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.