It’s Not Just About You

Amal sheparding Lil D on the beach

The only thing predictable about autism and Lil D in our house is that it and he are unpredictable. You can say that about life in general. It’s not a unique characteristic owned by autism or my child in particular. And yet, it is unique to us in its manifestation. We met with Lil D’s speech and occupational therapists last week at school at my request to discuss some things we want to change/try with his assistive communication device (his iPad), as well as figuring out a plan to help … [Read more...]

We Keep Planting Seeds of Change

Five K_family

There are two stories to tell, unrelated, yet related to each other. A high and a low. Prayers answered and things gone horribly wrong, all in the span of 48 hours. Autism is a relentless, fickle and surprising master. But there is one greater master. The past two months around my home was a lead up to Memorial Day weekend and the Autism Society of Central Virginia 5k – an annual run/walk that is this organization’s biggest fundraiser. I’ve been involved with this organization for a few … [Read more...]

For the Love of Their Grandchildren

Daanish spinning beads on flag (2)

What would a parent do for their child? Anything. How far do we go for them? As far as it takes. What do we give up? Whatever we need to. What do we change about ourselves? Everything. When you add special needs into the picture, then your ability to go the distance for your child becomes the stuff legends are made of. And, there are no thanks necessary – it’s just what you do. I have quit jobs, stayed up nights on end well beyond the baby and toddler years. I’ve driven thousands of … [Read more...]

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

miss-you

Growing up, I can only recall one time when my parents left us in the care of a babysitter. Part of it was where we grew up (in a small Midwestern town away where there wasn’t much by way of entertainment). Another part was just how my parents were – more of homebodies who just weren’t inclined to leave their children. They didn’t seem to have a lot of complaints or difficulties, even when I ask them now, when it came to our upbringing. Were we easier kids to parent than our own … [Read more...]

Seeking Family Togetherness – RV Style

RV_kids

The scene playing out behind me captures a portrait of what our family is – Muslim, American, autism, multi-generational, nuclear, supportive, tolerant, innovative, and just a little crazy. Amal is up in the loft, reading a Roald Dahl book. Dadabba (the children’s paternal grandfather) has his topee on and is reading the Quran. Dadima (paternal grandmother) is lying down and resting. Hamza is playing with his cars, husband is driving the rig, and I am co-piloting. Lil D? He’s got two … [Read more...]

The Hardest Hajj Lesson of All

Dilshad-and-Kids1-300x199

I sit at the dinner table and watched my kids eat. Lil D, grasping a big body pillow in his left arm (that’s his thing these days – he walks around holding a pillow, sometimes two, so he can plank at will), plowing through his kichiri-keema . Amal, all smiles because Lil D is eating dinner at the same time as her. And Hamza, trying to finagle his father’s phone to play Angry Birds as he finishes his meal. These kids of mine. If I could just pause this moment and live in it forever … [Read more...]

Dating Life Again

pool

There comes a point when you’re coming through a tough, tough time, and even though things aren’t exactly easily manageable (forget great, or even really good) yet -- you decide that it’s time. It’s time to start dating life again. Because if you don’t start trying, you’ll never get out of your pajamas, make yourself presentable, get out of the house and become social again. As Ramadan came to a close last week and we neared the Eid-ul-fitr holiday, I made that decision. I chose … [Read more...]


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