The clock is only a few minutes away from striking 12 am and I am already overcome with so many thoughts and emotions over the fact that my beloved baby girl is turning one in just a few more minutes.
Wow. Where did the time go? Seriously. It was on this very day, last year, that my jaan, Zohal, was born; it was on this very day that I gave birth and shortly held her in my arms, showering her beautiful pink face with kisses as tears of joy streamed down my face. She was so tiny back then, so helpless and delicate. I didn’t even know how to hold her; the nurses had to teach me that! And now look at her, growing up so beautifully and so intellectually bright!
I admit, this past year has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. When I’d first brought her home, I did not sleep a wink the first week or so. And I couldn’t help thinking to myself whether this time will ever pass, for these sleepless nights felt like an eternity. While Zohal was a great baby, rarely cried, she was still that: a baby. And like all typical babies, she’d get hungry and cranky quite often, especially during the first three (and most difficult, I may add) months of life. I actually kept a baby diary, ensuring I monitored and kept up with all her necessary feedings and naps throughout the day. I was told by my doctor that my baby should be fed every 2-3 hours, and I ensured that that happened, without fail or delay. I did this continuously for the first three months, because I knew how critical those months were. I did this no matter how incredibly tired or drained I was. That was the power of motherhood. Selfless and just so in love that nothing, no one else mattered anymore. Not even my own self.
Day after day, week after week, month after month, I saw changes in her that would literally take my breath away. From the first smile at two months to her first giggle at four months to her first word (which was “baba,” believe it or not) at five months to her first attempt at actually crawling (at exactly nine months) to pulling herself up into a standing position and walking (while holding on to something) at 10 months; watching my daughter grow and develop has indeed been the most incredibly fascinating experience of my entire life. Nothing will ever compare to this. Like, ever. And she still continues to wow us. Inspire us. Take our breaths away with the new things she keeps learning, absorbing and displaying. She is like reading a really, really great book; each page you turn reveals something new and beautiful, making you hungry for more. Except, I never want this book to end. I want to keep reading until the end of time.
This past year, I pretty much ate, slept and breathed Zohal. I spent every waking hour with her since the day she was born. And, I still do that. The times I am away (if I am ever away, which is very infrequent), I feel like a huge part of me missing. I become short of breath, literally. I become a huge worry wart, thinking about her and wondering if she is okay. I was never like this. I used to be quite selfish, admittedly. But motherhood did this to me. Zohal, my zargaye (sweetheart) did this to me. She changed me. She’s made me a better person. She’s made me fall in love with life even more. She made me fall in love with her the minute she entered screaming into this world. I cannot imagine my life without her. She has become the oxygen that I breathe. She has become the food that I eat. She is the love of my life; the most wonderful and perfect apple of my eye.
Zohal, my darling, beloved daughter, if you are reading this (and you will be reading this some day), this is what I want you to know:
Today is your first birthday, my love. A great milestone in this journey we call life. Today is the day you will turn one and from today onwards we will no longer count your age in months. You have no idea how your birth, your presence in our lives, has impacted us…for the very best. Your father and I are simply crazy, head-over-heels in love with you. You are the ranra (light) of our lives. You brought light where there was darkness. You awoke the child in us, once again.
I see how your sweet daddy interacts with you, making cutesy noises and singing to you. It’s beyond adorable. And I have videos, many, many videos to prove it. Just the way you smile — that gorgeous dimpled smile — and the way you laugh is enough to melt anyone who has ever come into contact with you. And it has. Always. All my friends who’ve ever met you have been completely taken and spellbound by you; and not only by your beauty, but by your quick alertness and adorable behaviour as well. You are perfect, Zohal. Now I can safely say that perfect people do exist in this world. And, you, my love, are the epitome of perfection.
Today is your first birthday and while you still have a way to go before you can truly understand the world around you, know this: The world is not great. It’s not perfect (like you). There is too much hatred and chaos. Too much negativity and resentment. Too much injustice, violence and suffering. And as much as I wish I could keep you away, far, far away, from all of it, I know I can’t because that’s impractical. You will see and be exposed to a lot of things you don’t like or disagree with, but one thing is for sure, you will be a wise soul; you will be a visionary, a revolutionist! You will have visions and knowledge far beyond your years and capacity. You will be a leader in each and everything that you do. You will touch and change lives for the better. And I know that you will make both me and your dad very, very proud some day. We are already so proud of you, but you will keep feeding this pride as the years go by. I honestly cannot wait to embark on this journey of never-ending pride and glory.
I love you so much, Zohal. There are honestly no words at all to explain or describe how deeply and immensely I love you. I admit, before I started this blog, my mind was a complete blank. I didn’t know what to write and where to even start. This is why I haven’t been able to write any poems about you. Every time I sit down to write something, I instead get overwhelmed with so many feelings and emotions that I lose every sense of the world around me. And I, instead, end up writing (or typing, for that matter) “I love you, Zohal” repeatedly on the computer screen. As a person who expresses herself best in the written word, I become senseless, wordless, when it comes to you; for you are already a poem that’s been written beautifully. There is nothing else to say or write anymore to describe your flawless essence. Nothing at all.
Today is your birthday, dearly beloved, and know this: both your father and I will never be the type of parents who will dictate and tell you what you should and shouldn’t do with your life. You are the maker of your own reality. What we will do, however, is hone and nurture you. Love you. Encourage you. Support you. Become your biggest cheerleaders, every single step of the way. We will never allow anyone to ever hurt you. And if hurt they do, we will make sure you know exactly how to handle it, because you will be brought up strong, bold and independent. We will teach you right from wrong and trust that you will know how and when to distinguish between the two. They say that your children learn from you, but I don’t agree with that completely. I believe that we, adults — parents — learn from our children as well. Probably even more so. Children can, too, be great teachers and nurturers. And, you, my love, are already my greatest teacher in life.
So, happy first birthday, zargiya. May you continue to learn and grow, and may you continue to feed your curious and inquisitive mind with beautiful words and images. May you also continue to make our days brighter with every sweet smile; every adorable laugh; and every wonderful action. You are the love of my life and having you is undoubtedly the BEST thing that has ever happened to me — to us!
I love you. I love you. I love you. Now multiple that by infinity. Yes, that is exactly how much I adore you. So, let’s celebrate you today, and while you won’t remember any of it, we will make sure you do, as soon as I make some space in my camera/video camera as they are currently over-flooded with your beautiful pictures. 🙂
Here are a couple pictures of my beautiful girl, going as far back as when she was just a few days/month old.