Tomorrow’s Joy

huda

The division of labor in our household is wildly disproportionate whenever we are trying to get out the door. I get everything and everyone ready. If we're traveling, I pack. Picnics, I pack. Dinner invitations, I pick out everyone's clothes and prepare a dish to share. Birthday parties, I buy the gift and wrap it. And, maybe I'll throw in a load of laundry, take out the trash, and clean the kitchen. My husband, Hadi, has his list, too: He gets himself ready and loads up the car if I haven't … [Read more...]

What’s Your Name

Order Irene's new collection, the galaxy of origins. Scroll down for audio. what’s your namethe heavy chimes clot the hours in the air andmy blood asks, do bones carry future memories in their marrows?waiting for a face that is a mirror, I turn the page ofa tome that lists only my name my name my name.tonight each cicada sings its name, the only one it knows,and when I stepped out the door this morning and a chipmunkslammed into my shoe, it couldn’t remember its name for a mome … [Read more...]

The Heart’s Prosthesis

You were different.I don’t know if I ever told you that, but there it is. For you, I broke every self-imposed rule I’d ever created. They say the best kind of love is the one you never see coming, the kind that sneaks up on you so slowly that by the time you feel its presence, it has already burrowed deep inside the caverns of your heart that you didn’t even know existed.You were a surprise, a calamity that happened both slowly and all at once. You were different because you had enough fl … [Read more...]

Turn to Your Friends

Sanem and I took turns crossing the street to each other's townhomes for afternoon tea, at least once a week, for seven years. In our nearly identical kitchens, we put out similar spreads, a smaller tea pot steamed above a larger tea pot, honey-colored tea served in little glass cups, warm bread, an assortment of cheeses and jams, and cookies for our kids. Sanem was from Turkey, my family was from Iraq, and our tea rituals mirrored one another. While our children played in the upstairs bedrooms, … [Read more...]

My First Superhero

“What are you watching?This question from my father, as innocent as it seems, makes me lovingly cringe.“It’s a show Dad.”“Is it a movie?” he’ll say, sitting next to me on the sofa and squinting at the TV. More internal cringing.“No Dad, it’s a show.”“What’s it called?”Here’s where things get tricky, because A) some of the more nerdy shows I watch have weird names and B) my dad, as a rule, will always mishear the title. I can mumble or enunciate, it doesn’t matter. I call t … [Read more...]

Jump, Pray, Write

Two and a half years ago, I left my financially comfortable global marriage for an expired passport and economic uncertainty. It was the saddest and bravest decision I’ve ever made. The US economy teetered in the worst recession since the Great Depression. There was no alimony, and I had not worked in twelve years.The fear of “what ifs” loomed in monstrous proportions. I had no soft spots to land and no deep-pocketed family members to help me start over. Leaving meant leaping into a terrifying … [Read more...]

This is Peace, Too

When my husband, Hadi, and I lived in Guadalajara, Mexico, I volunteered at an internado for girls. It wasn't quite an orphanage. Most of the children had a parent or a grandparent who were unable to care for them due to poverty or addiction. I believed then that my motivations for volunteering were selfless. It had nothing to do with the loneliness of living in a foreign country or being away from family for the first time. I simply had time on my hands, and I wanted to make a difference.I … [Read more...]

Hidden Fractures

 When I was a child, Ramadan – like the life that stretched before me – seemed magical. Forbidden for the very young, fasting was a mark of adulthood, a rite of passage for which we were all too eager. You woke for the early morning meal with a sense of pride, keen to know what mysterious things adults got up to at this delicious hour.As I grew older, Ramadan became a time to pause life, a time for reflection as well as a time for community. Growing up outside of our respective ethn … [Read more...]

When Fairy Tales Fail Us

When a daughter is born into a loving family, she is cherished and treated like a princess and dressed up like pretty little doll with colorful plastic bangles and trinkets.The beautiful princess is told fairy tales before being tucked into bed. Her mother speaks about the knights that saved Cinderella, Rapunzel and Snow White. Then, this little girl begins to dream of her very own Prince Charming and she starts looking for him as soon as she turns sixteen years old. Some girls get lucky and … [Read more...]


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