Congrats to the VMA winners for Best Rock Video! Up in the Air - Thirty Seconds to Mars.
I’M NOT ASKING FOR “AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER!”
I’M JUST ASKING FOR “AND THEY LIVED.”
Today My Sister Moved Away. It’s the first time we’ve ever been apart. So I wrote her this.
Tonight, my heart is as heavy as a mountain and as light as the wings of a butterfly. I thank Allah for blessing me with the best sister and friend anyone could ask for. So many siblings don’t get along growing up, but you were always the other pea in my pod. From your birth, we were inseparable. Even as a baby, you were closer to me than you were your own mother.
Every memory I have is heavily ingrained in me. I can’t capture all of them. But I want to list down a few. Crawling around on the couches pretending to be Simba and Nala. Our leg wrestling (Remember how we would randomly start doing that in the middle of our conversations?) Our mock midnight Backstreet Boys Concerts. The Juicy Juice thing. Staying up and talking all night. Your beating up a pillow pretending it was Justin Timberlake before you started liking N*Sync. (And the subsequent all night discipline we were subjected to when we were busted). Singing “I Never Had a Dream Come True” at the top of our lungs until we got busted for that too. Our ceaseless, absolutely ceaseless worlds of imagination that we got completely lost in. The occasional violent fights that ended in laughter, tears, or reluctant apologies. Your singing “Darling Baby” at the top of your lungs in the back of the station wagon where we would lay down on road trips. Running unseen out of the house in the dark of night just so we could run down the streets to feel the wind lift our hair without our hijabs. How I repeated anything you said I found funny. Singing Yaseen and Yahya to sleep together as babies. I don’t know if you realized that we rarely ever put them to sleep unless we did it together. Sneaking movies and watching them when our parents weren’t home. Getting into trouble. (We always got busted together) How we told each other every single little details about everything. The embarrassing 3 - 4 volume notebook of that Twilight Fanfic that we really need to burn dude before anyone finds and uses it against us. The epic giant book of poetry we co-wrote. Entertaining our guests until they fell into peals of uncontrollable laughter. Pretending to be twins and somehow getting people to believe us. Being able to nearly read each other’s minds, finish each other’s sentences. Often, we’d just have to look at each other and know exactly what we were thinking. Fighting your battles for you; you were the only sister I ever got to actually come to the defense for. I remember you used to threaten people you didn’t get along with by telling them you would sic me on them. Despite your getting married and leaving the house, we were so blessed to spend every morning and afternoon at IQA together drinking coffee and complaining about whatever was getting at us. And though every single IQA staff member always sang “SISTERS!” when we happened to be walking together, which was often, I took the comment with a sense of pride.
S, there is not a single person on this planet who has been here for me more than you have, and yes I include my parents in that. You were my most steadfast rock when things became hard for me and the only person I felt I could really trust my life with. And I never really could find the words to thank you for the times you came to my rescue without question or judgment. You are truly my soul sister. You were always someone I admired despite your being younger than me. I watched you blossom from a naughty candy-thief, into a child of amazing imagination and spirit, into a silly social butterfly, into a neurotic teenager who always bit off more than we thought you could chew and still managed to chew and swallow everything, into a determined Hafizah and noor-faced Muslimah, into a college graduate with honors, into a loving wife of a guy that you didn’t seem to believe or want to admit you loved until I told you 200 times that you did and that it was an amazing thing. Look back on your life with pride, because I know whenever I do, I feel my heart squeeze.
I couldn’t bring myself to hug you because it felt like someone was ripping me apart. So sorry I broke down on you a little when we did finally say our quiet goodbye. You know how saying goodbye to Dadi is difficult because she cries and it makes you want to cry. This was the absolute hardest goodbye I’ve ever had to make - even though I’ve had to say goodbye to my entire family (minus Yusuf of course). But despite the pain of separation and the fact that life is once again changing, I am incredibly happy for you. You have a world of opportunities and blessings. You are loved wherever you go. And you have the personality and determination to be someone very successful iA. Moving to a new place is a terror, but you’re strong enough to handle a tornado. You’re a Texan. And though I’ve never put words to it (until now), I’ve always said all of this in person with every lunch I’ve bought you, in every grin I’ve given you, in every song I sang with you, and in every silent fist bump I’ve greeted you with. And I realize this is extremely long winded, but this doesn’t even capture a fraction of how much I love you. So I’ll leave you with this collage because you know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words. I think ours have a million. Have an amazing adventure in California and wherever life takes you. I know our paths will forever be intertwined by blood and fate.