You are Enduring Love

Dilshad and Daanish falls shot

My darling boy,The sun is shining and the air is warm with the scents and sounds of a spring most awaited. You are swinging in the hammock in the backyard, spinning your beads on a twig with your hoodie pulled over your head and sunglasses perched on your face. God, you are handsome.It seems fitting that on today, World Autism Day 2014, we have come to a point in our autism journey where the path has played a cruel, cruel trick on us. Where there seems to be no alternate route, where the … [Read more...]

To Have and to Hold

Daanish bed

Last night after putting you to bed, after turning off the bedroom light and turning the closet light on and leaving the door ajar, after turning on your white noise machine, after uttering my usual nighttime prayer for you, after rubbing coconut oil on the lingering scars on your face and your consistently chapped lips, after covering you with your favorite heavy blanket and kissing your forehead, I left the room and shut the door.Throughout all this you said nary a word to me. You giggled, … [Read more...]

Finding His Calm

Daanish stuffed

What is the function of the behavior?I can’t tell you how many times special education teachers, therapists and behavior therapy experts have asked me that regarding why Lil D does the things he does and the way he does them. Friends and family will ask a different version of this question – What’s going on with him? Why does he do [fill in the blank]?I’m sitting with him in the basement watching him go through his current stages of retreat, which may or may not be accompanied by a full-o … [Read more...]

A Big Brother in Autism Land

Daanish_big brother

When I glance up at the clock from my computer, I see that it’s 5:30 p.m. Where does the time go? As many times as I’ve vowed to cook dinner earlier in the day so I’m not panicked to make Lil D’s 6:30-7:00 p.m. dinner deadline, inevitably it comes down to the last hour.I click my laptop shut and move two feet into the kitchen and get to work. Lil D is out with his therapist on one of his CBI outings (community-based instructions), and I’m pretty sure Amal is in the dining room finishing her h … [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 things get … [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 …The miles … [Read more...]

Realizing How Good We’ve Got It

give thanks

It has always been a pet peeve and a weakness, of mine that when things are especially tough for my kids (and  consequently for me), one of the ways some try to provide comfort is by reminding me of all the difficulties others are dealing with around us, and reminding me of all we have to be thankful for. It’s the “there are others who are way worse off than you” method of comfort.I am coming off bad by admitting this, but there are times when this line of thinking just doesn’t cut it. It is … [Read more...]


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