Category Archives: Of Super Moms and Super Dads

The art of conversation with your boys!

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Please don’t be fooled by the title of this blogpost! I’m still struggling with the subject with the three boys in my life: hubby, 12 year old J and a 7 year old S.

I bought this pack of ice breaker cards a few days back and what better way than to bond with each other at bed time! So me, J and S, we all sat down. The youngest wanted to go first so he picked up the first card. It read, “tell us about your crushes” J and I burst out laughing, S screamed at us, embarrassed and not very happy at the idea (in retrospect it was very mean of the mom to laugh out loud too). The cards were flying all over my bed by this time, having collected them all, a suspicious 12 year old and a still sobbing/grinning S (yes we can manage both emotions with a 5 second interval) I said hey boys let’s start again – it’s ok if S doesn’t want to answer this question. So we all took our turns, then comes S’s turn once again. He picked up the second card. It said, ‘how do you express your lov…” He stopped reading, threw the card and screamed again, “why am I getting love cards” By this time J was rolling down the bed laughing, I was stifling my laughter (read roars of laughter) I finished the card for S. “It says How do you express your love for God”. Oh come on boys, this is such a lovely question. S refused to answer and so I helped him. I heard myself tell S, “The best way to express our love for God is to thank Him for all his blessings” Ah, this seemed to settle S but he still looked suspiciously at the cards. Soon we all had about 5 turns each! And that’s when I called it a day. As my mom says, better to stop while you are still having fun so you look forward to it next time! S was the first one to protest, he still wanted to play!!

I took a photo later, of the first card, which threw us into fits of laughter but also led the way for a great time where me and the boys had so much fun sharing our fun facts! You should try it too sometimes!

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and I learn, again…

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Today was again one of those days – when I learnt (once again) from my children!

Of late we have started a regular family activity – the Maghrib prayer is one time of the day when me and my two boys will say our prayers together! This is my attempt to make them regular, and to see this as a fun, family activity, rather than a mundane activity I force upon them. We have our share of giggles right after, and it is my way of teaching them the importance of saying thank you to the One who gives us all the blessings.

Today, I must confess, I was lazy for my evening prayer.  My little efficient bunny, the six year old, of late has been eagerly trying to follow as many prayers as he can manage on his own (his independent prayers are just actions but I love him, mumbling and pretending to say the namaz like he does under my guidance).  So S ran to the little corner of my room, spread out his prayer mat and called me.  He didnt ‘remind’ me – he only said, can you please help me remember what I have to say? and thats when I heard myself say, ‘Hold on S, please call J also,I’m coming to join you give me a minute to get ready!’ The three of us prayed together, just like any other day. Alhamdolilah.

That got me thinking, (after I gave little S a big hug for being the star of the day), that if you surround yourself with positive energy – those very positive little influences floating around us in the form of our ‘routine’ help pick us up on days that life pulls us down.  I am thankful I had, among others, one positive energy that pulled me up today.  How many positive influencers do you have in your life? Today would be a good day to start!

 

 

 

the juggling game

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A mom is a busy person, period.

There are so many people expecting so many things at a given point in time.  Your husband needs your attention while your children always need your attention, energy, time, trouble shooting and disaster management skills! 😉 Your kitchen is another pit-hole that is always demanding attention! If you are lucky to have household support staff, they could be the best ones in market and still need your constant management skills, your alertness to resource management and your observation skills to keep tag of their work! Add the word ‘working’ to a mom – and you have to manage a full day of work’s worth in addition to all of the above.  Did i mention fulfilling one’s duty as a good daughter, daughter in law, extended relations, friends? etc etc. Any mom, is a superhero without a cape!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, as we juggle family, friends, work, home and other social obligations, sincerely hoping that we learn to do justice to all –  It’s okay to drop the plastic balls but I sincerely hope I don’t drop any of the glass balls! Our life has some plastic balls and some glass balls. Everyone has a different definition of what is a glass ball for them.  My family and home are my glass balls. And i sincerely hope that among all the balls I juggle – this is one glass ball I never drop.

So today, when I went to my son’s school to read a book to him, I read it out not only to him, but I also gathered two other kids whose parents were not able to come.  I feel for working parents as much as I feel for those kids! I noticed that my son was not just laughing on my jokes but also more so looking at his friends enjoying his mom’s antics.  This is one event I mostly manage to miss out because of some office commitment or the other – however, the smile on my five-year old’s face was enough to give me that extra skip in my walk as I entered late at work.  I am usually grumpy in the morning, but today I was all smiles.  Only because among all the other balls, I was able to juggle an extra ball today. It is probably these little moments that form a big part of our happiness index! And today, mine is way up there in the clouds! Alhamdolilah.

Amma

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Today it has been exactly one year that my Daddi, my lovely Amma, passed away. I owe her a lot in my life – one of the most important lesson she taught us siblings was that of Namaz. A skill which you realize is your lifeline as you mature in years. There was a time when I would pray only when I had an exam or a big test coming up! But now, as I try and catchup with life while making sure I don’t let go of my daily communication with God, it is only now that I realize how thankful I am to the person who taught me all this! Especially since I find it very challenging to teach my sons the same. I now realize how much patience is required to impart a life skill and at the same time instilling love for doing so!

There was always a very fine balance – our Nani taught us the Quran while Daddi made sure the children pray on time. (I was mostly the lazy one and Amma would always tell me very lovingly how my younger sister is more regular and I should follow the same!). As we grew up we also witnessed a fine combination of Nani and Daddi being the best of friends! And Amma‘s unconditional love and preference for my mother, her only daughter in law ; something which many households are not accustomed to! Perhaps this is the main reason our family bond remains so strong!

My Amma was such a beautiful human being with great compassion for not just her family but also her extended family and friends! Her friend aunty Aabo would come and spend the night at our house and me and my dad would scheme that it would be so much fun if one could be a fly on the wall in their room! If we could somehow plant a secret recording device for posterity’s sake!!! It was such a delight watching her happily chatting away! Good times were they!

It’s hard to imagine my parent’s house without Amma but I’m sure she’s still praying for us all- wherever she is!

I miss my Amma, very much! The more I miss her, the more I try to emulate the values she instilled in us! This I guess is the best way to honor her memory! May she rest in peace and may she gains the highest level of Jannat in the Hereafter.

AJ on life

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As I sat down, wondering what to write on this forgotten blog – I received my father’s email sent to me and my siblings. My father who I fondly refer to as AJ, his initials, wrote from his heart, as he always does.  It touched a chord in my heart and I could not help but share with all my friends and family. We can all learn a few words of wisdom from a man I admire most in my life.

My personal favourite is lesson no. 4. Which one is yours?

“My very dear ones,

After a few days I am completing three years after my retirement. These THREE years have enabled me to understand this world in a much better way than previous sixty years on life. I have learnt few lessons which I want to share with you. I believe anyone who would follow these would be at least a satisfied person like me. I am thankful to God almighty for helping me to understand these TEN lessons in their true spirits. These lessons are:-

1) Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and move out of their way

2) The only constant in life is change… Get comfortable with it

3) Fail often, fail quickly….you’ll never succeed unless you take risks

4) You only get one shot – make it count!

5) Your schedule makes you dumber…find time to learn about worlds outside of the one you live in.

6) Good ideas rule all.

7) Believe in a  Bawaqar Pakistan…You would make it happen, not others.

8) Family first…if some situation arises.

9) Make your own definitions of success and believe that you can make it happen.

10) Only God can help you….nobody else!

God be with you in whatever you do in your life, I love you all.”

 

road less taken

All in a Day’s Block

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I am ‘informed’ through reliable sources that if I do not update my blog often enough, I might get labelled as the ‘one who has surrendered her pen’ and lose all my visitors (who currently consist of my generous family and cousins and friends only)! But hey, where are the advocates for work-life-blog balance?? Given that the year end is taking 90% of my energies at work, yearend is also taking up the remaining 10% of my energies left for family get togethers in the evenings… when and where do I find the time to blog? 

Shh…you are not supposed to say that, glares a friend.  Ah ok, so what should I write about? You are supposed to write a daily journal, of whatever you are up to, points another. Okay, but then who would be interested to know my work details, or the fact that I am remote controlling kids schedules and home through my trusted cell phone or that I shift gears as soon as I enter the home in the evening.  Why would anyone want to know that solving and teaching class 2 maths homework post 6 p.m. can at times be more challenging than working out peace and development initiatives in the north west frontier?

‘Write a blog about your observations from what you see around you’, suggests my wise li’l sister whose opinion I listen to, unfailingly.  ‘Walk around with a blogger’s eye’, suggests another.  Yes, I plan to do that, as soon as I take my mind off the million assignments that are running through my mind at the same time.  Fingers crossed. 

 I always wanted to write about my most amazing ability to get along with people, of all shapes and sizes, and in the worst of all situations.  I could give a diplomacy 101 to all the others out there, waiting to be beamed up into the big bad world out there.  But then I could be the future Under Secretary General of Ice-breaking, a post that would be sanctioned only for me to honour my abilities, and that perhaps would be a better time to write my memoirs. 

 A friend suggested this morning that I should simply put up a picture of my work table to state through a photo-blog why I have not been writing.  How cool is that for an idea, but then just before my son went to bed, he gave me a sketch that he made just before hopping onto bed and it totally melted my heart.  How can any picture be better than this one, he thinks I am a super mom.  Someone who is juggling to carry his baby brother (rather a baby brother who is dangling to her foot! Haha!), her laptop (inseparable) and cupcakes that me and my son make on certain saner weekends, all at the same time.  Aww.  I am warmed to the core.  The fact that he has misspelled my name can be taken up tomorrow during homework time! And that’s a story for another day….

For my Baba, with Love

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When I was a little girl, I used to write on my Dad’s birthday cards which I probably copied from somewhere, ‘A father is someone we can look up to, no matter how tall we get’.  Today, as I write a post dedicated to my dad on his 60th birthday, I realize what it really meant….

All of us owe our existence to our parents, and it is the way they bring us up that defines not only our personalities but also a reflection of their own. A father is someone we always look up to, yes, no matter how tall we get and how old we feel, and how many children we have of our own.  Our parents are there to remind us that we are taken care of and that we will always be loved, unconditionally.  As my father turns 60 today (MashAllah, may he lives a long, happy and healthy life), I am thinking of all the truly wonder years spent with him, and all that I have learnt from him, and most importantly, how much I have always loved him. 

Actually, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it were not for my father, because he was the one who encouraged me to write my first article for a newspaper and posted it himself.  He used to make me read editorials of newspapers and rewrite them during my summer holidays! He would even cross question me to know if I am keeping up with my newspaper reading! I now realize how that grilling actually helped me improve my writing and my interest in catching up with what’s happening around me. He used to take us to the library, every Sunday, unfailingly, and soon we were all able to graduate to the ‘grown-ups’ section because we had read all the books in the children’s section! He would guide us and taught us how to look for books, going through catalogues and looking for the information we needed.  It is always a very proud moment for me when I interact with professionals and they hold Baba in such high esteem for his knowledge and technical know-how. Baba, I owe my love for reading, writing and the quest for knowledge…all to you!

Baba always taught us to think, debate and reflect on issues and while it helped us immensely to interact with any group of people, we were almost always in ‘compliance’ with instructions passed by our dad.  The way we upheld our parents’ wishes and advice upon our own choices stands in strong contrast to when I see kids of today as I cannot relate to them and perhaps this is what is referred to widely as the ‘generation gap’.  But I can happily and very proudly declare to my dad that I have always remained in close compliance to everything he ever asked me to do.  I may not always have liked it, but I appreciate his wisdom and his unconditional love for me.  Specially now that I am a mother myself.

My father was the one who took me to the swimming pool when I was four and I have never been afraid of water since then. Now I show my son all the tricks Baba taught me, how to ‘stand upside down’ in water, how to ‘float’ on water, my son giggles and looks at me in awe.  I remember I used to be very scared of jumping in water. I would almost always use the steps.  One day, my dad called me at the deep end and before I knew it, I was ‘thrown in’ at the deep end of the pool! And that was my last day of being afraid of jumping in water.  I remember he had given me a task of doing 50 laps in a stretch and the incentive was ice-cream of my choice in the same hotel where we used to go for a swim.  Through our years of swimming in the same pool, I was learning the important lesson of fighting my fears, never giving up, and most importantly learning to ‘celebrate’ the achievements, even if it is only meeting the 50-lap milestone.

Baba is a people’s person, and loves his family and friends and is always there for them.  I can never emulate him enough and his dedication for reaching out to such a vast group of people with unmatched generosity at the same time is remarkable.  It is when you give of yourself that you truly give, as Khalil Gibran reminds us. I have learnt the importance of keeping strong bonds with extended family and friends and of helping out people in their hour of need.  He is perhaps the reason we are a very strong-knit family.  And lets not forget that behind every great father is an equally great mother and together they complete my world. 

So Baba, today on your 60th birthday, I really wanted to tell you how much I admire your resilience, your sense of values for your family, friends and your country. I wish you many more years of health, happiness and may you continue to help others and bring smiles in their lives! Knowing you, I am sure you have more milestones to meet until the golden jubilee and here’s wishing more excitement and success, InshAllah!

Thank you Baba for everything and for just being you!