Old Friend

Procrastinating, I checked my SPAM folder, telling myself maybe something got misfiled. One thing led to another, and soon enough I was browsing an Islamic education website – the children’s section of course. And then there it was – the familiar name that appeared as the author of a new charming children’s book. I looked at the name again and realized that it was my old friend who had moved away about a year after both of our first children were born -over seven years ago now.

Ours was an instant friendship really. My husband had come home saying that he had met a colleague who was also new to town, and perhaps I should call his wife and we could get together. This wasn’t so unusual – the suggestion that we make the connection with families he had encountered during our early days in this community. Looking back now, our success on this front was effortless in only two situations, and this was clearly one of them.

I picked up the phone, left a message and heard back from the sister within the day. The conversation flowed easily as we soon discovered that we had much in common – not the least of which was that we were both expecting for the first time, had due dates within days of each other, and were under the care of the same physician. We were also both discovering and scouting out the city we now called home.

To our husbands’ delight, I’m sure, we supported each other in the months to come and even more so once our daughters were born within a week of each other. As first time moms we were equally clumsy, but at the time, I remember thinking that she seemed so much calmer than I felt. While I always felt on edge, expecting my daughter to wake up and fuss any minute, she seemed to go about her day with more of a natural rhythm than I could pull off. Nonetheless, she had as many questions and tough days as I did, and we routinely bounced ideas and theories off of each other, using trial and error for much of that first year.

A few months before our daughters’ first birthdays, my friend and her husband shared with us the news of their move to a neighbouring city, only 2 hours away. I remember feeling disappointed that we would no longer be sharing the day to day, but expecting that our own friendship and that of our growing families’ would continue as easily as it had begun. I was right and wrong. We certainly have not lost touch – visits here and there, phone calls at Ramadan, Eid and subsequent births have maintained the relationship. What I was wrong about was the ease with which such a friendship is nurtured.

Remembering this special piece of history in my own and my daughter’s story, I turned away from the computer screen, reached for my phone book and flipped to my friend’s number. And this time, procrastination had nothing to do with it – I had some serious catching up to do – and a few books to order!

Mihad Fahmy

Mihad Fahmy is a London Ontario mother of three. She practices human rights and labour law and is always on the lookout for the perfect novel to escape into at the end of a busy day.

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