Monday, April 27, 2009

On Family

3/27/09, Abu Dhabi

Today I missed my family-not even in a collective way-but each one during separate moments. I thought about my mother as I prayed jummah at the mosque in Abu Dhabi today. What was it about the khutab about youth, the garden of heaven and the mamluks that reminded me of her? I don’t really know. Maybe it was seeing all the women there together that stirred an emotional reaction from me…probably my subconscious sneaking in a wake dream from a thought earlier in the morning. As I was getting ready for the mosque today, I thought about how khalo insisted that I say hi to mom, in the same way that my ummo, Allah yarhumwho, on his deathbed emphatically reminded dad that he had a good wife. It made me think, my mom is a good woman, and I need to honor that. She was put through hell with her extended family and her own family, her brothers and sister don’t understand her. I am very lucky to have my mother.

Hatta, I even really missed my dad last night and I can’t recall when it was, but I know it was a specific trigger that engendered a specific thought. And as I was watching home videos with ummo's family in the family room after lunch, I thought about his namesake, my brother. One of my cousins explained that when his dad even tried filming his brother back in la during the break, he wouldn’t listen as he was too distracted by the laker game. Then I said out loud, “well, yeah, they are obsessed. They watch every Laker game that is on.” That’s when I thought about the organic ritual that sprouted out from a skyview lane family room: all of the family gathered around our cloth covered leather coaching, dad on in master sofa with ottoman attachment throne, my mom’s tiny frame squeezed into any available space in one of the two couches crocheting the same sweater from last year, my brother bobbing his head and body off of the couch- slinging their amateur commentary onto the flat screen. I thought about my brother’s reaction to a missed free throw or last second 3 pointer shot. I missed him deeply. And even talking to my sister on the phone earlier today-for as much as it was too much about my brother’s dubious life choices, I missed having her there. To run to her, to find someone who understood the lunancy of the situation and also one who really knew all dimensions of it.

 I missed middle brother as I explained to one of my male cousins about his hidden talents. As I write this, I think about a mantra that I promulgated to all on my trip: that boy, man, is the kindest hearted human I have ever known. This is not said lightly, in any respect. When you are around people 24 hour/7 much is illuminated and little of their character can be cast in shadows. I say this because I have been able to see parts of people in my life that were not too obvious before this trip. So, to confidently maintain this opinion about my brother is further corroboration of his benignity. 

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