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Entries in tariq (3)


Out of Town

Tariq is out of town for work again.

In an uncharacteristically passive aggressive move, I preemptively blogged on Aiming Low about Tariq's bathroom habits in an attempt to exact vengeance for being left ALL alone for four WHOLE days.

I found Chex Mix in my sneakers yesterday morning AFTER I put them on, and we also had another Sprite incident last night.  N.'s telling me I'm not "acting like her mother these days because I say 'no' too much."

My children are (1) evil geniuses and, most upsetting, (2) outnumber me.

It's a good thing I pray a lot.

Call the National Guard if you don't hear from me in a few days.  These kids don't play around.


Have you listened to the Hey! That's My Hummus podcast, yet?  We talked about American civic ignorance, blood money and the gay kiss on Glee.


Welcome to American

The notion exists that, in some way, every person who leaves their nation to settle in the United States is running away from something bad and towards something good.

Frankly, nothing could be further from the truth for a great deal of the immigrants that I know.  The truth is that in this nation there are many foreign born individuals who were neither tired nor hungry when they arrived on our shores.

The leaving of one’s homeland is a concept that is more than familiar to me.  I’ve often referred to my family as jet setter bedouins of the modern era.  In my head, of course.

Nearly sixty years ago, both of my grandfathers left their ancestral homes in India and crossed a man made border and became Pakistanis.  Twenty years after that, their children left Pakistan and magically became Americans.

I am a woman who is quite aware of the artificial aspects of the construct we call “nationality.”.

Still, nearly two weeks ago when we received a letter from INS instructing my husband to report to his oath ceremony I reacted with a considerable amount of glee.  “Daddy is going to be an American,” I cried to our daughter, “Isn’t that wonderful? Congratulations Daddy, isn’t this exciting?!”

My husband smiled an odd smile, not the kind of smile that I expected.  It was not the usual smile, the one that can brighten any room or get us free tickets to Disney while we’re standing at the gates with our wallet out (yes, that happened, twice).

It was... a sad smile.

The kind of smile that you force onto your face when you know that you are leaving something precious and meaningful behind.  The kind of smile that you must put on your face, so that others are unaware of the pain that lives behind it.

You see, like so many immigrants in this country, my husband has nothing to run from.

If he lived in India, his life would be beautiful and amazing.  He would fit in all the time.  He wouldn’t have to bend his mind around the most simple cultural nuances that we take for granted here.  He would never have to mow a lawn, do the dishes, or clean the pool.  Because, back home, they have people for that.

In all ways, his life would most likely have been easier in India.

These things didn’t occur to me until I saw that sad smile on his face.

That smile told me that being the native born American child of immigrants is not the same thing as being a naturalized American.

We, the children, are the beneficiaries.  We do not feel the pain as acutely of turning over the old passport for the new one.  We do not feel the sensations in our hearts that make us feel that we are somehow betraying who we are and those we have left behind.

I have no words for my husband on this day that will quiet those thoughts.  They may very well be true, I don’t know.

I do know this, though.

I can recognize that he did not decide to become American because India is a bad place or that the people were bad there.

I can recognize that opening one door means closing another, and that it is alright and completely understandable to feel ambivalent and even a little sad about that.

I can recognize that he, like my parents, did this for me and for his children.

I can recognize that as our children get older and he tells them that he became an American for them, they will grow up, as I did, with a deep feeling of importance and a sense of destiny because of his actions today.

I can recognize the incredible strength it takes to forgo one set of emotional attachments for another.

I can recognize the wisdom that we live in a world where international alliances are precarious at best, and the borders and hearts of every nation become less welcoming with every year that passes.  At the very least, having matching passports would offer us the perceived comfort of knowing that we will always be together.

I can recognize that like my parents, more than the word, “Congratulations” from me on this slightly bittersweet day, he needs to hear the words “Thank you.”

Thank you, Tariq, for becoming an American today for our family.

May this day open the doors before you to all sorts of joys, prosperity and goodness that will quiet the sad feeling that there may be some that are slowly closing behind you.

This Has Nothing to Do With Valentine's Day.

I used to get really irritated when people told me how lucky I was that Tariq is my husband.

Because, first of all, I am no luckier than he is.

And second of all, I thought it wasn't about luck.  It's about good choices, right?

Finding the perfect mate is a talent.  Right?

No, I'm beginning to think that this premise is, at least, partially wrong.

Sure, skill does come into play slightly when we decide to spend the rest of our lives picking up after and finding new and interesting ways to nag someone to death. committed to building a life with someone else.

And yet. Yet, we can never be assured of how life will turn out.

We can never be 100% sure that all of the bends, turns and flips that life throws our way isn't going to change us.  Or them.

Most of the times, I end up surprising myself as to how I react to an entirely new situation.  To think that I could predict somebody else's behavior is an entirely ludicrous thought.

I can say without a doubt that every challenge in our past twelve years as friends and spouses to one another has clearly illustrated that my husband loves me, respects me and even admires me.  What a crazy, crazy man.

And his goodness was not guaranteed by my unparalleled skill of perception and insight into the human mind.

Some people call it luck.  I call it a blessing.  And I don't believe that God only bestows blessings on the people that supposedly deserve it.  He bestows blessings on everyone.  It's a sign of his mercy.

Not that I don't deserve a kind and loving partner.  Of course I do.  Of course we all do.

I get caught up in the places where we diverge.  I worry about why we don't agree with each other more often.  I begin to feel like I'm explaining every single little thing.  For example, is throwing the milk carton away when it's empty an act reserved for geniuses because I thought it was pretty damned obvious that you don't put it back in the fridge when it's empty?!!

I forget that divergence is as necessary as intersection.  If two people agree on everything, one of them is not necessary, after all.  Agreement may make life easier, but learning to respect a different opinion in a loving and kind way makes you a better person.

He's sunshine and summer.  Flitting from here to there like a chicken with his head cut off and on to the next adventure before the final moments of the last one are completely gone.

I'm a quiet and overcast day.  Slowly absorbing every color, every sound, and always needing that quick shove that ensures that I will actually live life in between the hours that I ponder its meaning.

The world needs the sunshine and clouds to be perfect, and we need each other.

I will never be ashamed of needing him, and he has never been ashamed to need me.  We do deserve each other, but that doesn't make us any less lucky blessed.

Yeah.  We're cool.  I know. Yeah. We're cool.  I know.

And, this is has nothing to do with Valentine's Day.  I don't need Hallmark to remind me to tell my husband how great I think he is.

Thank.  You.  Very.  Much.

Unless, dear, you're willing to accept this as a gift.  Then, Happy Valentine's Day.  Belated.