What is the Gift in All This?

Photo by DeAnna Nicole Photography

Sometimes the memories resurface with such veracity so as to take my breath away with the pain and utter helplessness I have tried to bury. Maybe we are not meant to forget our worst times. Maybe they are to be reminders so that we appreciate everything better that comes before and after, even when that better doesn’t seem good enough. I am sitting on our sofa in our family room settling in to watch some TV. The kids have gone to bed under protest. The house is quiet and I’ve turned the … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

An Eid without Lil D and Autism

Dilshad2

It was a pretty monumental end to Ramadan 2013 for our family, as we celebrated the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday here in Hyderabad, India, completing what was my first experience fasting and celebrating this Eid outside of the United States. My hands have mendhi (henna) on them, I ate more than my fair share of sheer khorma, and we met more family in one day on Eid than I ever have before. We managed to stuff the day with Eid prayers, Friday prayers, a stellar biryani lunch (natch) for any and all family … [Read more...]

The Fasting Project – Hopefully More Than Ramadan Tourism (List of Posts)

Ramadan meme_non fasters

If you scroll social media, read the plethora of Ramadan pieces out there or even spend time talking with fellow fasting Muslims, the majority of what you hear about the fasting experience is positive – yes, it’s hard, but Alhumdullilah (thanks be to God), it is going well. You’ll hear jokes for sure about the difficulties of getting up for suhoor (the pre-dawn, pre-fasting) meal or the mundane difficulties of fasting. (Ramadan breath anyone?) We Muslims also share a lot of quotes from … [Read more...]

An Autism Unbound from the Rituals of Ramadan

Autism puzzle

In no way is he part of any of our Ramadan rituals. He does not get up for suhoor, the pre-dawn, pre-fast meal, because he is not obligated to fast nor can he tolerate fasting. And, to disrupt his sleep so that he could just join us at that early part of the morning would be asking for major trouble. He does not read the Quran (But we read it to him. He is nonverbal and can’t read English, let alone Arabic, but he can repeat an approximation of the shahada). He does not stand with his … [Read more...]

Loved and Loved Back

Daanish and Amal_soccer

The whole family came out for Amal’s soccer game on Saturday morning – Lil D, Hamza, my husband and myself. I can’t remember the last time we all went to one of her games or one of Hamza’s games. All of us. The kids have been playing with the Ansars soccer league for four years now, and many of these kids have been with Amal on teams since they were five and six years old. Playing with the Ansars is one thing I have tried my best not to compromise for Amal, and now Hamza, even when … [Read more...]

Reflecting on the Holy Days, the Year of Autism, and One Resolution

Daanish smiling

Has it been a year already? Yes, one year has passed since witnessing the extraordinary miracle that united thousands in Central Virginia (where I live) to one singular purpose: Find the boy. Last year around this time, a young, nonverbal autistic boy – much like my own Lil D – disappeared on a family walk at a national battlefield park a half an hour away from where I live. As one day stretched into two, the police opened up their search to community volunteers, and thousands poured … [Read more...]


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