I'm so sorry I did not post last month. It was not because I don't think of you, cos I do. Often. But I had a hard time writing it, and it never seemed right, and I wasn't happy with how it looked or sounded. And well, as we all know, when I'm stuck, I give up. But, mum always use to say, "The way you start your year, influences how the year will go." So I'm stating off the year right, with my letter to you.
Better late than never, I suppose.
I don't want you to think I don't miss you. Because I do. Everyday. And while I'm not quite as angry as I was last year, I'm a lot sadder. Mainly I'm sad because you have two amazing grandchildren growing up into amazing human beings, and you're missing it.
Ethan is in the fifth grade. Which means in May he will graduate from primary school. Next year he starts middle school, so he will be on the secondary campus. Can you believe it? I can't.
Ethan still loves drama. This past year, he has been in three shows. He was in Kids Rock at the Little Theatre, he played Captain Hook at theatre camp and he was in the Christmas show at the Little Theatre. He's also currently in rehearsals for the school musical. He plays the lead character in Aladdin. He's really into the whole drama/acting/theatre thing. He's continuing with guitar lessons, has joined the school band and choir and wants to start voice lessons this year.
But asides from the acting thing, he's doing well in school too. His teacher says he's got a lot of empathy in him. This year, he helped another student with her reading and fluency and wrote a script for his class assembly. He's also doing well in Maths. Scott says he gets that from him, but I think he gets that from you. Ethan's also taken a leadership role at school. During the first semester, he lead an after school activity, Rock Climbing Club. He was really good. You'd be proud. Ethan's been gobbling books this past year, like they're going out of style. This Christmas, 80% of his gifts were books.
Speaking of Christmas, we went to London this year. We got to spend some time with Shireen. She ended up spoiling Ethan. It's quite possible she bought him more gifts than we did.
Not sure if you know, but Minaz works for Parks Ontario, or Toronto, or something along those lines. Yup, she's not going to be impressed I've messed that up. But my point is, this summer, while in Toronto, she, Karim and Kahzmir took Ethan to some wonderful events in different parks. One of the things Kahzmir and Ethan did was join an outdoor workshop on game designs. Ethan loved it, that we made sure to go back into the city the following weekend so he could continue. The children invented new games, refined them, came up with rules and tried them out. If you have wifi, please check them out here. (See....it's these things that break my heart that you're missing.)
Speaking of the Kanji's. Karim had a podcast. I'll admit I haven't listened to them all (he's not going to be impressed that I just admitted to that), but the ones I've heard are fantastic. I can honestly say I've learnt a lot from them. You always believed we should keep up with the ages. Karim embodies that. And he uses it for good. (I'm making him sound like a super hero.) If you can, please take a listen to it here.
Faiza is another one who I see a little of you in. She organized a cousins' get-together over Christmas. For Qayam's first birthday, she asked friends and family to write him a letter, and the plan is to give it to him on his 18th birthday. The idea reminded me of the letter you wrote me on my 1st birthday that I got on my 21st. I know if you were here, you'd write Qayam a five page letter, filled with history and advice and love. I can only hope I've represented you well in my letter to him. Faiza also has this incredible ability to see the good in everyone and everything. I definitely need to spend more time with her when am home. She makes me want to be a better person, and not such a negative ninny. She is most certainly a reminder of what you held near and dear, and of your greatest qualities. She's an amazing mother. You would love Qayam. And guess what, she's expecting another bundle of joy this summer.
Speaking of babies, I'm incredibly upset that you're missing out on an amazing opportunity. Rehanna is about to become a mum. Yes, your great niece is having a baby. That means you could've been a great great uncle! We don't know the sex of the baby yet (well at least she hasn't shared with me), but if you have any pull, we could use some more girls in this family. There are an awful lot of boys!
Keeping with the Manek family, Haseena is in Wales this year, finishing her Masters. This summer, the Manek family took Ethan to the aquarium for his birthday. Ethan bought a stuffed animal which later that evening went missing. Haseena went back to the aquarium to buy him a new one. She is incredible. But you already knew that. Nabeel is beyond amazing. Ethan had a rough time at the beginning of the school year. And he really wouldn't open up to Scott or I. But he and Nabeel email each other constantly. He's the big brother Ethan doesn't have. And I know as long as Nabeel is an email, or text message away, Ethan will never be alone. He's found himself someone trustworthy to rely on, to give him advice and help him through the tough times. And I cannot be more grateful for that. He may be the quietest one in the family, but he is a true gem. Shelina and Akhter continue to be the rocks we need. When Ethan and I are in the city, they check on us, and their door is always open. It reminds me of growing up, where that house was always open and the fridge could always be raided. It's nice to know Ethan can walk in there, hang out, eat and relax. And when mum's in town, Shelina always checks in on her too.
Shelina could use you to watch over. The last few months have been rough. I know Papa is there with you. His passing was hard on her (and mum). She then lost her grandmother. She's always been there for me, and I feel like I need to be there for her, but am so far away.
Rasool continues to amaze me. He is so you. I know I've said that before, but it's true. I always thought I took after you and he after mum. But I am most definitely mum, while he is you. He is calm, rational, prioritizes family and does not hold a grudge. I really could learn a lot from him!!! Hayley is the cutest. She's funny and has developed a unique personality. I cannot wait to see what trouble she causes Rasool! She has him wrapped around her finger, and it makes me giggle when he tells me how he's given her a time out. Like you did when I was young, he sits with her at breakfast. Like mum, he encourages her to help him cook, and she is not a picky eater. Think Ethan needs to spend more time with her. Not only are you missing out on seeing your granddaughter grow up, but you are also missing seeing your son grow. I know you constantly worried about him. But there was no need. He is a mature, incredible
young man. He knows that family is the measure of a man's wealth.
I still do not understand why you had to leave us. There's so much you're missing out on, and I cannot believe you would willingly want to leave us. But I know you were there for Papa, and that brings me some comfort. Maybe I'm finally growing up?
Love you lots. Miss you loads,