InshaAllah, Owlie-pie is getting married in T-minus six days and counting, and the blast-off will be happening in our ancestral stomping grounds- Chicago. It’s been over two years since I was there last- Khalid was sebabeen months old, and just developing the necessary bravery to crawl up the stairs and then scoot down them on his bottom. I was thinner, had a better hair style (hehe) and it was August of 2007. Fast forward to now, with Khalid skipping across the livingroom carpet (even as I type) singing ‘Ay bee shee dee ee eff jee!’ and Iman asleep for the afternoon. She was helping me pack earlier- her contribution to my suitcase being a panda, a book, a toy train, and herself.
She’s an amazing little girl she is, and it’s cutting my heart out with a dull plastic spoon to not be able to take she and Khalid with me to the US. HF can’t get time off from work, Joy (Khalid’s full-time therapist & care giver) and Cindy (Housekeeper & Girl Friday) can’t apply for visit visas to the US until they have worked with us for over a year, and neither have been on for longer than six months.
I can’t take Khalid on my own, and although I could take Iman, it wouldn’t be fair to split them up. When Khalid has lunch, he insists that Iman have lunch too. When Iman has a bottle of juice, Khalid has one too. When Khalid wakes up, he goes to Iman’s bed and wakes her up. When Iman cries, Khalid helps her up, and if anyone so much as scolds Iman, Khalid runs to her rescue and glares furiously at us or throws a full-out tantrum in protest of our unfair treatment of Princess Godzilla.
Iman, in return, charges off in Khalid’s defense, fists and teeth clenched, to rescue him from whichever therapist of wicked OT who could be making Khalid cry. Sometimes they walk hand-in-hand through the park, or hug each other and giggle. They are a bit like the mismatched twins- Khalid is huge, shy, speaks relatively little, and is comparatively a gentle giant compared to his little firecracker of a sister, whose waking hours are generally back to back with shrieking, jumping, giggling, babbling, singing, dancing, pinching, smacking, and pulling hair. Also, sharing and blowing kisses. She’s a toddlersaurus rex, but she’s a loving little toddlersaurus rex. 🙂
I’m trying to steel myself and not die of bebe deprivation in the US. I will miss HF too, in ways that will ache and hurt and eat me with loneliness, but I am not worried about missing what cute, adorable, amazing thing he will do for the first time that I will have missed and will never have the chance to see again. Plus, HF will email me (or suffer the consequences) while the kids have no way of telling me what they’ve been up to and what they were thinking and how Khalid discovered he could make phone calls on a gummy bear.
(Holding gummy bear to ear: “Awo? Aitikatikatikatiak. Ok. Bye bye.”)
I need to not think like that though, and I should instead focus on how awesome it will be to see old friends, new places, and pretend to be a husband-free, kid-free Abez running wild and fancy-free in the city where I grew up.
(I can’t wait to see the Shedd Aquarium again, and the Museum of Science and Industry, and to go sledding with a group of friends and a thermos of hot chocolate.)
I’ll be flying out in the morning, please remember us in your duas. 🙂