MY DEAREST WALU, THIS PAST WEEK AND WEEKEND HAS FELT SO EMOTIONAL WITH SO SO MANY THOUGHTS & EMOTIONS RUNNING THROUGH MY HEART BUT NOT KNOWING HOW & WHERE TO START WRITING THEM DOWN.
You’re married! And you’ve moved to your OWN home omg! But the heartbreaking part that we weren’t there; I don’t know if that part will ever hurt less .. But Allah meant it to be this way.. We all are so emotional but life has made us practical too. And all of us felt it unfair for you and Faizan to not be able to begin your journeys just because family couldn’t come in (hoping we’ll figure out a way to celebrate this union when we’re all together inshallah)…
But despite the sadness of not being there physically (still so grateful we were able to watch and be there virtually).. watching the wedding and how everything came together, how absolutely beautiful you looked as a bride, and how beautiful our home looked; we now know that of all the locations we brainstormed for your shadi, NONE could have come close to our home; No other place but the home that papa & mama lovingly made for our family could be a better backdrop for your story to begin – for you to sign your nikah-nama .. and to step out of the house with Faizan for your rukhsati. Even if Papa wasn’t there, his presence was there… I know you must have felt it too..
You were still a baby, just 14 when I left home so basically half of your life, I’ve been a long distance sister. Isn’t that crazy? Can never forget the day you were born and how proud we felt as your big sisters despite originally wanting a brother named Momin hehe; your cuteness, your curly hair, your funny baatein and harkatein, they were such a golden part of our childhood memories; even now I repeat some of that and then tell Anya the background (Ataa tutu, bhaoo tutu). It almost felt like I was a second mommy to you; you’d sleep in my room and wake me up when your legs would hurt from growing pains during the night. And the way you’d come outside my closed door and whisper “taiya?” when I’d be locked in my room after a fight with mama-papa…
Being the youngest, the full house you grew up in was the only one you knew; and then I moved away & Nadiya moved away.. I’m sure those were hard years (there were so many difficult days in that time I remember), adjusting to a new normal, adjusting to the moves, new schools & new lives.. You had to grow up a lot through these years; but you never lost your fun-loving spirit and the smile on your face, or in your voice every time we talked. You didn’t complain.. never made us feel like we left you alone after all those years of being there. You let us go, let us build our own lives in our own little worlds. And every year I visited to find you a little more grown-up, a little more wise, “mama-papa’s special confidante” version of yourself..
I have so many little memories from those trips, happy + sad ones but I will always cherish that time we would spend, just you and I together! And then Anya came along. In an instant you knew how to be a khala, how to love and mother and play and be there even even as that coincided with Papa’s sickness and the world you knew falling apart. Your true strength became obvious in those days as you stood alongside Mama finding out the news of Papa’s illness and through his illness and his passing. Cannot thank Allah enough that we were all able to be there in that time even if I wasn’t much help physically with a baby to tend to. We watched how Papa was in such good hands with you and Nadu and it amazes me even now how you both just stepped in a role that was so unfamiliar before; and with such maturity and strength. Saying goodbye to you and mama in that time after papa’s passing was probably the hardest of mine & Nadiya’s lives. That time changed all of us but within months we saw you grow up in front of our eyes. And as we left you & mama, I think we knew you both would be each other’s strength and be okay..
These last 7 years of the most amazing times we’ve had in mama & your home have made Anya FALL IN LOVE with Pakistan (literally. She does not know anything else). While Nadiya coming back was tragic to begin with, it made this whole phase of life so so amazing. After our time together in Wah, I think this phase and the memories from this time will be ones we’ll never ever forget. Such a happy time it’s been watching Anya fall in love with her khalas, her walu khala, nadu khala, being spoilt by her nani and baray nani nana… those lazy afternoons, doing the most normal & random of things together and yet they become things we miss the rest of the year. Watching you become mama’s side-kick and nana-nani’s secretary has been so beautiful. And the way nani & nana jaan count / counted on you & the way you help them with their issues has been one of my favorites.
Your face alongside Papa’s (in those early years) & Mama’s and later Nadu’s became the constant that I look for, that Anya looks for every time we reach Pakistan and the one we keep looking back at as we say our hellos & goodbyes at the airport every year. That last day and that last drive and that last hug – there is always you in those memories. How funny it is that for the first decade of our family’s life you weren’t even there but then you came and there was never a going back. Walu became symbolic for Papa & Mama’s home and mama’s home without Walu is hard to imagine.
I know it will be different now but we’re so happy for this different. You got used to so many “differents” and we all have and will inshallah! This different we are so so excited about, to make new memories, in your home and in this new phase of life inshallah.
You’ve come so far my baby & you make us so proud! This journey hasn’t been easy but you’ve kept going with a brave face & Allah truly rewards patience – You’ve found someone with an equally brave soul and an aura that matches yours. We cannot thank Him enough for choosing Faizan for you. May you both always remain each other’s strength and happy place. I cannot stop thinking how we kept pushing you towards marriage, telling you to be ready to compromise, how one can’t get everything one wants .. and you fought us on that, listened to your heart, believed there COULD be perfect (or something close to it) .. You believed everything was possible for Allah & He showed us the power of having faith.
May you always remain humble, kind, grateful and the ray of sunshine that you are to everyone around you. May Allah bless you with all of the happiness & comfort and blessings with Faizan that you deserve and may you be the reason for his always.
With love, Your Taiya.