Holding on to ‘Himaat’ in Autism Land

strength

In Urdu there is a word called himaat, and the best I can explain it in English is to have courage, strength or fortitude -- to have the wherewithal to do something otherwise difficult. Or simply put, to have himaat means to have nerve.Himaat is a popular Urdu word, used by elder women and tragic Bollywood heroines alike – meri himaat toot gai. (My courage is broken.) Or, meri ku himaat nay hai. (I don’t have the strength to do …) As they have aged, I’ve watched both my mom and mother-in-law … [Read more...]

#MyJihad, for Two Children, is Anchored in Brotherly Love and Loss. What’s Yours?

Amir and Adam

Amir and Amal don’t know each other. But if they ever meet, they will discover how much they have in common. Amal is my nine-year-old daughter, who you have read about in this blog. She is my middle child, she is my hope, the coolness of my eyes, Lil D’s best friend and champion and fellow autism advocate/wrangler. Amir is the 10-year-old son of Angie Emara. Angie lost her four-year-old son Adam to Hunter’s Syndrome in 2009 and this year took her grief public with the #MyJihad campaign, decla … [Read more...]

The First Loose Tooth

first_loose_tooth_pic2_041511

Hamza came home from school crying yesterday. The cause? His first loose tooth.“Mamma, it’s hurting me!” he said, burying himself in my arms. I was amused, excited and sad at the same time. The last of my children had reached this precious childhood milestone – the first loose tooth.All of Hamza’s firsts are bittersweet for his father and I because he is our last child. We don’t plan on having any more children (although God knows best), as these three munchkins are quite enough for us. I … [Read more...]

Sometimes All You Can Do is Live in the Moment

Daanish and Baba

As the moments pass, as things happen, I can hear the words unfurl in my head. The sentences form and the emotions breathe life into the words in the time following any mundane or noteworthy thing happening in this life I live with Lil D, Amal, Hamza, husband, in-laws, Islam and autism.I watch Lil D link arms with his father or lean on the table next to him while he eats, anxiously seeking his undivided attention; or Lil D and I share a moment of intimate eye contact at the dinner table … [Read more...]

I Wish I Were an Only Child

Daanish and Amal

On Saturday night, when we were walking the lighted paths of our local botanical garden, taking in the beauty around us, my daughter announced something that millions of children have uttered before her:“Sometimes I wish I was an only child.”It kind of hit me hard.In retrospect, it was a mere blip on our family landscape – way worse things have been said, and I’m sure my kids have nursed much more hurt feelings then they let on to me. But she had never uttered those words out loud bef … [Read more...]

So Tonight That I Might Sleep

Daanish in bed

Hamza went to bed first, under protest as usual, clomping up the stairs, followed by his father. He always wants Baba to take him to bed. Lil D was already upstairs, bouncing up and down on his bed, so I figured my husband would take care of his bedtime routine, too.But Lil D came bounding downstairs into the family room, grabbed a big body pillow, and laid down on the floor. I glanced up at the clock. Only 8:30 p.m. He can have more time to wind down.Amal and I sat at the dinner table, … [Read more...]

The Epilogue – The RV Adventure and a Life Worth Living

Daanish on the RV

The kids are back in school and adults are back at work. And many parents with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) children are breathing a sigh of relief that they have survived another vacation. As for us, we returned our RV this morning, after clearing it out yesterday and removing all touches of the 2012 Ali Family Grand Adventure.Did we really do what we just did? It came and went so fast, and there was so much potential for disaster that it’s rather difficult to believe we are back. It is a … [Read more...]


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