This was the first time we had the kids for the whole weekend without Mom and Dad around! They had a little mini vacation and we were happy to take care of our kids.
Of course the usual people were on hand to help out!! The kids arrived on Friday morning and I was alone with the little ones for a couple of hours. In the afternoon Mude came home, got Heme and Deeja and then the fun began!
That night Fattima and B came over and took the boys to the neighborhood park. The next morning Foof made pancakes and the boys took little mini walks in front of the house with Aunties and Uncles. In the afternoon we took them to the mall and they had pretzel bites.
Sunday morning the boys woke Uncle Hehe up and ate chips in bed! Later it was time to play super hero and then Mom and Dad came home!
It was a wonderful weekend full of fun times and more memories!
June 1986 Spokane, Wa.
A giddy laugh made its way over her lips and trickled out sounding much like a bird tweeting it’s morning routine. She remarked that is was pretty, understated and of course the right price. He did not care to accompany me and saw no purpose in a ring, a mere symbol and so my best childhood friend was on hand to give advice and counsel. After all it had already been two years since we made our way through the Palouse and to a tiny wedding chapel where we covertly made it legal. “For $150 it is a gem” she touched my shoulder and smiled, reassuring me that it was needed at the wedding. I placed it on my ring finger and extended my hand as far as possible, staring at the modest gold band dotted with chips of diamond. Although it was simply a formality it would also mean that our marriage would now be official and this part of life could be a thing of the past. I reached into my pocket and grabbed the wad of cash that I had earned working at a fast food chain. I counted bills and straightened them, placing them in a neat and tidy stack on the glass counter.
The ceremony and exchange of vows two years before had created a tiny crack and somehow served as a barrier between mom, dad and me. It had been the first of many omissions but felt more like a lie and one that would not be revealed until decades later. His mindful instruction continued each month, week and day, telling me that it was now only he and I and no one else could possibly love or understand us. It was imperative, even mandatory that I keep the secret to safeguard the “us” that had become intense and now larger than life.
I gingerly stepped into the car and held my hand over hair that had been styled, curled and sprayed. Lipstick, make up and final preparations were still on my mind but I managed to complete each task knowing it meant we were one step closer. Two years of secrecy followed by guilt had taken its toll and it seemed more of a completion rather than a beginning was about to unfold. The dress, veil and shoes were now deposited in the special room that stood in the basement of my childhood church. A faint smell of coffee and cookies reeled through my mind taking me back to mornings spent visiting with our church going friends. He had agreed to the ceremony in our family place of worship in order to make this transition to married life. Anticipation welled up inside of me but with it the realization that this love that had touched the depths of my soul had also generated other feelings unfamiliar to me. I remembered his words after that fateful day but chose to ignore their impact as I walked up the stairs and into the foyer. “I guess if I loved anyone it would be you”.
My niece sent me these pictures from a visit to Riyadh. Things have changed in the past 9 years as you would expect. When we first arrived to Saudi in 1993 there were no fancy malls and not much fast food. By the time we left in 2009, upscale malls with ice skating rinks, amusement parks and designer shops had popped up everywhere! Fast food chains were to be found on most streets and many locals seemed to adopt a new lifestyle.
My niece just informed me that today they opened a cinema in Riyadh which seems really unbelievable!
When I lose hope
Falling off track
Stuck in those dark days
Trying not to look back
Colors from God
I witness pure faith
See a sweet smile
On baby child’s face
I want to be wrapped up
In this here and now place
Spring is a busy month for our family with six of my nine children having been born in those few months. My father also has a spring birthday and this year he celebrated his 84th! We don’t generally exchange gifts any more but instead spend extra time together.
On Saturday we woke up early and made our way to Spokane, my hometown. Osama had steak marinating and had the meal planned out. We stopped to see our little guys at their first soccer practice and then went to Osama and Jacki’s house. Fattima and B picked up the cake I had ordered at our favorite place and arrived shortly after we had settled in.Everyone pitched in to help get things cooking and then Mom and Dad arrived.
The meal consisted of perfectly prepared Flank steak, three choices of smashed potatoes and two salads. It was an amazing dinner!
Osama cutting the cake
Grama and Grampa
We stayed a few hours and then drove back to our little town on the Palouse. Dad was happy to have most of his grandkids and great grandkids celebrating with him and we have come to realize this is the best gift we can give!
Happy Birthday Dad!
Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia 2009
A thin veil of fog still drifted past my thinking and functioning brain, protecting me from everyday events that were no longer fathomable. I bit my lap and scratched my chin holding back a flood of tears that would inevitably turn to sobbing. Choking and gasping breaths had been quieted and normal respiratory functions returned. A single tear dripped down my face landing awkwardly just beneath my nose. I could not let the barrier down, the one that held back uncontrollable desperation. It did no good to cry and fueled a rage that had now become unyielding. I wiped my face and pulled my clothes together in a tidy fashion, spitting on a tattered sleeve, pausing before I opened the door and silently drifted away.
A solid and unwavering resolve that had been steadfast until his advances had become aggressive and unrelenting now teetered. It had been 10 days since his arrival and simple kindness interspersed with cold and calculating manipulation was somehow noticeable as I watched his eyes. I had never seen this thinly shrouded phenomena that reeled me in and then knocked me down repeatedly until now. I smiled and laughed nervously, keeping him at arm’s length while still offering a measure of appeasement. He edged nearer, placing his hands just over my shoulders and onto the wall, his body pressing closer with each movement. A part of me wanted to give in and surrender to a sick and familiar reality that kept the relative peace for days, hours or possibly only minutes. He spoke quietly and reminded me that I was the mother of his nine children, the key to all that he held dear in this earthly existence. I scratched my chin and cheek inching closer to the bathroom door, almost forgetting the previous violent encounters in Al-Khobar and Riyadh.
I knew that submission would once again fuel the never ending cycle and would also mean a short lived peace. The choice had never been mine to make and had always hinged solely on survival. But in the present I felt a surging power and with it the reality of his words that left an indelible mark, “Lynn, you are only good for one thing“. I entered the bathroom and slammed the door, knowing full well a price of some kind would be held in the balance.