Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Three Years!

Happy birthday to my amazing wonderful son!

We had your party a month early so that the whole family can be here for it.

I hope that every year we get to have you with us is better for you than the last. I also hope and pray that the world gets better because of you.

I love you.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Two Years, Eleven Months, Eleven Days...

Dearest Jude,

On April 23rd we had an early 3rd birthday party for you. It was Paw Patrol themed, with everything from birthday cake made especially for you, to cookies custom made, amd treat bags and decorations. Karen and Jason, Maryum and Sirin, Yaseen, Sally and their parents, Arwa, Shumon and the kids, Nancy, as well as Fatima, Jenine and Abdullah came. Tete and Jiddo were both here for a week and they have never been able to attend any of your birthday parties because of their work schedules. They arrived on the 21st of April and left on April 28th. It took you a couple of days to get used to them being here, and a couple of days to get used to them being gone. I really miss them and I think you do too. You were asking if Jiddo was asleep and when I said "yes probably", you wanted to go upstairs and look at him sleeping in his bed. I had to explain to you again that they went on an airplane to Kuwait and are in their home in Kuwait now. You were very sad when you heard that.

The week they were here was also my 2nd of two weeks being off from school. It was really nice, even though I was working almost every day during that period. Tete and Jiddo love you so much and miss you terribly. I hope you will always know how much they love you even though you don't see them all the time. 

I love you my darling.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Two Years, Ten Months, Eleven Days...

Dearest Jude,

You are at a funny age my darling.  You are fighting for your independence. So what seems to me like a temper tantrum about a minute thing, is a giant disaster to you, because so many things are out of your control. I have to remind myself of this every time I get angry at you. I have no patience and I am working hard to try to see things from your point of view when things get difficult. I am even going to a parenting class on Wednesdays now :)

Other than the stubbornness and the tantrums, you are still going to Fauzia every week. You seem to enjoy yourself because she always has kids over at her place while she is looking after you. We are also trying to get playdates established, so we have Karen, TJ and Jason over on some Thursdays, and then we have playdates with Rickilee, Abby and Aubree on some Tuesdays.

I am still busy with school and work. I am still trying to get a balance going, to no avail. So frustration is a common feeling I have, and I think that it affects our interactions.  I really hope that those few months won't affect our long term relationship.

I am trying to speak to you in Arabic only and it seems like you understand. I have to say things in Arabic, then English, then Arabic again to ensure that you know what I am saying. Work in progress and hopefully you will be speaking, reading and writing Arabic in the near future inshallah.

I love you so much my darling boy.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Two Years, Nine Months, Nine Days...

Dearest Jude,

Both baba and I have been working a lot these days. You and I have also been trying to get more playdates for you, because when I am home, I am usually trying to get school work done. I am really sorry but not always being there to play with you, and that the tv is usually on. I don't think you mind watching your cartoons, I just wish I could plan things better so that my schoolwork does not interfere with my time with you. I am struggling with the possibility of doing schoolwork when you and baba are sleeping, but then that takes away from time spent with you two in the mornings. I will figure things out. Inshallah I will not be in school for much longer. I am trying to finish the counselling degree as soon as possible.

This month was my and Rachel's birthday (Feb. 15th). Grammie took us out for lunch and then we had ice cream cake at her place, when Rachel visited on the weekend of Feb. 25th. I am pretty sure you had fun even though you don't like ice cream. March 4th was also khalo Ghassan's birthday. Khalo had his celebration with Tete and Jiddo in Kuwait.

I love you with all my heart Jude.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Two Years, Eight Months, Seven Days...

Dearest Jude,

Mashallah you are so amazing. Your words are so beautiful and well-spoken. You want to play all the time. You also want to hog the television and the iPad. You also want to monopolize Baba and his attention. It is understandable, considering you are buddies.

I sometimes feel left out, but I don't blame you. I am not always present even when I am physically with you.  I am sometimes doing my school work, whether it is posts, or projects, or papers. Going to school and working can be hectic. There is a lot of guilt about not spending every free minute doing exactly what you want to do. I am often glad when you go to Fauzia's and play with your friends there, because I know that you are having fun and learning. You go twice a week now while I am at work. Sometimes it is three times depending on my work schedule. If I am working more than three days on Baba's long week then Grammie would usually look after you. May Allah keep her, tete and jiddo safe for us. Ameen.

This month, Donald Trump became the 4th president of the United States. One of his first moves is to put a ban on Muslims coming into America. My tete and jiddo are there with my aunt Lina ans cousins Muayyad and Danny. They are American citizens but still do not feel safe in their own country, with anti-immigration, xenophobic, racist, sexist rhetoric. He is all about making America great again, but forgetting one of the main building blocks that gave birth to the U.S. as a country in the first place. The Women's March happened after his inauguration, which is not just about women's rights, but about equal rights for all, no DAPL, no bans on foreigners, no wall between Mexico and U.S.

I know that since we are in Canada,  that maybe I shouldn't care. But believe it or not, this affects Canada in general, and Muslims living in the west as well. Please remember to not let anyone make you uncomfortable in your own skin. Never let anyone take away who you are and what you stand for from you. You are Muslim. Your name may not give you away, but you are half Syrian. Syria is one of the countries from which people are banned from entering the U.S. by the way. Continue to pray, and continue to practice. Allah does not give one more burdens that they can handle. You got this. Whatever "this" may be in your adulthood. Right now for all of us, it is anti-Muslim and anti-immigration that would affect us directly. If things get worse than they are, it is more important than ever to keep your faith and to pray, pray, pray. Even if you don't see your baba and I praying, you KNOW that you need to pray your five daily prayers. Not only because you will be asked about it first when you face Allah. But also because it is your weapon against evil. It is your protection from outside Shaytan as well as the one inside. We are all capable of good and evil. Prayers will protect you from so much internal turmoil. It will also give you an opportunity to look after you and your spiritual and mental needs.

I love you so much my darling. Look after yourself and love people, all living things, and this beautiful earth given to us.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Two Years, Seven Months, Nine Days...

Dearest Jude,

Today is January 1st, 2017. Happy New Year!
This post is late, and again, I apologize. We have had a nice visit with Tete. She was here for 13 days. She left on Thursday, December 29th, 2016. She is staying for a week in New Jersey, with my Tete and Jiddo.

I had two weeks off from school and am starting a new course on Monday, January 2nd, inshallah.

You might have wondered why I was back in school, yet again. My first degree was a rush job, when I just graduated from Garden 12 without a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I changed my major a couple of times, since I thought I wanted to apply for medical school,  pharmacy or dentistry. But that did not work out. I half-heartedly tried to get into those programs, somewhat knowing that they were really not what I wanted to do. There is a lot of prestige associated with those professions, but for some reason, I wasn't as bent on those as I should have been.
I met my best friend Fufu (your auntie Fatima who lives in Kuwait with her hubby and three daughters), at Dalhousie. I believe I was in my last year there. She transferred from Ryerson and wanted to apply to the Nutrition program at Mount Saint Vincent. On a whim, I applied as well, thinking that it is health related, would help people avoid getting sick, and would have a job upon graduation. I did not get into an internship, which would have enabled me to become a registered dietitian. Thinking that a Masters in Applied Human Nutrition would help me get there, I applied and got into a general Masters program - No internship!
So, I finished the Masters with no job prospects, but with a clearer goal of being hands on in the community. I applied got a few jobs in community centers and such, with no luck.

The degrees have been useful in getting jobs, but no career yet. Hopefully the counselling psychology degree I am working on would do me and us good. It is hard, as I am insecure and can compare myself to what others have achieved so far. I need to remember something my Baba,  your Jiddo, told me long ago. He told me to never look down on anyone, no matter their circumstances. You don't know who they are, what their life is like, whether they have amazing talents, a great and beautiful faith in Allah. They might be the best people. You are no better than anyone, despite your skin tone, your faith, your education, material possessions,  etc. Don't look up to just anyone either. Pick who you look up to wisely, just like you pick who you are friends with or spend considerable time with wisely. Don't look up to celebrities, or rich people, or people who might be considered good looking, who dress a certain way, etc. Look up to someone who embodies beauty from within, who is kind hearted, who treats people well, who cares for people,  who exemplifies the values of true Islam. Look up to someone who works hard, no matter what they do for a living.

Do not make the mistake of comparing yourself to others. You are you and everyone else is who they are. They have their life circumstances and you have yours. Nature and nurture, I believe, help us become who they are. So keep that in mind when you find yourself rushing to judge someone or compare yourself to someone.  If you have to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to someone who, like I said before, exemplifies good characteristics, who are good people. But again, keep in mind who you are. You can grow and learn and improve upon yourself and certain aspects that you might not like, but please do not change yourself to fit in with someone or make yourself more appealing. If a person doesn't like you for who you are, then you can choose to continue to hang out with them and put up with their dislike of certain characteristics, or you can choose to end things on good terms and maintain an acquintance. No one will completely like everything about you 100% of the time. This would not provide any opportunities for growth, improvement, tolerance or understanding of differences.

I love you with all my heart. I hope I am a good enough mother for you.  I hope I am the mother you deserve.  You are the love of my life. I am passionately in love you my sweetheart.

Mama

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Two Years, Six Months, Fourteen Days...

Dearest One,

I am again late with the post.

The change in seasons has gotten the best of me. I wasn't even sure if I should keep going with those letters to you. But, since you are my best friend, and only friend these days, I need to keep talking to you. And I hope those letters are beneficial to you too.

Don't get me wrong, I have great friends. Everyone is just busy and has their own lives to lead. My friends from university are either living elsewhere or busy with life's multitude of commitments and challenges. My friends from my various jobs, in between my full-time student career, are also busy with work and family, or have moved away for better employment and education opportunities. The friends who are here, due to my own neglect perhaps, would love to hang out but need an effort on my part. It makes sense, since if I don't make the effort to keep in touch, why should anyone?

School is busy. One great thing about school is I got to meet Ashley. I wish she lived closer but she lives in Ontario. We talk quite a bit over the phone. And when things get rough, I know that I can talk to her. I hope she knows she can talk to me.

You are going to Teacher Fauzia's house twice a week these days, with sissy Alana and Grammie hanging out with you when Baba is working. Tete is coming very soon!!! I am very excited as I miss having my parents/your Tete and Jiddo around. I am sure you miss them too. They add a certain level of love and comfort to our shared home. I wish they would move back already, but they need a retirement plan, as they like keeping busy and going out. They can travel more while living in Kuwait.

By the way, I know that you notice Baba and I having "discussions". You even tell us to stop talking most of the time. We disagree on a few things, and that is normal for two people. For us, we still have to figure out a healthy way to agree to disagree. We love each other, and that's a good base to start with. Just for your own benefit though:
- Marry someone who is a good Muslim, who loves God and family, and has the same values as you when it comes to family and work ethics as you.
- Marry someone who prays, fasts, pays Zakat and Sadaqa, and plans on taking you to Mecca for Hajj.
- Marry someone who values honesty, respect, commitment, compromise, and has similar beliefs to you with regards to the environment, human rights and diversity.

You can take almost all of those things with a grain of salt, except for the good Muslim part. That is a great base to start with, as without God's blessings and a great relationship with Him, all the other blessings and good points in your spouse may lose value. We all grow and change, so the level of Deen and Imaan will change over time and will go through ebbs and falls. As long as you help each other and go back to the point where at least the 5 pillars are being followed, you will be ok inshallah.

I am sorry this post is all about me. Like I previously said, you are my best friend.

You are talking up a storm mashallah. You are a true chatterbox that can't seem to stop. That is great by me and Baba, and everyone else Alhamdellah!

You are still not potty trained, but you are not ready yet. I know that, Baba knows that and you know that. So that is fine. You like sitting on your Paw Patrol toilet seat and going in the toilet. You take pride in that. So you understand the purpose and what to do. You are just not ready to do it all the time.

You are not eating well, but Alhamdellah you take a multivitamin (lions, tigers, etc.) and you seem to enjoy that part. We also give you probiotics in your juice once a day because your guts act up sometimes.

You are great at throwing tantrums, but you come by that honestly my sweet. You just threw a tantrum because we told you not to stand too close to the TV. So now Baba, who was tired and laying down on the couch, got up with you because you insisted on going down to the basement. I will leave things here to ensure that Baba gets the break he needs.

I love you with all my heart my dear. Sorry about the irregularity of the posts.

Mama