I know that this post is so late [I'm well on my way to turning 41 already], but I finally have a domestic helper here today, which frees up my morning considerably.
On Sunday morning Mo treated us to breakfast at La Rocca at Canal Walk. I felt slightly guilty at the fat-laden meal I ordered - a mixed grill, which - though not really my style - was simply delicious. I undertook to watch what I ate for the rest of the day.
From the moment we sat down, the kids started an annoying routine - alternating between bickering and sulking. That is, until Mo put a stop to it using his most intimidating voice. He reminded them of how blessed they are compared to so many others; that they had no reason to sulk and be grumpy and how so many children had nothing to eat - let alone sit in a lovely sunny restaurant on a beautiful Sunday morning. This quickly changed their mood and they were back to their chirpy selves in no time, thank goodness.
Later we headed out to the little beach next to Camps Bay beach. We have no idea what this place is called, but this little piece of heaven was always my and Mo's favourite summer hangout in our early marriage. Once the babies arrived though, the steep walk down to the beach unfortunately put paid to our visits to this spot.
So Sunday was really special, as we reminisced about our carefree days lazing in the sun. In fact, I even have a picture taken 4 days before Shakeel (14)'s birth, in which I lay on my favourite rock looking like a beached whale - albeit a very happy contented beached whale.
Although the weather was warm on Sunday, it was not really swimming weather - especially not in the icy waters of the Atlantic. But that did not stop the kids from wading into the water in search of marine life.
For months now (since the beginning of his high school 'career') Shakeel has been really serious and reserved. Very seldomly does one hear his carefree unreserved laughter and this has me really concerned and sad. I know that the pressure of fitting in has been overwhelming. He escapes from all this by playing Playstation or computer games or reading. He no longer spends hours playing with his sisters. I am not sure if this can be attributed to adolescence or if he is going through something of which I am not aware. Either way, I'm really sad about this.
But on Sunday, for just a few hours, I had my son back - the little boy who loves animals, exploring the 'wild' and studying wildlife. At one point all four of them built a little pool for a tiny fish they'd come across - the sight of them playing together happily evoked in me mixed feelings of melancholy and joy.
My favourite moments of the day - right here
Tharaa (11) did what Tharaa does wherever she finds herself - executing cartwheels and handstands in the water and clamouring onto rocks.
Nuha (8) struggled to keep dry as she rolled her pants higher and higher so that she could wade deeper and deeper into the water.
Aisha (3) quickly overcame her recently-developed aversion to having sand beneath her feet and fully enjoyed exploring the beach. Eventually she too could not resist wading waist-depth into the icy waters.
I had a lovely afternoon - at first reliving distant memories of our carefree days before the kids were born, but then, after watching our kids bond in this place which had been so special to us, I felt so blessed and overcome with gratitude for the precious moments we were sharing right there - in the present. Alhamdulillah, I cannot thank the Almighty enough for having blessed me with these precious moments with my family and pray that there are many more to come In Shaa Allah (God willing).
And then, as expected, we faced the consequences of having allowed Aisha to wet her clothes, as she moaned and cried that she wanted to go home to fetch dry clothes, but then wanted to leave again for the dinner outing her dad had promised. Needless to say, that was the end of the outing, as we headed home and plonked her straight into a warm bath.
Instead of the promised dinner outing, Mo brought them pizza from Debonnairs, while he and I enjoyed sushi in front of the TV.
I cannot thank my husband enough for creating a birthday weekend so perfectly suited to me. I know that, given the opportunity to have themselves spoiled for their birthdays, many women would have chosen differently - but to me, these simple moments are everything. There is nothing I would rather have done and I, once again, thank the Almighty for granting me a husband who knows me this well and respects/tolerates my uniquely weird character traits and preferences.
I am also so grateful to EVERYONE who sent me such lovely birthday wishes - but especially to my mother and brothers, who - in a nutshell - told me to get over myself and that, instead of whining about my age, I should be focussing on my blessings. Clearly I took their advice to heart and I count them among the graces with which God has bestowed me.
Al hamdu lillah wa shukru lillah, what a lovely weekend! I feel so blessed.