monthly update, motherhood, parenting, travel

Happy Eighteen Month Birthday

Dear Waleed,

You are eighteen months old and its been a busy month. So busy in fact, that I only now had a chance to sit down and write this letter to you which is one of my favorite things to do; reflecting on your month and how quickly you are transforming– faster than I can blink.

We sold our home this month. The home I lived in for nearly eight years, where I saw two lines on the pregnancy test, where I spent days dreaming of what you would look like and who you would be, and where we brought you home from the hospital your eyes just opening to the world. This month we packed our boxes [which you dutifully unpacked whenever we turned our backs] and we moved away from the only place you knew as home. The thing that gets to me is you will remember none of this and yet that house? It was your entire universe. It’s where you first smiled, laughed, crawled on the cold tiles and took your first steps on the new hardwoods, its where you learned to climb the stairs and wiggle down like a fish on your stomach. It’s the house that made your eyes light up when we returned from a long time away as you opened cupboards and checked behind doors. Your swagger when we returned home made it clear: this was your domain. You loved that house so much– and you will remember none of it but it’s okay. I will remember those moments for the both of us.

I can’t be sure how long we’ll be in our two bedroom condo but you’re loving the new outdoor lifestyle accompanying me each morning to grab a coffee and then heading to what you believe is the Best Park On Earth. It’s beginning to get difficult to step out the front door because you immediately begin jumping, pointing and attempting to make a dash for the playground oncoming traffic be damned! When indoors, your favorite new thing is pretending to be us. Never has it been more clear to me how important our job is, to basically teach you what it is to be a person which is evident in the way you imitate nearly everything we do from ‘sipping tea’ and ‘chatting’ on the phone or how you attempt to stomp about in our shoes, trying our clothes on, like your baba’s sweater which- a bit big right now, but someday soon. Probably way too soon. 

We went to San Francisco this month- its my favorite city on earth because of its vibrant personality-filled streets and because it’s where some of the most awesome people in the world reside. I’ve been looking forward to this trip all year and it did not disappoint. We tagged along with your father, his conference just steps from our hotel, and did our best to stay out of his hair until he had a moment’s break to meet up and spend some time with us.

We did not do our usual bus/Bart hopping to all the sights and sounds of the city because with a SUV stroller and a toddler who is quite regimented in his naps it was simply not possible. Instead we slowed down. We took in the parks, Yerba Buena Park, KidPower Park [oh so many parks]. We paused. We breathed. It was beautiful. Thank you for stilling my pace, naps and all. For letting me examine the little things and for showing me new ways to love this city I thought I couldnt love any more than I already did.

Hands down the best part of the trip was spending time with my dear friends, Baraka and her sweet family, who were kind enough to even let us tag along with them on Eid when your Abu was in conferences all day, and really, San Francisco this time around was about enjoying the pleasure of their company. And my did you take to your Khala. You bounced around the room squealing and grinning at her the moment you laid eyes on her. Nur is drawn to Nur I suppose. Anytime I spend with your Khala is special but this time, if you can believe it, it was even more special. Her son is exactly two months older than you and seeing you both together? I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, despite the few false starts, seeing you and beautiful ‘Bean’ together, sipping tea, conversing and cackling with delight, and at one point, even reading a book together [ofcourse at the end of the trip, its always towards the end] it’s watching a miracle in action and all I can think is: Which of His blessings can I deny?[And how badly I want to move to the city of my heart].

On the way home, as we waited on the airport-train to take us to our baggage, I looked up to see a woman smiling nostalgically at you. I have a little boy, she said when our eyes met. Well, he’s seventeen now but I remember that age. We chatted about travel with a youngster and she warned me be careful, when they travel a lot as children they’ll be gunning to travel all over the world without you when they’re older. I shook my head and grinned No, not him, he’s never going to want to travel without us by his side. To which the entire bus full of people burst into hearty laughter.

Ouch. And, yes. I know this. I know you will not always cling to me and gamely go wherever we take you. I know each day, each letter I write, takes you one month away from this beautiful connection I share with you– I am no fool. I know you will grow up. But instead of looking forward, I’m looking at today and living in this moment– something I could never do until I met you. While you might go paragliding across South America solo one day, for now, thank you for being you; the centering-slowing-pausing-reflecting-mostbeautiful part of our day.


Your Mama

21 thoughts on “Happy Eighteen Month Birthday”

  1. Such precious, beautiful, moving letters you write! I know he is going to love reading them when he gets older. The love comes pouring off the pages…

    I had such a wonderful time with you & can't believe it's already over. The 2nd & 3rd pics remind me of Bean! 🙂 Those moments when they played together and read together are ones I will treasure forever. Love & miss you so much!


    PS- You belong here. 🙂


  2. Gorgeous post, your photos made me tear up with happiness for you, for me, for all of us who are living the dream. I am so glad you had a good time in SF, and happy you're home safe. (Also, we have that EXACT same monkey hat & I can't get H to keep it on his noggin. Any tips?) 🙂


  3. lol he will want to grow up and branch out and have me time. thats normal part of growing up..just like you moved, he will too.

    sad for parents..but that's life..


  4. Anon, aw thanks!

    Maleeha, you guys did the right thing heading to SF when you were just beginning your careers- the further you get entrenched the harder it is to leave- but- insh'Allah 🙂 knowing what great folks are there doesn't make it easier to be so far away!

    Baraka, I will have to send you the pics soon of them reading together and chillin in their matching outfits. TOO CUTE. I miss SFO and more importantly YOU. Looking forward to the next time we meet again!


  5. Kmina, thanks! 🙂

    Susan, really?! Does it have a strap under it? This one has a strap of velcro that sticks it on his head– even then he does take it off sometimes, but anything else hatwise that is strapless, its off in a second. Very annoying!

    Thanks Anon 🙂

    Ofcourse ym


  6. The pictures are wonderful. We're considering selling our house right now – yes, at 37 weeks pregnant – and your musings about your house being W's world have made me rethink the entire process. Can I really part with the place that has been Bear's entire world for 2 1/2 years and the place that we're about to bring another little life into?


  7. Thanks Muslimah!! 🙂

    Jamila, they get too big too fast :0(

    Kate, thanks 🙂

    Raising, uh oh don't want you to reconsider! I am over all glad we did it. I mean, unless one plans to stay in the same house forever we have to leave someday. In some ways its easier to leave now when he's young and won't be emotionally attached through memory.


  8. These are always the sweetest letters, I should begin writing to my baby in this way. You have a beautiful family, and although you are missing your house, you will have another place soon enough!


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