Send Thanks

Lil D making an “acorn” for Thanksgiving with his therapist.

Shukar bhejo, which literally means to “send thanks,” or less literally, send thanks to God – is an Urdu phrase that has been uttered to me by my parents and in-laws and by me to myself, my husband and kids – for as long as I can remember.

So this idea of giving thanks has never been harnessed to a single month or a day for me, which goes the same for so many around the world. Still, the Thanksgiving holiday is one I especially love, because although giving thanks is something I hope we can do all the time, a dedicated day filled with traditions of gratitude, family, friends and food is, for the lack of a better description, really, really nice.

Today two of my kids are home, as their Thanksgiving break has commenced. And I am grateful to be working in my pajamas with Amal and Hamza still in their pajamas being lazy around the house. I am grateful their cousins and my sister-in-law are coming over later to fill this house with chaos and love.

I am grateful my kids have grandparents who live with them, teaching them to read the Quran, playing with them, giving them a good balance between the Old School way of living and our fast-paced lifestyle of now. I am thankful of their gentle and loving example of living a good Muslim life, which is so beneficial to my children as well as to me.

I am thankful my husband has a great job that he is good at, where he is making a difference. I love our relationship and his dedication to his family.

And I want to say all that, because so much of my focus in this blog is on Lil D. And our life has so many parts and pieces to it beyond Lil D. But it always comes back to him, because God’s greatest and most difficult lessons, lessons I learn and lessons I badly struggle with and don’t understand, are manifested so often through him.

On this day, Amal and Hamza are home in vacation mode. Lil D is still at school His vacation starts promptly at 3 p.m. when he gets off that bus. He woke up around 6:15 this morning like he usually does, and by 7:30 he was out the door on the bus on this cold, rainy morning.

I sent him off and then went back into a quiet house, where Amal and Hamza were still sleeping. Lil D – off into the world, unable to speak for himself, working fiercely to navigate a world that struggles to understand him and his needs. A boy untethered to the trappings of this dunya (world), who sees things in ways unique to him.

I want to see things his way. I want to know what he knows. I want to feel what he feels. I want to love as he loves – if just for one day.

I give thanks for you, Lil D. Through you, God is teaching me lessons that I never would’ve learned otherwise. You show me what really matters in life. You teach me patience and strength; how to really appreciate the small, infinitely special moments in life. You teach me to let go when I want to hold on so very badly. And you teach me to hold on when I am about to lose myself to despair. You show me what real self-worth means, how very important compassion is and how to make a difference in this world.

You teach me that everyone has a voice, and we all deserve to be heard. My dear readers, Shukar bhejo.

About Dilshad Ali

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