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.
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.