Wednesday, May 17th, 2017, 9:00pm
A love letter to my nephew
To my dearest, Shahzain
I got off the phone with your mother and she told me you are sleeping. We discussed our usual lady stuffs and then the conversation turned to how you were doing at home. I am happy to know that you are doing super great and I am excited to meet you this weekend, to embrace you warmly and strongly and watching you struggling to get out to play with your toys.
As I write this letter, you have yet to reach your second birthday and by the time you are able to read this letter, the train of my youth will have almost reached the next station while yours will be gaining steam.
To the young man I fell in love with, right at the first sight, with all of my heart, being and core and the intensity of my love often surprises me, I want to share some of my 21 years of wisdom with you and the affection that transformed into love.
But before that, how about this. I’ll share with you this crazy story of the time you were about to peek-a-boo and how we waited in that hospital room, discussing everything from your first diaper change to your Harvard College graduation (yes, really!). It so happened that you decided to give us an early surprise on the 19th of April 2016 and since you messed up all our plans, your dad who was working in another country, couldn’t arrive in time to give you a daddy-welcome (he is still mad about it). So, because he couldn’t come, I was the next one closest to my sister, dutied to entertain her with my seriously funny jokes till you popped out (and oh boy! were you a drama).
On April 19th at 11pm, I got an urgent and super hilarious text message from my sister:
“Dear Aunt, you’d better pack your bags instead of sleeping on your bums cuz it’s almost time for the grand opening. I’m seriously messing up this woman’s entire inner system. To be honest the room is tiny and im tired of playing with this weird-looking red balloon that’s constantly beating..Im actually hella tired of the same stuff for over 9 months and I can’t wait to get out. Lol, wait and watch. Kbye”
Ha, Cute! That was your mother’s way of telling me to get ready for the “grand opening”. I packed my bags and slept again because I thought you would really take another day or two, instead, at 1 am, your uncle told me he was coming to pick me up. I knew it! the devil had arrived. Your long pre-birth story short, when we arrived at the hospital, your mother was chillin’ because you were kind enough to take your time instead of trying to rush out of the traffic. We waited for the labor pains with bated breath. No signs. OK! so we settled in our beds, opened our bags of chips and drinks and proceeded to discuss your graduation and wedding. It took at least 9 hours of running here and there, walking sessions, and induced labor before you finally came out. And off your mommy disappeared into the labor room for the opening. I was excited and thrilled, crazy with happiness and a hundred other emotions in that moment. While the doctors wrestled with you inside, I reminisced about my childhood and the role your mother played in it.
My dearest little one, your mother’s story is the story of true strength and the price that comes with it. She was 11 when she took on the whole household’s responsibility because your grandmother was busy with her job and outside commitments. One day she decided that she needed to grow up. When I was born, your mother was the eldest in the family, I woke up and she was my second mother, but the mother I listened to, more than my own. Even at a young age when the world had been unkind to her, her heart was always filled with passion. She served everyone and anyone without anybody asking and for that she is loved, loved by all.
30 minutes and a C-section later, you formally and officially entered the world and our family. Your uncle, your paternal grandmother and I had been waiting impatiently outside and the moment the doctor announced you were out, we jumped up and raced inside. THERE you were, how big, calm and quiet and your eyes shut, not one care in the world. I kept staring and staring and staring; I had fallen in love. I fell in love with your tiny hands and your tender skin, with your angel face and that almost non-existent nose. I fell in love with YOU and in that moment, I understood what motherhood felt like. In a minute of a hundred overflowing emotions, the foremost was protection. I promised to protect you and love you and I WILL keep that promise till my last breath. I love you, my love.
Fast forward one year and we celebrated your first birthday on Apr 20th 2017. All those nights of rocking back and forth, talking, singing every lullaby in the world and praying you would sleep early, it was worth it. Every inch and bit of it. You manage to blow my mind. Every day. How much love you have to give, your discoveries and the way you are growing up. I can see the growing competitiveness in you, you have learned to mark your territory and protect what you love; your favorite toys.
I know it is silly but I often think about it and Im sure you will be the greatest son, friend, husband, and the greatest father out there. I will never forget, in the dark coolness of your room, the times I sang to you, and you tracing my mouth every once in awhile. One day you’ll grow up and you will no longer crawl onto my lap, fit into my arms and fall asleep. You will have your own life and your own people, it is crazy, I want you to grow up but I also don’t want you to grow up.
My little gentleman, the world is a scary place but it’s not bigger than the strength you possess and display every day. You are brave. You are the bravest and you know how to fight.
Respect your elders.
Keep your smartphone close and your family closer.
Contrary to what people will tell you, let your failures define you because more than your successes, I have found failures to be the best teachers. Wear the badges proudly.
The world that we live in is unkind, too unkind and they won’t teach you this in school but compassion is the only way to wash away the unkindness. Have it in your heart, forever. Compassion is like a diamond and that is why it is so hard and precious.
When you find friends that are worth spending the rest of your life with, do not let them go. Ever. They are the second family who will be there for you. Everyone needs a second family.
Focus on your studies but do not try to rush. The world is not about coming first but how smartly you find your way to the best positions. If you only think about being first you will forever be the last.
The destination is very important but the journey is more important than that. Do not ever forget the path you took to reach your goals because when you look back, that road is what there will be not your destination. It will help you keep your foot on the ground and you will never forget what you learned. Never forget what life taught you on the way.
Your first love will be beautiful but your last love will matter. Do not be sad for the love lost, because one empty space is a chance for a fresh beginning to settle in.
Don’t be afraid to have unpopular opinions. People are not more right or wrong than you. Content matters not the reactions.
Get to know your parents and don’t leave them alone. You don’t know yet how much your mother loves you and cries and prays for you.
Take your education seriously.
Sometimes in life, you have to go with the flow and sometimes you have to dig your own way. Whatever situation you find yourself in, just make use of that mine of strength you have in your heart
I will always be here, your best friend, your confidante, your second mommy, the one who’d take a bullet for you. Just come to be wenever u find yourself in trouble, I will always be there.
I may or may not be alive when you find this letter or I may be on my death bed, but I want you to know that you are loved more than you know. You mean the world to us, you have filled her hearts and lives with happiness and I love you for that. Thank you. Its a party whenever you come over.
I must finish this letter as I know by the time you get to read it, you’ll be too busy. I pray for you daily and I love you, for the 500th time. Here’s my favorite picture of us. I miss you baby🌹🌹😘😘
With infinite love and prayers