I dropped her off two weeks ago yesterday.  She left the next morning with her aunt and uncle and cousins.  They were heading west to meet my parents at the halfway point between their house and ours.  That’s not a quick road trip when you live in Texas.  They all had lunch together and stretched their legs and made their goodbyes.  She and one of her cousins climbed into the backseat of their grandparents’ car and continued their journey west.  My sister and her family turned around for the five hour drive back home.

Two weeks without a teenager in the house sounds like bliss during the Summer when you have four others living with you, too.  It’s not.  I am happy that she got to bond with her grandparents.  I am grateful that they took them to see such awesome and amazing natural sites of New Mexico and Arizona.  I am elated that my niece and daughter have had time together, away from their siblings and parents, to build that strong friendship and trust that cousins should have.  But the hole in my heart while she has been away has been difficult to deal with.

I love all of my nearly grown and grown children.  Each one has their own section in my heart.  I enjoyed spending time with my boys this Summer.  I learned that a lot of our conversations are interrupted by my daughters.  With only one daughter, the one who is usually blamed for these interruptions, I realized that it’s not only she who breaks into these moments with the boys.  I need to work on that.

I realized that my two girls, who fight daily because they share a bedroom, love each other to pieces and actually miss one another.  Randa slept in Samiya’s bed the first five days she was gone, just to feel close to her.  She had nightmares the last few days.  She kept getting out of bed, panicked, shouting, “Get in the car, Mommy!  It’s Samiya, trapped in a cave.  It’s save Samiya. Bring her home NOW!”  (She had seen the photos of Samiya and her cousin in Carlsbad Caverns from the second leg of their trip.)  Anxiety and Autism has a way of altering perspectives sometimes.  It took a lot of consoling and coaxing to convince her that Samiya was safe and back at Granddad’s house and that she would be home in just a few days.

Her brothers have missed her, too, although mostly as it relates to the frequency of their turns to wash dishes.  Ismail mentioned to me that he had been texting her throughout the two weeks.  Aiman had been talking to people they regularly game with online and talked to me excitedly about how Samiya had been promoted to a higher level on their team.  Mohamed talked with her, too, a few times by phone while she was gone.

But the person who has missed her most is her father.  He kept asking during the whole two weeks, “It’s long enough, right?” and when I told him that my sister planned to stay the night out there and come back Sunday, I could see his face fall just a little.  Then he said, “We should celebrate her coming back.  I’ll bring home chickens and you grill them on Sunday.  It will be a welcome home party.”  Daddy’s little girl personified.

Today, Randa will be pacing back and forth to the front door to check for her aunt and uncle’s car.  They drove out through the desert again to pick the girls up from Dad’s house.  And I will be washing and cooking and prepping for her return, trying to keep busy so I don’t jump out of my skin with excitement.  I missed my girl.



Mothers and Daughters

It’s been relatively quiet this Summer.  Mostly because the two youngest have been taking accelerated courses (Physics and Economics/US Govt) to get them out of the way for the Fall. The two older boys have been working and Randa and I have been sleeping in a lot and just hanging out.

But there are only two days left of Summer school and then Sam is off to visit her grandparents for a while.  And I’ll be lost without her.  The boys will either be working or sitting in front of their devices all day/night.  Randa will be here hanging with me like usual.  But our relationship is different than mine and Sam’s.  Randa’s is more physical with hugs or shouting, whichever she needs to do at the time.  I like Randa.  She likes me, most of the time.  But there’s that level of dependency and seemingly a boundary that isn’t crossed.  It’s not for a lack of wanting to be closer.  It’s just the dynamic of us.

Sam is actually more like a friend.  We have the mother-daughter relationship that is so close to friendship that we actually enjoy each other’s company.  It’s not just me wanting to hang out with her.  She actually enjoys being around me and has farted off friends to stay home with me.  I love that.  It’s the type of mother-daughter I longed for with my own mom but never really had.  I’m so happy that I have it with my daughter.

And I’m going to miss the crap out of her next week.

You Don’t Understand What It’s Like to Be Me

“You don’t understand what it’s like to be me!” shouted my

nearly 12 year old daughter when I told her she could not
sleep on the couch and instead had to sleep in her bed. Of
course I don’t. Just like I don’t understand what it’s like to 
be her nearly 13 year old brother or her 15 year old sister
or her 16 year old brother….or the 64 year old doorman to
our building. 
I understand that she’s beginning her journey through “Put-
upon-ville” and she won’t arrive to “Finally-got-a-clue City”
until she’s already visited “Whaddya-mean-I-can’t-wear-
make-up Falls” and “But-all-my-friends-are-doing-it-burg.”
There’s like a whole road map of teen angst that she’s yet
to travel. Yeah, and I’m so looking forward to it. That and
a root canal sans anesthesia. 
I can’t blame her for my boredom with her particular road
trip through Hell. It was MY choice to have 3 teenagers 
before her and another one after her. I guess THIS would
be the reason for that whole “spacing” concept when it comes
to having children. Yeah. The light bulb finally came on and 
I get it now…a day late and a dollar short.
But that’s fine. I’m in it now. And I’ll be grateful when it 
passes and they’ve all….errrrrrrrrr…..WE’VE all made it 
through the teen years and the whole family has become 
human again. And then I’ll start planning my revenge. 
I’ll take lots of vitamins and herbs, like echinacea and garlic
and St. John’s Wort. I’ll eat right and exercise and live to 
be 147 years old and get Alzheimer’s and wear adult diapers
and dribble on my chin when I eat. And they’ll all be argu-
ing about whose turn it is to take Mom this month. HA!
And in my head I’ll be laughing the last laugh and I’ll tell 
each one in turn, “You don’t understand what it’s like to be

Bright Spots in My Day Today 4

So, here’s my other beautiful daughter, Samiya! She’s 11 years old and sharp as a tack. She makes straight A’s and loves to read and write and play word games with me. She’s definitely in the genius range on the I.Q. chart and I do not say this only because she’s my kid. She’s got the makings of a rocket scientist or a neuro-surgeon. Of course, she also loves people and wants to be a mom when she grows up but as to any career choices, she remains undecided. I’m just saying she’s smart enough to write her own ticket.

Could be she’s going to be a guitarist…she has a deep love for music. She’s also quite athletic and definitely owns the goal when playing soccer with her brothers and some of the younger boys on our street. When the big boys come, though, she sits out. “They always aim at my face, the jerks,” she complains. Samiya is for the most part, a pretty good girl. But not unlike her siblings, she’s got quite a streak of ornery in her. The difference between her and Ismail or Aiman is that she is also a bit sly. I remember walking in on her when she was 4 coaching Aiman to stand on the dining room table and dance. When I cleared my throat she looked right at me and said, “Mommy, look what Aiman is doing! Are you going to spank him?”

“Yup. Right after I spank you!” She yelled YIKES and took off to the bedroom to hide under her bed.

Samiya is our resident “news anchor” and we have a running joke about her becoming the youngest correspondent for Al-Jazeera or CNN. Does she tattle? You betcha. We’re working on that, though. And she’s trying hard to quit. Samiya is also sweet and helpful. She sometimes will go clean out one of her brothers’ closet or make everyone’s bed just because she felt like it. Talk about your random acts of kindness! She helps me to clean house every Friday while the boys are at the mosque for Juma’a (Friday)
prayers. She knows how difficult it is for me to keep up with the housework alone during the week while
all of the kids are buried under homework and studies. So we sweep out the house, change the bed linens,
hang clothes, dust and scrub out the bathrooms while the boys are out from under our feet. She’s quite a

Samiya and Aiman have the same voice pitch and sometimes she will fake like she is Aiman and start making noises or singing loudly in order to get him into trouble with me. The minute I yell, “AIMAN! BE QUIET!” I can hear her crack up laughing while I hear him do that, “UNNNHHHHHHH! IT’S NOT ME!” whine.
Rotten girl. Samiya is tough as nails and has actually laid me out with a right cross during a kick-box lesson from me. I was trying to teach her the right positioning to land a right cross and got just a little too much “in her grill” and she got me right across the jaw and knocked me to the ground. Then she turned all girl on me and started that high pitched squealy nervous laugh combined with “I’m sorry, Mommy! I didn’t think it would work.”
OH it worked baby. She rocked my molars. I love this kid beyond belief. She’s definitely a light in my life.