A Journey of the heart <3

My heart has been on a wonderful journey. Something makes me feel like the destination was destined. In so many ways, I can see these wonderful connected events over the last few years as to how this trip, that my family and I have been on, happened.

My husband and I were privileged to have been able to go for Hajj in 2014. Hajj is the major pilgrimage that all muslims try to go for at least once in their lifetime (if they can afford to). Our boys were quite small at the time and the daunting idea of leaving them for 5 weeks was the most difficult guilt to bear while on this spiritual journey. They filled every thought and every prayer and somehow they were very much with us then.

On coming back home from this miraculous place and blessed journey you long to return as soon as the plane touches down. Visiting places like Makkah, Madinah, Arafat, Mina and Muzdalifah during the time of Hajj is exceptionally emotional as well as sacred. This most spiritually charged and blessed place draws you in like no other experience, it’s almost as if you have left a part of yourself in these places where you began, where your whole story started.

Yes, our Hajj journey was amazing and yes, we had experiences that have etched into our hearts but it’s still needless to say that the separation from the boys during Hajj was difficult for us and for them. The boys clung to us for months after afraid we might ‘go on Hajj’ again, they made us promise over and over to never leave them. Oddly enough, before 2014 we did go on couple trips overseas and travelled a bit, leaving the kids at granny’s every now and then but after we just never really did. They have had some sleepovers and little trips without us but it was with them wanting to, we haven’t really initiated long periods of time away from them.

For my husband after this momentous life changing Hajj, the burning desire to return to Makkah and Madinah was attached to his children and it became a want collectively for all of us. Umrah is the non-compulsory spiritual trip that is a mini version of Hajj. Of course, over the last four years we have had some family holidays, mini breaks and trips. All have been needed and welcome as rewards during the year but nothing big. Somehow this year we were thinking of a trip to go on but everything seemed impossible, either timing or way too expensive for a family of five. One day we received a note from school talking about a potential Umrah trip, it encouraged parents to accompany their kids. It was promoted as educational and boasted reduced rates. It seemed almost too good to be true. We didn’t really take it seriously but the idea of going for Umrah this year was formed. Unbeknownst to me, my husband made some enquiries and after doing some finances it actually seemed possible?

And so the wheels started turning and plans started being made for a journey that started in many ways years ago. It was all connected, destined and meant to be. Subhanallah. How else would we have decided to go if not for this little note from school. This trip cannot be described, the whole experience (as with anything) is what you make of it and we made the most of it. Umrah is a spiritual trip but it is also fun and joyous and allows for bonding like no other with whomever you are accompanied by. You make friends forever. You disconnect from the craziness that is life as you know it. You actually truly connect with God, yourself, your husband, your kids! It was filled with belly laughs (my kids are sooo funny), ice-cream for days… like literally daily! Dramatic moments where someone got lost (namely me), the beautiful sight of the Kabah, the serenity of Madinah, the picnic meals on the bed and other wonderful memories that is ours to keep and cherish forever.  sometimes just walking the streets of these holy destinations invokes reflection and realisation, your consciousness is awakened and you are able to experience emotions in the most authentic way. Our lives have been forever enriched, being there is like being in a dream, being back is like a dream coming true, you never really think it will happen and then it does.

Alhamdulillah a thousand times, and a thousand times more. Blessed. Happy. Content.

Spring! into Action…

It’s the Southern Hemisphere, it’s springtime, it’s my birthday month, for me it feels like there is change simmering as the summer sets in.

So here’s a couple of things that might sound like cliches but that actually can invoke change! These small things might change you a little, or just offer some new perspective after these dreary winter months…. This is what I plan to do, maybe you like some of my ideas and we can do it together #springisintheair.

Spring cleaning…

Ok I have to admit that in winter I am miserable most of the time … I tend to hibernate, curl up under the blankies and just plain moody. Generally, we moan about things, the weather, the flu, the amount of layers we have to wear and frankly I don’t get anything done. I postpone and procrastinate to no end …. perhaps the cold just doesn’t agree with us(me). This maybe causes me to fester and feed off of negative energy, perhaps hold grudges and possibly hang on to every injustice ever perpetrated against me, ever.

Instead of just spring cleaning the house and changing the sheets, let’s change it up and let go of some of those things. Focus on what’s real and what’s in front of us and stop daydreaming about what will never be, or worrying about things you cannot change. I am going to go back to basics. Islam teaches us that what we want but don’t have now might still be waiting for us somewhere in the future… or perhaps was not good for us in the first place… so I am going to stop plotting against the perpetrators 🙂 and listen to Elsa.

Elsa from Frozen validly to told us to ‘Let it go’, little girls (and big ones) sing this song with gusto but now as I think about it she definitely has a point and maybe we should embrace it, and if by some chance people have truly troubled you and burdened you and its seems like you’re in an endless battle with no reprieve The Beatles told us to ‘Let it be’ When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me 
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

This is just a way or a reminder to shake some of those things off and begin anew. I think the time is now …to let go and let be.

Spring Wardrobe Refresh ( or rather revival)

We are naturally drawn to aesthetics. We like shiny, pretty, youthful, elegant, gorgeous things. Literally, a wardrobe can change your life. Definitely sounds superficial yes? But I don’t mean in a let’s go and shop for the most trendiest brands and expensive designer wear. I’m saying looking at what you have with fresh eyes. You can look smarter, or younger, or trendier, or maybe older, more mature than you are.

I recently binge watched the series Younger where the main character really pulls off being 27 despite being 41. The only real change was her wardrobe. Maybe some lingo here and there. Perhaps, an upgrade in some social media skills and some ‘withit’ concepts and there you have it a 27 year old. I really wondered what it would be like to go back and do some of it again… but then I realized I wouldn’t be doing it again because all of it has happened and led to who I am now…

In my case people are still always shocked at my 3 kids and the question ‘When did you start?’ is often asked. 😉 I seem to look everything between 20 something to 30 something and beyond. I guess my ‘agelessness’ for lack of a better term is because I am relatable. Maybe it’s fueled by my interest in things current and maybe my younger siblings always also help to keep me in the know. But sometimes we feel down and in the dumps… because of all our problems, we think we should be doing more, have better careers and nicer houses. I am definitely not the same, my life, my family, my friends, my experiences all have to be appreciated because it’s how I got here…

So stop thinking about what should be and definitely don’t mope about where you are in the life. Use the change in season to change your perspective. Overall, you are fabulous! Fish out a favorite pair of shoes from your closet and wear those heels. Find something colourful… Personally, I love matching different things and can’t wait to get into my summer clothes, all those patterns, florals and funky combinations. Pack away those coats and dreary colours. Dress for you. Dress in clothes that make you feel happy. Just use what you have to dress a little differently… but at the same time think it out loud. Do it to feel young, or refreshed, or joyful and just give yourself a boost to spring into action every day!

Springing around town…

I generally like people and socialising but when winter sets in it makes me a recluse. I want to be indoors, in my pj’s and with some yummy snack by my side as I indulge in some series or glued to some book. I say no to every invite that comes my way and just the thought of having to go anywhere was upsetting. Now that the warmer weather is coming in… I feel my social side coming alive again. I also feel the energy, good vibes and positivity it can bring. We feed off each other. Our auras and energy speak to each other. So being apart of things and interacting with people who are positive and want to cherish life is uplifting. So go out there and grab every moment. Plan a picnic or a hike. Go on holiday. Have lunch with the girls. Connect with the people closest to you. You might be surprised at the love you receive in return.

From babies to astronauts…

You blink and they’re 8, you blink again and they’re 20… there’s a couple of these messages in memes and inspirational Instagram posts urging us to cherish every moment because it all goes so fast. I have 8 year old twins, and an 11 year old going on 21 😉 I swear I don’t know when this happened!

They are so cool and with-it, with opinions, playing fortnite online, expressing how ‘things blow their minds’, p.s. they are all comedians in the making … their wit, their charm and their sharpness is sometimes unreal. They are unbelievably quick in conversation and hilariously funny! They definitely get all this from their Dad. I wish I could capture all the moments and the humour that captures our hearts and store it for those rainy days to come, when they’re actually grown up and not around anymore because they’re out with friends.

Sunday evenings are always entertaining. There’s a mixture of euphoria over the weekend that was and despair over the school week ahead. This Sunday evening was particularly memorable we had just returned from a lovely lunch with the family. The boys love their little girl cousin who is just 2 years old. They were recapping the day and marvelling at how cute she is. Let’s just say, adorable just does not do justice to describe this precious little munchkin. We spent the afternoon watching them play and bond, we were collectively in awe over her counting skills and wonderfully amazed at her nursery rhyme abilities. It’s quite cute to hear my little people talk about other little people as if they were the adults!

So as we’re watching Carte Blanche, this is an investigative journalist television show that highlights current affairs and sometimes exposes people’s incompetencies. The interviewer is asking the interviewee some questions. I think it was some government official talking about recouping monies’ or something like that. Anyways, the person being interviewed was quite bad at articulating himself and he said something about getting it back, so one of the twins pipes in “When are you getting your english back!” I laughed out loud, I didn’t even realise that he was listening so intently to the interview.

My 11 year old is the king of sarcasm. I wore something really elaborate in colour the other day and I really wasn’t sure if it worked or if I could pull the colour off (it was a bit much, like a mustard, nobody can really do mustard, what was I thinking!) So I leave the room and cautiously walk down the passage to see if anyone would notice. And then he sees me:

Him:  “Wow Mom, gooood choice. Wow. I mean, WOW! It looks …wow.

Me: “Ok Ok boy relax I get it, you can stop now. I will go change.”

He continues, “No mom, no please don’t change, wear that, please go out like that, I dare you”

🙂

The previous evening while watching a marvel movie (superhero movies always win in our house) … Dad was really not into the movie because it was one we had watched a couple of times over … anyways Dad kept interrupting the movie with sarcastic comments about the superhero’s dialogue and generally making fun of the movie. The twins were not impressed and both got quite annoyed to the point where one says, ‘You know Dad, you’re really not that funny!’ So intensely and so seriously that I couldn’t help but chuckle quietly on the couch, while cringing a little.

Their minds are so unique. One of them can analyse and make a conclusion based on one sentence from conversation. My slightly older twin (by two minutes) is so adorably complex. He started a conversation with me this week…

Him – Mom, what do YOU think I will be when I grow up?

Me – Well, baby … I think you will be anything you want to, maybe an engineer?

Him – Well… I do like to build things… but Mom, I like so many things … it so hard to choose because I also want to explore (yes, he said explore) the oceans and I want to fly into space like an astronaut.

Me – Wow, you want to do a lot things! but guess what I think you can.

We are always amazed at their curiosity and creativity. One has always surprised us over and over again with elaborate LEGO designs, which we’re sometimes not sure what he has built. So I will say cautiously “wow what a cool spaceship, my boy” but then he will jump into an explanation “Mom, this is a pirate ship, that can convert into a rocket but with a trap door for a submarine?” Then we’re like what? Where did you even come up with that idea.

In these moments I have flashbacks to my adorable first newborn, fragile and innocent and a remarkable miracle baby. Then to my twin newborns overwhelmingly screaming for my attention or then my cute curly-haired toddlers running around us in circles … now they are conversing about current affairs, careers and are trainee comedians? Now they are not my babies. Possibly, my builder, my engineer in the making. My future astronaut. My potential ocean explorer.

All of them have these unique qualities that are wonderful bits of magic developing their personalities. I try to catalogue the moments and the memories created daily but there’s just so much I need to remember but probably take for granted. I want to bottle and store away everything! I hope I remember to remember… because honestly I don’t know where my babies have gone and when or how have they been replaced with three extraordinary little men in the making.