Sunday, March 29, 2015

And here... we... go!

I haven't been writing. You could argue, that, for a time, I hadn't been feeling - had put myself full force into today (wake up from a sleepless, baby-dominated night, drink coffee, get groceries, cook), tomorrow, the day after.
Be at the front door at 7:15.
Drop the kids of at 7:23.
Back at the house at 7:28.
Catch the 7:32 bus (maybe), or miss the 7:32 bus (probably).
Sleep on the bus (check twitter, read articles, close eyes).
And all the while there was a voice in the back of my head that said, 'where have you gone? There was a girl in there who used to feel everything so intensely, who sobbed when she cried and shrieked with delight when she laughed, and that girl has dulled and dimmed and quieted', and I would turn the knob down on the voice and say, 'That's just age, that's just maturity, that's just wisdom'.
And when the voice reminded me about the last time I'd read Quran, or stood for Sunnah, or let myself feel in my prayer, I would turn her down too. 'God Knows I'm doing my best. God Knows I don't have time for Sunnah, I barely get enough sleep as it is. God Knows.' (Ignoring that God also Knew how many hours a week I spent on Facebook, on TV shows, on the finally-winning again Habs.)
But no more.
I'm ready to feel again. Ready to feel at a loss and for that to be okay, to feel good, or bad, or scared, or proud, and for that to be okay. To let myself be that small, tired, person because I don't need to know the answers. I don't need to know the plan because it's not my plan anyway. It's God's Plan. and it's going to be great. and that's a huge weight off.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Tonight after you had taken your bottle in the dark and quiet of your room, I couldn’t bring myself to put you down, couldn’t bring myself to let you go, and so I stood there, a foot from the edge of the crib, with your little hands draped around my neck and your head resting on my shoulder, felt your tiny ribcage expand and contract with every breath as you drifted into the precursors of sleep, felt you be, and just loved you, and just missed you, and just poured all that love and all that missing into the space around us. You are so still when you’re sleeping, so the opposite of your little hurricane self when you’re awake, crawling or twisting or turning or grabbing or pulling (on hair, clothes, toys, furniture, yourself or anything you can reach, really.) And in that stillness I feel your vulnerability, your not-even-one-ness, and it breaks my heart, makes my breath catch for a moment in my throat, so that I have to remind myself to breathe again, to be ok with it.

You are little but getting bigger every day, growing in tiny, imperceptible ways, learning, kitten-like in your mannerisms, your noises, your expressions. I swear I have heard your purr. And I want the moment next to your crib to last forever, but there are lunches to pack and clothes to put away and even if I ignore them, the phone is ringing and your brother is calling me urgently from his bedroom, where he’s probably put his pj’s on backward, and I have to put you down, my love, I have to tend to other things and other people, and pray that in the morning, I’ll get to hold you again in peace, if only for a moment, before we go out into the tornado of the world again.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


I have lost the ability to put together multiple coherent sentences, sentences that matter, that mean something to someone else, sentences that discuss something other than mealtime or bedtime battles, clothing wars, potty training progress, teething or growth percentiles. 
I have lost the ability to read anything longer than 2000 words - unless you can show me pictures, unless they are shiny, or the target audience is 15.
I have lost the ability to write, the words flowing off my fingers, through me and into a pen or onto a keyboard, writing unbidden, phrases coming faster than I can put them down somewhere permanent. On the rare occasion they do come, I am in the middle of bath time or bed time, my arms preoccupied with the rocking of an infant or the changing of a diaper, impossible to drop the task at hand. and by the time I get to the pen, the words are gone, vapours in the air, traces of what they were when I first thought them, gifts with the shortest lifespans, available only to those who can quickly, greedily hold them down.
I have lost the ability to fall asleep at a moment’s notice just when I need that ability most, just when my opportunities for sleep come in 10 and 15 minute intervals, just when the duration between the end of the baby’s feeding and the pre-schooler’s rising is exactly that amount of time, lost the ability to power nap when the power nap would give me the most power, refuel me enough to keep my eyes open, my voice answering ongoing, random questions I’ve never considered - what is the sky? Who is grandpa’s brother? Are you going to wash your shirt because it’s green? 

my voice singing - alternately in English and then Arabic and then French, A-B-C, aliph-ba-ta-tha, the wheels on the bus go round and round, rocking the baby, my mind spinning with so much and so little. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

For my baby...

It’s that last moment before bed, when you’ve finished your bottle and we’ve read your Quran and I’m standing up to put you down into your crib, that last moment when I’m holding you around your chubby little waist and I pull you in for a kiss and tell you “tisbah ‘ala kheir’, that I want to last forever. No matter how tired I am, no matter what kind of day it’s been, that kiss on your cheek is never enough, that moment always, always ends too quickly.

And you’re starting to squirm, even now, when I prolong it. When my lips don’t leave your cheek in sufficient time, when I go for a third, or a fourth, or a fifth. You know your routine: the room is dark, we’ve drank our milk, we’ve said our dua, don’t confuse me, Mama, I think now it’s time to sleep. But this is when I ache with my love for you. This is when I don’t know if I’ll be able to bear it to put you down, while you’re still so warm and so soft and so pudgy in my arms, while I’ve forgotten that you whined while we made dinner, or smacked me in the face, albeit playfully, while we sang and clapped.

And then when you wake up at 2 a.m., I think to myself, “Dear God, sleep, Child!” and yet, right at bed time, I wish I could freeze time and stay standing there, suspended above your crib, holding you, rocking you, kissing your delicious little face with your fat little cheeks and your dimpled chin and your extra rolls of adorable. I wish I could freeze it and stay in that moment, just you and me and our love, before you want to run away, before you’re focused on impressing someone else, before you talk back and try to escape your homework, before life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In Memory of Jack

Yesterday, Canada lost one of our best and most caring politicians, NDP leader Jack Layton, to cancer. A couple of days before his death, Jack wrote this letter, which he left to Canadians. It's a beautiful and inspiring piece. And, just as Jack said, let's be hopeful:

August 20, 2011

Toronto, Ontario

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,

Jack Layton

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This'll be the day that I die..

If you like lipdubs, you will love this. And this is the first time I listened to the words of this song beyond the chorus. Rather melancholy, no?

Monday, March 21, 2011

The one in which baby acts like a bobblehead doll and also has a bald spot

When Baby D was born, one of the mos noticeable things about him was his full head of black hair. It was everywhere on his head, beautiful and thick. Each nurse would note it when she came in to check on us or take his temperature.
After a few weeks though, it started thinning all over his head except right on top, so that soon he was down to a faux-hawk... Now, I've heard that babies often lose the hair they're born with, and that eventually it gets replaced with their "real" hair, so basically, you don't know if the colour or texture is going to stay the same. I've also heard that sometimes they're totally bald in between the two stages, and other times the old hair is falling out while the new hair is growing in, so you can't really tell it's happening.
All I know now is that, after thinning out for some time, Baby D's hair has been seeming to grow back in for the last three weeks or so. Of course, when you spend as much time, continuously, looking at something or someone, you usually can't see the change. It's like trying to figure out on a day-by-day basis if you're gaining or losing weight. It's basically impossible. So, while the hair on the sides of his head is maybe-sort-of growing back in, the hair on the back of his head is gone gone gone!
That's right ladies and gents. Baby D has a bald spot. It's not on the top, it's right on the back of his head. It's what my older sister lovingly refers to as a "pillow spot" and is apparently common with babies who sleep on their backs (which is basically the safe way for all babies to sleep)... Until they start sitting up, a lot of babies spend so much time on their backs that they essentially rub their heads clean of any hair there. Of course, the truly hilarious aspect of all of this is that he has hair again at the nape of his neck, so it looks like a really hilarious rat tale situation. I call his hair situation "the reverse mullet": it's party in the front, business in the back (and then a rat tale - heheh).
The other hilarious thing about him now is the bobblehead situation. While he learns to hold his head up, he's in this in-between stage where he seems to think he's a bobblehead. If he's sitting, he's bobbling constantly. I've seen this with all babies I know passing through his age and stage, so you'd think I'd get used to it, but instead, it never ceases to amuse and amaze me.
So, I have a balding, bobble-headed little man to take care of. And I couldn't be happier :)

From the Mouths of Babes (part 4)

This one comes to you from the UAE, courtesy of Abu Dhabi Angel.
The setting:
Angel is watching a program on TV in which they are eating hot dogs. At the same time, Abu Dhabi Mama is cooking burgers in the kitchen.

Angel (in utter amazement): "Mama, I can smell the food from the tv!"