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  • Writer's pictureSaira Sufi

Decade in Review

The end of a decade. Ten years but honestly, 2019 felt like ten years all on its own for me. "I know it’s hard to see it now, but this awful year might be the one that shapes the rest of the years to come... in a beautiful way." The Unraveling

Yes, I am looking forward to 2020 and the mentality of new beginnings but I want to acknowledge that the last few years have seriously made me pause and say...WTF, mate? In all honesty, it's made me realize how little control I have over my life and how I went from not being able to look at my child's blood test results on my own to demanding that I am the first one to see them and being able to fully understand them (damn you, neutrophils).

As I force myself to rest and hopefully get over this cough in my apartment, I think back on what I have learned in these past ten years.


I learned what a dawat was and that certain families are all about them as a way to celebrate a new bride and groom. Ten years later, I have learned I will ask my future daughter in law if she actually would like to attend any dawats.

I learned how difficult and rewarding it can be to be a stepmother. Ten years later, I have learned that for some people, biology is the only way to determine real parent status.

I learned that a Dunkin Donuts paper bag doubles a decent morning sickness bag if needed during a commute to work. Ten years later, I am reminded of those days as Zakaria asks me to have another child.


I learned the extreme emotions holding a newborn can bring. Well, two newborns actually, but I held Hadi first. Ten years later, I let the tears fall as I think of holding my dear Hadi again. Man, crying when you have cold really sucks.

I learned that there are many expectations of a new mother. Ten years later, I have learned that I will forever cherish those who asked me what I needed and recognized when I was overwhelmed as a new mother.


I learned the joys of watching Hadi belt out Paul Simon on our morning commutes to Al Fatih Academy. I learned how much it bothered me that I didn't have a spouse who cherished music as much as me. I learned how I always felt like I was walking on eggshells, waiting for the next negative comment around certain people. 10 years later, well...I am going to Graceland. ;) I also know I never want to feel that way again about eggshells. I would rather be my open and honest self than hide my true emotions and feelings. Let me say this now...yes, we all lost Hadi but I carried him (there is a reason the kid loved Cool Ranch Doritos) and you might disagree, but a grieving mother is always right and you will allow her every breakdown and meltdown and harsh words she throws at you because you didn't have to deal with deciding whether to put a chest tube in your beautiful son. Pretty sure it is a good thing I am not wearing a blood pressure cuff right now.


I learned what it feels like to know exactly when your son is letting you know it is his time to return to Allah and he wants to make sure that you will be"alright". You know how you just know that the Jayhawks are going to screw up an impressive lead? That's how I felt when Imam Magid was doing a dua next to Hadi; I just knew it was time. l also learned that grief manifests itself in many ways and everyone grieves differently. I learned that it was important to me that nobody forget about Hadi and so I created Team Watience to share our journey with aplastic anemia (and in case you are wondering, no, you don't capitalize it). One year later, I look back and realize that my spouse was quietly wanting to end our marriage and I had no clue. It's probably best I stop there. :)


I learned how special my Zakaria is; I always knew he was but this year has showed me another level. Looking forward, I hope the kid always wants to wear matching Vans. I learned that it is possible to be completely blindsided by your spouse but I also learned/was reminded that Allah is the best of planners. I learned that I will never look at TiVo or Verizon Fios the same way again. I learned that once you have spent 13 months at the NIH, you can live anywhere and that I am grateful for Amica insurance. With less than 9 hours left to go in this year, I can say that I have learned that I am not capable of expressing my gratitude for all of the support. So, when I write a post like this again in 2030 and Oscar and I are enjoying coffee in the Maldives, please know I will forever be thankful for this journey and for all that have been part of the ride.

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