Aisha & The Dragon SlayerPosted: July 3, 2013
Eds. note.: Happy 11th wedding anniversary to our columnist Aisha Saeed & her husband Kashif!
Sleep deprivation is an ugly dragon of a beast. Allow me to describe it, for I know it intimately. It is at once amorphous and concrete with a uniquely menacing gait. Its tentacles are dark and wiry—firm. It wraps you in its fold, wrings you out, leaving you completely disoriented.
But that’s not the bad part.
The bad part is how it fogs a beautiful blue sky. How it lures you into believing that this hazy reality is all that was and will ever be. How you look at your home, the piled laundry, the cluttered family room, and try as you might to use your rational mind, all that emerges is the one singular thought It’s no use, I’ll never get on top of any of this.
And then, along comes the dragon slayer.
Who comes home early from work. Who grabs the little one shrieking in your arms and scoops the toddler gripping your leg with the other. And who gently ushers you up the stairs despite your protests that you’ve got this. That you can shake it off. That sleep deprivation’s got nothing on you.
He nods. He listens to your assertions. And he walks you to the bedroom. And tells you he’s not taking no for answer. So you close the door, turn the fan on to drown out all sound, and fall, quite literally fall, into a dreamless sleep.
And just like that, when you open your eyes, the monster is gone. You open the door. You step into your family room. You take in the toys and piled laundry. And the three people curled up on a couch reading a book. And instead of seeing reflections of your ineptitude every where you turn, you see beautiful chaos, a sign of lives that live and love within these four walls.
And it makes you think.
About how once upon a time, eleven years ago, you married a man because he had a nice smile, and you don’t know, you just had a feeling. That maybe you would travel the world, and talk into the wee hours of the night. That he would make you laugh, and build a life with you.
But eleven years ago you couldn’t have imagined what building a life meant. And you never could have imagined how much you’d lean on him. Through not just the beautiful moments but the difficult ones you never saw coming.
Eleven years ago we signed nikah papers. Eleven years later we sigh as a toddler bounces onto our bed and a baby coos in the arriving dawn. And I watch my husband lift the toddler and the baby out of bed. Balance them both in his arms. And I watch the door close and hear footsteps heading downstairs to waffles and pancakes— and a few more hours of sleep for me. And as I drift back to sleep, I think to myself how I never knew there were things as scary and real as sleep-deprivation, and how they are part-and-parcel of parenting little children, and that even though I may not have a village to raise these children, I have my husband.
And my what a fierce dragon-slayer he turned out to be.
Aisha Saeed was born and raised in South Florida. She is a teacher, attorney, and writer. She recently completed her first two novels. In her free time, Aisha enjoys traveling, reading, and blogging at Aisha Iqbal. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and sons.