As narrated by Immy:
It was the perfect weather for a lazy Sunday. Sunny, with hint of cold in the fresh winter breeze. We were spending the day at Riza and Laeeka’s place for a braai and chill out. While the ladies were catching on the large veranda, us guys chilled out with all the kids in the backyard under the tall oak tree.
Sprawled across the woven grass mat lay Nemo, fast asleep while Riza and I sat in the sandpit under the jungle gym. Hana seemed to be having a lazy day herself, slouching in Riza’s arms with her pink sunglasses perched on her cute little nose while she dug her tiny toes into the sand. Reez doted on her completely, from the day that she was born and she loved him back with all of her tiny little heart.
The boys were wreaking havoc on the jungle gym and I sometimes wondered how we were ever related to such monsters! Maariah would probably shoot me if I said that aloud!
Arshad and Zainab, were at some therapy session and would be joining us later.
“Who does therapy on a Sunday anyway? “, I asked aloud
Riza looked in the direction of a sleeping Nemo and chuckled.. ” do you even want to know? ”
I grinned to myself thinking about the way Arshad told us about his breakfast the other day. They were fighting over everything, from the blanket to the towels to the single plate in the kitchen!
Apparently Zainab was so irritated with Arshad’s over dramatic insistence of using the plate that she was eating in that she shoved his sunny side up egg and toast into a cup and handed it to him!
We were beyond killed when Arshad told us about it !
And even though it sounded disgusting, he ate it!
“Maybe Nemo should move back into his flat and give these two a push” , Riza laughed
Hana laughed through her daze and made us laugh too!
“We’re right aren’t we Hana poppy? ”
“Aggggeeeeee” , she laughed again
And then… then there was another lot of subtle laughter behind us…
Adnaan, Uthmaan, Isa and Yahya were busy painting Nemo’s face!!! And it looked bloody nasty!
“Shhh.. leave them Immy , they can never play with him otherwise”, Riza chuckled
It was common knowledge amongst all of us, and we didn’t mind much, but Nemo seemed to be sort of scared of our boys and didn’t play with them much. So let them have their way today atleast.
Nemo flinched a couple of times and the boys held their little hands to their mouths to suppress their laughter! I couldn’t resist, and clicked away. This should be epic!
Shuffling and mumbling in his slumber, he did the darndest thing! He rolled off the mat that he was lying on, straight onto the dry grass causing all of us to double cringe!
With the grass stuck onto the still wet paint, he began rubbing his hand across his face and we couldn’t hold it in anymore . All of us were cracked and burst out laughing!
” Where’s the fire where’s the fire?!?!? ” , Nemo shouted in shock
I fell backwards and so did Riza with a happily shrieking Hana on his lap!
“What’s wrong guys? “, Nemo asked, looking like The Mask and The Boogeyman in one!
As narrated by Riza:
All five kiddoes were sitting around in a circle with the three of us . It was such a beeeeauuuutifulll day and it was only going to get better!
The kids were still giggling every few seconds about Nemo’s incident, causing him to roll his eyes at them.
It was amusing enough to see how cutely he behaved with Hana and it was hilariously cute to see how he behaved with the boys!
” Uncle Naeem “, Adnaan asked , ” why are we staying at your house? ”
“Because you’re on a holiday champ” , Nemo winked , while feeding Hana. He had no idea that Adnaan was nothing short of a mini professor!
“And you’re staying with Dada and Dadi? ”
“Why? “, he asked cutely
Nemo raised his eyebrow and looked up at us..
” Because I’m on a holiday ”
“But you’re so big to go for a holiday”
“So big.. I’m not so big”, Nemo laughed
Lol.. Adnaan hadn’t tackled Nemo before!
“You are big! Look at you and look at me Uncle Naeem and Aarala always says that you have a very big nose and she is right you know”
“Who is Aarala??”, Nemo asked, slightly bewildered
“You knowwww, Hana’s mommy. You don’t know her name but I see you talking to her all the time, that is just really bad manners Uncle Naeem”
Nemo was stunned. “Ay this lighty talks too much man”
“What is a lighty? “, Adnaan asked innocently
“Lighty is a boy” , Nemo replied, trying to stay calm and Immy and I bit our lips to control the laughter that wanted to burst through us any second now…
“Boy is boy.. How can lighty be a boy? ”
Nemo was now flabbergasted! “Ask Immy”
Haha clever !!!!
We spoke randomly while Nemo continued feeding Hana and once he was done, a strange and beautiful thing happened…
Now picture it. This chubby and adorable 10 month old with a mop of curly black hair , sitting in Nemo’s lap , looking up at him happily and clapping her hands together.
Nemo’s eyes widened in happiness..
“What did you say? “, he asked in shock
Hana laughed in delight..
“Say papa again.. “, he pleaded gently
“Pa-pa”, she repeated
Nemo looked up at us teary eyed. It was a bittersweet moment…
“Papa papa” , she clapped her hands gleefully
“Shhh… your mother will kill me if she hears that”, Nemo said as he tried to swallow the lump in his throat
Twelve years ago who would have thought that we would be sitting here like this… A lot changes but some things, like the feeling of mutual happiness… remained consistent.
Later on, Arshad and a very quiet Zainab joined us. It was a little awkward because the last time that these two were here, they had this mini bust up. But eventually, everything and everyone settled. Even Aara was smiling, and that was so good to see.
It was time for our big announcement, so I cleared my throat and finally got everyone’s attention.
As narrated by Aara:
I watched Hana fall asleep in Nemo’s arms as we sat around the fireplace. The boys were busy in the playroom and we were all just so finished after over eating a hearty braai. When everyone sat around like this, it made me miss him more…
I shrugged the thoughts out of my mind and willed myself to be happy again. He would have wanted me to be happy, to smile, to live no matter how difficult it was.
And everything was settling into place.. falling into place slowly again. A new meaning had emerged , friendships were restored and reaffirmed, relationships were trying to mend themselves and it was good, it should be this way. Life is too short.
I had something to say to everyone tonight , something that I was currently very passionate about and I was going to do it no matter what any of them said.
But as I opened my mouth to get their attention, so did Riza… Lol… And I let him go first
“We have some very good news to share”, he said, with his arm around Laeeka
And then he just stopped and looked at her. It was little moments like these that just sort of froze in time. It made life a little more livable, it made hardships a little more bearable and my heart made a silent dua for their happiness…
” We are having a baby”
I wasn’t the only one who was surprised, everyone else was too! Did it mean that they were adopting again or…
“Laeeka is expecting”, he smiled, guessing the question on all our minds
” OH MY GOD”, I said aloud this time, “seriously.. like seriously seriously? ”
Laeeka nodded with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face and melted all of our hearts
Zainab, Maariah and I hugged her tightly. This was so unbelievable! Laeeka and Riza cried tears of joy in sheer happiness and elation and we were all so totally and completely overwhelmed.
This was nothing short of a miracle. When the whole world says no and Allah says yes there’s no stopping it. My closest friends were being rewarded for their patience and this wonderful news seemed to have lit up my life, and silently reinforced my decision.
What I wanted to do couldn’t possibly be wrong..
“Now for your news Aara”, Laeeka smiled
” Okay first promise me that you guys won’t shoot it down because I don’t want any negative thoughts please ”
They gave me very skeptical looks and I wanted to laugh.
“Please man, it’s not something hectic but I just need your support”
After a few okays and alrights, I proceeded..
“I have been chatting to Maaherah recently and ummm…I think I want to go to New Zealand for a while…I need to do what Zoheb wasn’t able to and what he always wanted to do…I need to make a place in his family, for me, for Hana, for him…”
Ramadaan Mubarak people! Hope that you have a blessed and beautiful Ramadaan , please make the most of this wonderful month!
Please remember me in your duas:)
I shall be back Insha Allah on 08/07/2016
Until then, be good, be safe and oh, do think about me when you make dhaiwaras;)