Father of a Weirdo

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My son is a weirdo, and that depends hugely on your level of self-consciousness. He does weird noises when he is uncomfortable, he wears hats cause they make him feel safe, and he is obsessed with wearing pjs. They need to be included into our daily program, so if I were to say “first we go to the nursery, then mom will pick you up, and you will go home,” he will quickly reply “and I can wear my pf8de9d05b50fe9828313a4044fcda665ajama?”

If a drop of water comes on his t-shirt, including a tear if he were crying, he throws a fit to have it changed, cause anything wet irritates him, but he is obsessed with having baths, sometimes even twice a day, the irony I know! He doesn’t know how to deal with attention, so he makes sounds, faces, gestures and grunts in public. He is a 4 year old, acting like a 4 year old. I find myself at times pressuring him to stop acting like so, and the words leaving my lips, impulsively, are “stop that, or people will laugh at you”.

Reflecting back at my childhood, a lesson I learned sometime around high school, and one as old as the hills: trendiness is coinage in popularity Read the rest of this entry

The Sunrise

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A few days ago we returned from our annual, short, uninterrupted, family trip. It’s a trip we take around this time of the year, where it is only father, mother and children. No sights to see, no family to visit. This year we went to a resort that faces the Indian Ocean eastwards. A scarcity, since most Middle Eastern cities face the west or north. Waking up before dawn is common when the winter sun rises later, and especially since all five of us were in one room. We made our way to the beach to watch the sunrise, something that in my 32 years of life I saw only once some 14 years ago. For the rest of the day I took my children everywhere they wanted, and did anything they felt like doing. We slid down water slides and jumped over waves in the cold sea. We took a short boat ride, we played arcades in the kid’s area, we ate junk food for lunch and enjoyed sugary drinks poolside. Everything they wanted, we did.

For our children, this is considered somewhat of a big deal, since my wife and I try to raise our kids on what is less; of everything except emotion and attention, and quite honestly, for kids, what more do they need? Yes, this can dwell on the boarders of extremism, and perhaps knocks gently on the doors of stinginess, but generally speaking, those who have less in life are the ones that are happier Read the rest of this entry

Gaza on My Mind

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It’s been slightly more than a week since I cycled 4Gaza and I still dream of riding bicycles.

For three days we endured on our metal steeds, our helmets: visor less, our banners: Palestinian flags. Through rain, cold winds, and lush green fields, through wet asphalt roads, warm cozy neighbourhoods, and busy highways, we pedaled. It wasn’t in Gaza; but it was Gaza on our minds.

It’s been slightly more than a year since the attack on Gaza, and its children still have nightmares.

The last leg of the ride was a straight 45 km cycle from Gouda to The Hague. It was raining and the temperatures dropped below usual winter temperatures for most of the cyclers who were there from The Arabian Gulf. We didn’t have jackets on us, for we started out sunny that day. Soon enough we ran out of snacks, most ran out of water. How we felt was not important anymore. We had transpired beyond our physicality and into something grander. Read the rest of this entry

Mariam

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My grandmother and grandfather were half paternal cousins. On the day of my grandmother’s birth, her father sent a letter to my grandfather, Ismael, his half nephew informing him that he has been blessed with the birth of a baby girl whom he named Mariam. Ismael responded saying that he is to marry her when she comes of age and 14 years later they wed.

On the wedding day, Mariam was raised on a horse as was accustomed in 1930s Palestine, to be taken to the house of her husband. That tradition of a new bride riding a horse came with a certain condition – if any of her male cousins, upon seeing their cousin all adorned to be taken to her groom, decided in that instant that he wants her for himself, he can claim her and she would be taken off the horse; Read the rest of this entry