Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Habibi Family

My husband and I both had tramautic childhoods.  Yadda-yadda.  Whatever.  But then we got amazingly lucky.  We found each other early, and loved each other well.  (We also went to college 800 miles away from each other, which I've always thought was important--but that's another story.)  And we got married, and grew up (probably in that order), and were blessed with two fantastic children.  We have not had a trouble-free life, but we've had a very happy one.

A week from tomorrow we take our son to college.  I'm terrifically proud of and happy for him.  He worked hard all through high school with a goal in mind, and he achieved it; he's going somewhere I think will be perfect for him.  And yet.  It's so far, and we'll miss him, and none of us know what it will be like, to have one member of our little family somewhere else.  It's a big change. 

All the last month I've been thinking of funny stories about my son, from when he was 2, 7, 15--I can't write about any of themn, because he's asked me not to.  But I will say this.  When we were in Egypt last winter, our first tour guide, halfway through the first day, said, "I'm going to call you my Habibi Family."  All though Dendara and Alexandria he said, "Come now, habibi family, let me take your photo."  "Habibi family, these tombs have some of the finest stone carvings in Egypt."  "Habibi family, where would you like to eat lunch?" 

It was clear to us that habibi was a nice word, but he wouldn't translate it, not really.  So we asked our second tour guide what it meant.  "He called you that?" The man shook his head.  "Huh.  It means 'darling.'"

When my son was perhaps two weeks old, I told my mother over the phone, "I just wish he were a little older, so he could do something."  He was waking up a lot, and eating, and crying a little, but I wanted smiles or purposeful movement or some sense that he recognized me. 

"Don't say that," my mother said sharply.  "Don't ever wish that.  Time will go faster than you think.  He'll be grown before you know it."

She was right, of course, and so was our tour guide.  My sweet habibi family.  We have had so much fun.