family, monthly update, motherhood, parenting

Happy Seventeen Month Birthday

Dear Waleed,

Just last Friday you turned seventeen months old. You climb chairs and jump onto the breakfast table stomping about making my morning tea distinctly less peaceful and though you have a new found affinity for nachos, you still only have six teeth. This was a whirlwind month with hardly a weekend spent home with trips to see grandparents [both sets], your mamus, your cousins, and khalas.

It’s dizzying to keep track of all your changes while trying to keep track of which flight we’re taking and where. And speaking of flying? After each flight someone inevitably approached us to tell us your child is a darling on the plane, so quiet and happy. To which all I have to say is while we did our best to maintain your shiny image of model-flying-child, the jumping on our knees, head bumps, and diaper explosions that made us go through every last outfit change until you were down to diapers [on a flight without a changing table] to greet your family post-flight? You and I both know how the flights really were and– you owe me.

Still, the flights were worth it, like our trip to your Mamus. I felt struck again with how quickly you change. Just this past February you were afraid of sand and horrified at the sight of the limitless expanse of ocean before you and now? You took to the warm Miami water like a fish and played in the sand for hours examining the grains of sand as though within them lay the answer to every question you ever had.

We attended your Mamu Showieb’s wedding in Baltimore this month and stayed with your Mamu Hasan and Mami Christina. Years ago, your uncles made my visits interesting by stealing my journals to recite aloud as I chased them through the house or imposing boys only clubs complete with signs, chairs and sheets to protect their exclusive VIP status. It was hard to imagine we could ever be friends– and yet we are now– and you? You became friends slowly, cautiously, with your own cousins. At first I worried about renewing the cycle of childhood angst when I saw distress over toys shared and playpens used for purposes some were not accustomed to but the camaraderie grew until it broke into an all out running-chasing frenzy in the empty prayer halls of your uncle’s wedding. Maryland summers spent with my cousins are among my most cherished childhood memories.  You had a blast with your cousins and I hope it will be the first of many weekends to come.

This month I read babies believe themselves one with their mother. Only with the onset of language do they realize they own a distinct and independent space. I sense we’re on the brink of this realization but right now? You point at your reflection in the mirror and grin mama. Soon this will change, just like everything else seems to be changing these days. One day you will realize your fully separate self.

This realization that you are on the brink of a distinct sense of self, the development of your id and ego and all that comes with it just a breath away, made me think of a conversation I had this month. A friend dealing with a broken relationship asked me when will my wounds heal to which I almost responded time heals all wounds except I felt struck by how smugly self-assured these words were. To simply let time do the work of healing wounded relationships with those we love is to believe we are immortal, and that we have an eternity of tomorrows. This isn’t true Waleed. You are young and are loved by so many, but love is a precious commodity and to spurn loved ones is to spurn the greatest gift we are given. Time may heal wounds, but time is not guaranteed. Don’t leave time to heal your hurt feelings with those you love. Drop the ego because before the face of love, ego for the sake of pride alone has no place. It’s the single most important thing I learned when I became your mother.


Your Mama

15 thoughts on “Happy Seventeen Month Birthday”

  1. Happy anniversary, W! You are turning into such a handsome boy, up to something in every picture.
    Great post. And I love the lesson you teach your son – love is truly a miracle, often underrated or taken for granted.
    Hugs. 🙂


  2. Thanks Anon 🙂

    Kmina, sometimes I think because of what we went through we'll know not to take the love we have for granted. Even if it means we never sleep at times. 🙂

    Thanks C, and C?!?! Where have you been?!?!

    Susan, thank you– I'm still not sure how these past 17 months went by as quicly as they did.

    Julia, thanks!!! It's a special moment to share company with someone who thinks you are a part of them, to be that connected, albeit this briefly, is a beautiful feeling.


  3. Very nice. On the broken relationship thing. Time does not heal it, love can ease it that is all. I liken it to the Buddhas at Bamian in Afghanistan: when someone you love leaves, spurns you, dies, etc. They leave a hole in your soul – and like those blasted holes in Bamian – a new person may come into your life but they be too small for the hole and leave gaps around the edges, or too big requiring new carving. At the end you have scars that will itch and burn occasionally for the rest of your life. With luck love (in its myriad forms) will reduce it to an ache and echo.


  4. Alan, that is one of the most haunting and true things I have ever heard, so beautifully put, it brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing. As someone who has lost two people who meant more to me than I can ever articulate, your sentiments are spot on.


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