my honor, I wanted to not be me: the 24-year old girl married and divorced while her friends had just graduated. I wanted to be someone else, someone without a chip on her mirror.