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  • Writer's pictureSaira Sufi

It's 7-11 Time - Wait, how old am I?

My dearest Hadi, tomorrow is your birthday and it is my first without you physically here. Eid and your birthday in one week is harsh. However, I know Zakaria will do a little booty shake tomorrow when he sees his Oreo cake and it will remind me so much of you. I will think about how I made it to my planned c-section day and how you and I had some alone time while Zakaria was in the NICU.

You were mine is what I thought as I held you...I would be proven wrong though. You, Zakaria and Leena, I get the honor of being called your mother but you all belong to Allah. I wondered when the emotions would hit today, just like I did on Eid. On Eid, they hit when I saw a medevac helicopter. Today they came when Zakaria came to me to help him attach a LEGO piece and when I looked at the framed number 9 made out of the roses that Aamir gave us for our anniversary and it hit me that you won't be around to tell me what kind of cake you want for your 9th birthday. I also look at the absurd amount of LEGO sets we have and wonder how we are ever going to get through them as none of us possess your skill, Leena comes close though.

Man, I am proud of myself for coming up with the idea for the 7-11 party last year, with you two turning 7 and Leena turning 11. Auntie Nusra showed up with slurpees and cake pops by Huma and it was lovely. I am not sure when Leena became obsessed with shouting out "7-11" but it is now tradition and so the theme for their party was a hit.

It is also your cousin, Hassan's birthday and I am reminded of how you started to not like chocolate because Hassan didn't like chocolate. You know who else has a birthday in June? Me and I turn 40...and it has been asked what I want. So, here it is, a partial list of what I want for my birthday.

-A cure for aplastic anemia

-The Hadi Abdur Rasheed Research Fund to surpass it's $60,000 goal

-The Team Watience Facebook Page to get more likes and raise awareness of aplastic anemia and honor Hadi

-More Instagram followers for the same reason

-For little warriors not to have to endure the effects of chemotherapy and to lead normal lives

-To continue to show that showing one's vulnerability is part of bravery

-For people to continue to tell me how Hadi influenced their lives and what they remember about him or our journey

-To cuddle up with the amazingly beautiful blanket made out of Hadi's t-shirts gifted to us by our incredible friends

-To make sure side hugs no longer exist

-More minority representation on the National Marrow Donor Program

-More discussions and openness about grief, particularly in the Muslim community

-A trip to Ireland and Scotland

-A year long supply of Weird Brothers coffee, Cold Spoon Yogurt and Walker's Shortbread

-A planner that indicates when I will break out into tears

-To always think of my Hadi putting his arms out towards me when he knew I needed a hug -A cure for aplastic anemia...wait, did I say that one?

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