Once Upon A Time….

  

Once upon a time, I was 18 and brave! Full of life, carefree, spontaneous, shy and happy! In a car, sitting in the passenger seat, “Belle- from Notre Dame De Paris”  on full volume…. She is driving and we are both singing! My CD…. her car! And the world seemed so magical! When I say magical, I don’t mean to use it as a metaphor! I mean really magical! Nothing else existed! Just me, her and “Notre dame de paris”! Rainy evenings, warm coats and furry hats! Sipping our hot chocolates while discussing why did “Edith Piaf” ever sing “Non Je Ne Regrette Rien- No I regret nothing!” 

She was beautiful, always elegant and fancy! A real Lady…. And boy did I love her! She would tell me to be free, happy and to always stay true to myself. She would tell me to dress like a lady and always keep a smile on, even if my heart was bleeding! She would tell me to keep my head high because I was young and sweet! She would tell me to love….! She would beg me to love! Who is/was she, you wonder? She was my hero! My “what I want to be when I grow up”, she was my aunt! 

You see, most of us have aunts and you would think what’s so special about this one? Let me drag you a little deeper to a story dated a little more than a decade ago….Where a rebellious teenager, stubborn and hot tempered (hypothetically me) refuses to follow, and wants only to lead! Why wouldn’t she? She just embarked in a new chapter of her life! She started college… The first step toward a brilliant future, that she had meticulously planned for every first few hours of the night and until dawn, every single night of the previous three years, while she was busting her butt off studying! 

I was the only girl in a classroom filled with boys. My father thought I was brave as a man… It was a world meant to be for men! So I automatically embraced the notion imposed on me, and thought women were useless and why should I ever take advices from them…. Little did I know! I so wish I could pull my old self’s ears right now and say: “How dare you!” 

I lived with her, and almost effortlessly, she proved me wrong! Women were everything everywhere to everyone! 

Every time I took snacks to her room, a little past midnight, sat in her bed with her. She would put music on … Old French songs: Julio Iglecias, Joe Dassin, Jack brel, Enrico Macias ….She then starts telling me her stories, her adventures, her secretes and her thoughts! We talk freely! Never afraid of being judged! We go back to a million years ago, where we were all the same! Using leaves to cover our insecurities. Worrying only about food and shelter! She smiles… She uses big words …. She smells sweet… And I tell myself: “I wanna be her when I grow up”.

I learnt from these little late night dates what I have never learnt in my whole life! 

A little more than 10 years have passed, sadly I didn’t grow up to be her…. I can never be as light as she was-Even though she was in her fifties when I was only 18, I never felt it! To me she was always young and restless!- But I have these memories that I hold on to and no one can ever take them away! 

Sometimes I forget to smile, I forget to put lipstick on, I forget to put both my hands on the steering wheel, I forget to sing… Then one day I get into my car, put that same CD on- yes, the same one we listened to 10 years ago, it gracefully survived, just like I did. And I take a long drive. I close my eyes- when the traffic lights are red- I take a deep breath and the magic comes back! I sing loud, I smell her sweet scent in the air and miraculously I become 18 again! I hear her again telling me all about: Parole Parole.., La Vie En Rose…., La Femme De Mon Ami..! 

And once I get my satisfying dose of magic, I hold that CD so tight and carefully place it inside its cover, as if it was a precious jewel- and to me it is! I keep it for my next wake up call, for the next time I feel the magic slipping through my fingers like sand, for the next time I no longer smell her sweet scent around me. 
She taught me that life can be sweet and that magic does exist! I wish I told her just that! I wish I told her that she was my muse, and still is! I wish I could tell her how right she was… That Love is everything just as she said it was! 

Now, 10 years later, she is still teaching me life lessons….! To tell the special people in your life that you love them and you deeply care about them, every time they leave seems silly, but what if that was the last time you ever get a chance to do it? Tell them they were right when they are! Tell them you like the colour of their eyes, the way they make french fries, the way they hold the pen, the way they walk..! Tell them the silliest things… Because now you can… Tomorrow you may not be able to…..

Ouiam 

Memories…!! 

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Sometimes memories of mine are so vivid and so real that I can just close my eyes and go right there, be there, feel the same way I did then. Memories are a funny thing aren’t they? They change over time, shift and collapse! We hold on to the ones we want and the rest just dissipates into a hazy fog! And a simple song, smell or even a specific texture can evoke these forgotten memories! Mine are with me all the time, they are my happy place, and my stress defense mechanism. Whenever I am down, upset, or uncomfortable, I run to my childhood memories and seek refuge in them! I run to the days when my dad used to take me to the bakery next to his work and we would buy my favorite cakes, and eat them in the car; while talking about his work and my school, who said what, and who did what in my class, and it always felt like a guilty pleasure that I shared with him. I would also run to the summery quiet afternoons, all bundled up in my mom’s arms, probably too big for that already, while she is telling me a story after another, and I never seemed to be satisfied, always wanting to hear more about the turtle who sewed the napkin and married the prince or the spoiled princess who married the homeless man and learned how to appreciate life. (I think she used to make up these stories lol). The moral of these stories never passed unnoticed, I would never say it out loud but it taught me some valuable life lessons!  I would also run to the mornings where my sister would fill the bathtub with water, put my swimming costume on, and pretend to put salt in the water because I have insisted on that so it feels like seawater! (Now how hilarious is that)! There are also the afternoons spent with my brother, eating dates while he gave me massages! It was so exciting because I felt like a grown up, I would close my eyes and tell him whether the pressure was good or not and he would say, “yes Ma’am”, and once done I would tip him with imaginary coins and say goodbye! Or when he would insist on turning me into a monkey because he was a magician and I would run terrified to the mirror to check if he succeeded in his mission! My favorite memories though, would have to be the ones with my grandma! (May her soul rest in peace). She would take some old clothes and transform them into these beautiful princess dresses that I would wear proudly, sit on the table with her and enjoy our tea parties! We would talk and sing and she would tell me stories about the past, most of them would make my jaw fall, because everything in her stories was so magical and new!

I also remember weekends spent at my aunt’s house! It was a mixture of cooking, makeup and acting classes. (I should specify that I was only  seven by then lol) my aunt would bring a chair to the kitchen, sit there and give me instructions, “pour the flour, OK enough!! Now go get two eggs from the fridge, don’t you break them…” I would have a little apron on that my grandma made for me, for occasions like these and i would be so happy I could cry! Then when my cousin comes home from work, she would bring her unwanted makeup and accessories, she would lay them on the floor and I would sit there dazzled not knowing from where to start! and when everybody gets busy i would sneak out and secretly head to the big mirror in the hallway, grab a comb and pretend to be a TV presenter!

Oh! and those summery evenings spent in the garden with my uncle playing on the “Oud” and all my brothers, sisters and cousins singing and clapping! Or the nights when the electricity would suddenly  go off, my dad would bring candles and my mom would get some sheets and we would pretend that we were camping! Until today whenever the electricity goes off, I get the same chill I used to get when I was a child!

These memories are so dear to my heart! They remind me of a precious time of my life that I owe to every member of my beautiful family who have worked so hard to make my days and nights filled with joy, beauty and laughter. These memories have become the essence of my sanity! And somewhere in the future when Adam will be all grown up, and think back to being little, I hope  he will remember some precious memories too, and they will be his happy place too, I try to make these everydays count , to be present and to make the ordinary extraordinary, the regular somehow special!

Ouiam

Strawberry Milkshakes!!

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Every time I think of my childhood, the first thing that comes to my mind is: strawberry milkshakes! Not any strawberry milkshakes though, only those made by my dad! Every morning, he would wake up a little earlier than I did, goes to the kitchen, gets those strawberries out and gets down to business. Few minutes later I would come down to find a strawberry milkshake (sometimes, I would find two glasses and that day without a doubt would be the happiest). I would also find one of our famous Moroccan snacks at the time “Merendina” (only my Moroccan readers will know what I am talking about). I would enjoy every bite of the fantastic meal made by my dad and head to school. To me, then, there was nothing special about my breakfasts; it was just a regular, typical breakfast that anyone could have. Except, not everyone did have that kind of breakfasts.  Only I did. Thanks to my dad. Years later, and after becoming a parent myself, I now know that there was nothing regular nor typical about my morning meals! That was my dad’s way of saying: “I Love You”. As it was when he walked with me every night to go to my evening classes. And when he would go out every Saturday and comes back with a bag full of candies that I would be waiting impatiently for. And when he made coffee for me and my friends while we were studying for our exams. And  now when he gets us presents every time we would visit home. His way was in the doing of things. His way was the reason every time I think of my childhood I smile!

Being a parent after being parented for so long, is a funny thing! You only know your parent’s way of parenting, of how to do things (or not) and here you are trying to do the same things that once seemed so wrong to you and used to drive you crazy!! Isn’t that funny!

When I think of these things, my only wish is that one day Adam will have the same thought I now have, I wish he would look back at his childhood and smile, and even feel nostalgic about it. I wish he would think of me the same way I think of my dad and the little things he used to do and still does for me. I wish he would remember how every morning I would sing the “Good Morning” song for him. How I kiss his little toes and call his feet “feetsees”. How we would kiss “Teddy” the bear and say “Good Morning” to him. How we would cuddle and read our books every morning. How we would sit and enjoy our breakfast together. How I would give him a bath, read for him and hug him so tight before I would tuck him in bed. I wish he would remember how much I love him! I look forward to more actions of love, more memories that will make my son feel HAPPINESS when he thinks of his childhood, just like I do when I think of mine.

What is your vivid memory of childhood? What do you want your child to remember from your “NOW”? and what do you do to make your kids childhood memorable? Please share ….

Ouiam

About a picture

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Today I was looking at my pictures (because it is something I love doing and I do often) I stumbled into this one!  It is from our wedding in Morocco, four years ago. We were extremely fortunate to have two wedding parties! Yes we did! Why?  Well we come from two different countries in two different continents and we both have big families who love to celebrate! Therefore, we agreed to have one wedding in Morocco (where I am from) and one in Oman (where my husband is from).

I was about 5 years old when I started telling my family( my aunts mainly) that I was married and that my husband was a pilot, I was saying that while carrying my mom’s handbag, wearing  my sister’s high heels, and a scarf on my head imagining that it was my long beautiful hair! Was it an epiphany or was it a mere pure coincidence that 18 years later I actually did marry a pilot!  I guess I will never know. I met my husband in a birthday party. One would think that I met him on a flight (since I was a flight attendant). A flight going to Paris, when he came out from the cockpit to ask for a cup of coffee and he was dazzled by how beautiful I looked, nope! Sorry to disappoint you all but that did not happen lol We met through friends and we became friends lol.

This picture was taken during a celebration that took about 11 hours. Usually Moroccan weddings take this long. In these 11 hours the bride has to change outfits about 7 times, it sounds like a difficult task for the bride however and without a doubt, it is the most beautiful night in any Moroccan girl’s life. There is something magical about it! Moroccan weddings treat the bride like a princess from a fairytale; she gets to wear all these beautiful clothes while all her family and friends are there with her celebrating this beautiful night! She gets to sit on a palanquin of gold that her brothers/cousins/close friends, will carry, up above their heads, while dancing! Showing the world how proud they are of her. She will get to wear the most expensive, beautiful and traditional jewelries she probably has ever seen! She will be a Cinderella that night, a Cinderella with no curfew! (And with both shoes on) I was very lucky to have that night in my life! I just hope, one day I will see my own daughter having her own Moroccan fairytale wedding.

Ouiam