This last year has been beautiful, blessed, and colourful! Around this time last year, we welcomed home the little light of our lives. My mom crossed the globe to help with our post-partum recovery. We adjusted to our new life as parents and fell in love with Allah (God), life, and our little family all over again. We watched Lil’ Z grow, blossom, and become such an amazing little being.
We officially settled into Oman as our new home and came to realize that we are in the right place for right now. We’ve connected with wonderful people who accompany us on this common path of life. We spent a fun summer vacation, rippin’ and runnin’ all over the place introducing our families to our daughter and reintroducing ourselves as her parents. We started family traditions that we hope to continue. We reconnected with dear friends and rediscovered them through their children. And, to top it all off, Urbndervish’s mom crossed the globe to spend Lil’ Z’s first birthday with us.
Our hearts are full right about now. Of course, the year had its fair share of challenges but in the end, we were shaken; not stirred. 😉
One of the most telling features that distinguish this past year from those previous is how different life is with a child. Parenting is not for the selfish! We’ve actually found that the more selfless we are, the more things seem to fall into place. Some call it “attachment parenting”, I call it grace and “keeping the peace”. We give a lot to Lil’ Z- not materially but in every other sense of the word. We give her a lot of love, engagement, and room to foster her independence. We reserve our “no’s” for matters of importance, even when it’s inconvenient. We’re liberal with our “yes’s”, even when clean-up will naturally ensue, just for the sake of her learning and experiences. Walking this path ain’t easy but it sure is fulfilling!
I can’t help but think of times when I romanticized and idealized the life of a single parent. When I traveled to Guatemala in 2001, I vividly remember the sight of a woman. Her long locs were tied high above her head. She wore a black tank top, comfy cargo pants, and rugged sandals. She had a huge backpack on her back and a front carrier holding precious cargo- a beautiful, blonde, baby boy. While my group sat confused, surrendering our passports and destinies to our group leaders, this woman arrived with confidence and surety about her destination. She passed through customs with ease and headed outdoors to a car awaiting her. To me, she seemed so strong, so fierce. She was a mother but she was still backpacking, traveling, and moving around in her own right. Motherhood didn’t seem to slow her down one bit!
I used to think that I would be a similar mom- out and about, seeing the world with a child I picked up at some point during my travels. I wouldn’t have to fear being heart-broken or trusting someone, I would just rely on me, myself, and I. My child would be as close as my best friend and we would be inseparable. While many people find themselves parenting solo, I’ve come to realize that is not a preferred route- at least not for me. To parent as a team has proven to be critical and sustainable to me. Despite how strong I may perceive myself to be, I’m so glad that I’m not parenting Lil’ Z alone! I believe that we are more whole parents for Lil’ Z because of how our union nourishes, inspires, and replenishes us. During our weak moments, we are more than a relief to each other; we are reminders, we are supporters, we are best friends. We’re glad to have Lil’ Z but we’re glad Lil’ Z has us too. By no means are we a perfect “us”, but we’re here. We love Allah, we love our child, and we love each other- that must account for something, huh? 😉
While many forfeit family for adventure, we’ve learned that family is an adventure and that family enhances adventure. I used to have a laundry list of things I wanted to do before marriage and children and I’ve learned that neither are a hindrance to things I enjoy and love. When I reconsidered marriage plans because I wanted to travel overseas, a dear sister reminded me that having good companionship on my journey will make my life easier and help me reach my goals. She was absolutely right! May Allah reward her generously- ameen! We are living, sharing, and growing our dreams as a unit and we’re finding our place together on this vast planet. While we’re as imperfect as everyone else, we hope that our sincerity in trying to live a life of faith, fidelity, and fruitfulness will be a foundation for Lil’ Z so that she’ll build an even more beautiful future and family one day.