A photo story of Anya’s “dadi home” from over the years

For years after Anya was born, we would spend a couple months during the winter in Pakistan with our families – around 3 weeks of these would be with my mother-in-law in Bahawalpur. I’ve written about it after she passed away..

There was this calm and sense of much-needed peace I always felt there after the excitement and chaos of my mama’s home lol … a lot because of the way Bilal’s ammi’s personality was (she was one of those people for me who I really admired. If you read the post above you’ll get a sense of why) but also how life was in her home in that phase… And for us it was just a breath of fresh air every winter ..

Anya was a little short of 2, 3 & then 4 .. Our routines revolved around spending time with ammi (who was a little weaker every trip because of her age) and enjoying the sunshine and Pakistani winter in her “sehan” and around hers & my sil’s home…

Bilal’s abbu in his lifetime also loved flowers and so does my sister in law so we would spend a lot of time with Anya outside as she explored. I personally loved noticing the details and taking photos. There was also ammi’s favorite bougainvillea with orange blooms that would especially magestic in her courtyard behind the house ..

I remember these afternoons with such fondness, random moments we’d get to spend with each other, soaking in the sunshine, no pressure to be anywhere or go anywhere, the yummiest aloo keh parathay, chai at my sister-in-law’s home, watching Anya being loved on by everyone and seeing her face light up a little extra in her favorite people’s presence…

going through these photos years later now still warm my heart because I can feel what it felt like in the moment..

These years of course came right after Papa’s death and I think I was very conscious of how special these ordinary little moments with our families are..

And they were so precious because sooner than we knew it, this whole phase of life was gone when ammi passed away in 2015.

(Ammi would say she kept these birds for Anya hehe, so heart achingly beautiful because we only visited for 2-3 weeks in the whole year. )

This past visit in 2019 we stood on the top of my sister-in-law’s house (it used to share the courtyard with ammi’s house) and watched this same place you see in these photos; which my husband grew up in, where Anya kept us on our toes running around and exploring .. full of dust and empty; ammi’s favorite bougainvillea gone as well.. We stood and watched it for a while.. maybe looking for closure? Since then the house has been demolished and it’s the end of a whole era. I’ve watched Bilal process these feelings this past year and it’s been hard. But we learn to move on..

These photos are all that remain of these days and of course the feeling of safe that these days felt like and some days they’re enough.

Thank you for reading. This brought up any feelings? Please share in comments below.

Lots of love, Nataliya