Friday, March 8, 2013

The day Hilmi stole Ina from us

Preamble
Friday, 8 March 2013
A few months before her wedding, my only princess Khairina Izzati (fondly known as Ina) had said (pleaded would be more like it) to me, "Ma, could you please write something about my wedding so I can share in my blog?" And my nonchalant reply at that time was, "I'll try my best", but deep in my heart I knew that time wasn't on my side to pen down my thoughts and share my feelings with regards to her and Khairil's wedding as not only was I busy being a wedding planner, I was preoccupied too with my lectures and editing and translating work, not to mention, my housewifely duties.

Nevertheless, I managed to string my thoughts together when I had some time to spare during my vacation with my hubby in Laos shortly after my kids' wedding.

 
Picturesque view from my resort in Vangvien, Laos

 
 
 
Nam Ngum Lake, Laos

Sunset by the Mekong River (opposite my hotel in Vientianne, Laos)

And finally, after exactly a month, I forced myself to sit down to fine-tune my thoughts re Ina's nikah, despite my hectic schedule coz I knew if I don't, these thoughts would simply remain buried in a rubble at the back of my head. Here goes!

Friday, 1 February 2013
A week before her wedding, whilst we were busy getting my son's hantaran ready (dowry and gifts for the bride) for Khairil Syazwan's nikah (solemnisation) ceremony in Pahang, in the eastern side of Peninsular Malaysia which was a week earlier than Ina's, my sister-in-law Jude, and sisters, Wan Sofiah and Wan Kirah were gathered around a table. Ina was there and it was really hilarious to see how she squirmed in her seat and blushed from head to toe as her aunties relentlessly badgered her about her impending marriage. Among her female cousins, she's known to be very prim and proper, and diffident and self-effacing to say the least.


 
And as she was being ruthlessly and mercilessly bombarded and blitzed with inexorable and relentless questions from her intrusive and ‘cruel’ aunts about her impending first night, and the birds and the bees, my mind drifted.

Where did the time go? Didn't we just bring her home from Assunta Hospital the other day?



Now, she is all grown up and has just gotten married. Did I say that my daughter is now married?

How did this happen?

It’s surreal. You never think you’re going to see this passage of time, yet it tiptoes so softly behind you and then she becomes someone’s wife!! I actually have trouble comprehending this. It was only yesterday that Ina was born. I could clearly and vividly recall that day.

I had wanted a daughter, real bad. My first two kids were boys.


And when I was pregnant the third time, I had fervently prayed that this time Allah would bless me with a girl. He did. I thank Allah.










I was so obsessed and fixated with wanting a daughter that my password for access to everything IT-related at work and at home was her name (the foetus that was growing in my belly was named Khairina long before she was born).

 
In fact, this time around I did not bother to choose any boy’s name. I had only selected one female name, Khairina. Period! I couldn’t imagine what would have happened had it been a boy!







And till today, it brought to mind and evoked such strong memory and affection when I recalled the day she was born.

Thursday, 21 December 1989
Today is the 355th day of the year 1989 in the Gregorian calendar. There are 10 days remaining until the end of this year. The day of the week is Thursday. And I am in the labour room at Assunta Hospital.

As I huffed and puffed and pushed, Ina struggled and wriggled from my belly and we heard the doctor exclaiming the magical phrase, “It’s a girl!”

Can you imagine our excitement? The feeling of exhilaration! It was really music to our ears. I recalled vividly how my husband, Amir Hussain had grabbed and grasped my hand....oh... so tightly that I thought he was going to break all my bones. He was simply overjoyed to hear it was a girl, the princess we had been yearning all these years that he hadn't realized how hard he was grasping my fingers. We had both shed tears of joy. We were elated and over the moon with this new addition to the family. I cried softly when the nurse placed her on my chest. It was the most beautiful and exquisite moment.

 
And 4 years later, in 1993, Allah blessed us with another boy, Khairi Imran. Now Ina has two older brothers and a younger brother. It's no wonder that most of the time she puts on a fiery stance when provoked. How can it not be when she's sandwiched between these male species!

 
 
 
 
 
And that completed our family of 3 boys and a girl.
 

Friday, 8 February 2013
Today is the 39th day of the year 2013 in the Gregorian calendar. There are 326 days remaining until the end of this year. The day of the week is Friday. Today is Ina's wedding day. I guess the word is poignant.
 

 
 
 



When she and her new husband (Mohd Hafizul Hilmi Mohd Noor) exchanged rings after their solemnisation ceremony, I was overflowing with joy. My only princess was married, married to a great young man. She married at home in a beautiful ceremony with her loved ones around her, a lovely, worthy, exemplary daughter. As a mother I could not be more pleased.



My husband Amir was by far the most emotional. Throughout the nikah ceremony, I could see his eyes glistening. Every time he looked at Ina, I could see tears welling in his eyes. I was containing my tears from the beginning and almost until the end. (I also couldn’t have my mascara running down my face, could I? Someone had to be practical!)  :)


Earlier, I had actually whispered into my niece’s (Rifhan) ear when she asked me if I was holding up well and doing okay, and I had mustered all my courage (deep inside me, I was feeling this trauma of having to finally let her go), and replied, “No, I promise I won’t cry. I’d look awful with the mascara streaming down my made-up face!” She had burst out laughing.
Being enormously busy planning a wedding and reception did help to shield me from the emotions that had started to well up. It was really hard to contain my emotions. But I just kept acknowledging that it was a ‘good sad’ and that she would be with someone worthy of her love.

And at the same time, it was certainly difficult for me to curb my excitement and joy. She married a wonderful young man and they ‘dated’ in a very healthy and acceptable way (of course they did, and how could it not be when my husband and I were their CHAPERONES every time they met.)

After all, unlike most young couples these days, they NEVER went on any conventional dates, nor do they exchange loves notes. Despite her (what most friends and relatives would describe in the 20th century) as prudish ways, I think, they are crazy about each other and I love to see them together.

 
But the thing that gives me the most pleasure is that my daughter and her husband are going into marriage with a clear understanding of what it takes to make a marriage work. And they’re excited to do the work. To borrow a quote from an article I read in a magazine, “Just like writing a novel, in a marriage, you have to work at it page by page, day by day. And if you stay with your story and characters, if you give your passion and talent and faith to the writing, and if after the bad days you still come back to the writing, well, you’re going to end up not just writing a novel but learning and growing by doing it. So with marriage.”

Yes, a happy marriage does take work, but it is not a dreary, heavy work but a creative, wonderful, sometimes difficult but self-evolving type of work. Anyone who has succeeded in the work of marriage knows that it is the most profound ‘work’ a human being can know. The trick is to go into one’s marriage with this awareness. If you choose wisely (I’m no expert but I’ve survived gratifyingly well after being married for the last 30 years in a sometimes stormy, but wonderful marriage), and apply the above wisdom, you will succeed in building a beautiful, profound marriage.
Friday, 8 February 2013 a.m.
On the day of her akad nikah (solemnisation ceremony), all around me was a whirlwind of events.



World chaos and family drama sometimes intertwined making it almost impossible to determine what the heck was going on.



 
The blessings coming my way were from the awareness of just how wonderful this event and the family dynamics appeared to be unfolding. It was creating a deep bond that was nothing short of miraculous. I thank Allah for having such wonderful siblings, in-laws and children who had been supportive from the time my eldest son got married the year before.
 
 
 
Friday, 8 February 2013 p.m.
When Shila (my first daughter-in-law) was applying make-up on Ina, I had tiptoed into Ina’s bridal room to peep. She couldn’t look prettier. She has lovely flawless skin and with just a little make-up her face was beaming with radiance and vivacity.



 After I had dressed up, I came by her room again to find her looking breathtakingly exquisite and ravishingly stunning in her beautiful off-white gown with a lovely matching veil. A little tear streamed down my face. I checked myself and remembered a promise I made to myself not to cry on her wedding.


Friday, 8 February 2013, 9:15 p.m.
From the top of the stair case, and as I looked down, I could see my husband looking despondent and downcast as he waited for the kadi to arrive to solemnise Ina’s wedding. I could imagine what was going on in his mind at that time. In a little while his princess would be given away.

 

Friday, 8 February 2013, 9:30 p.m.
When the kadi arrived, and as Ina descended the stairs, all eyes were trained on her. She looked ravishingly and entrancingly stunning.

 




And with one breath of a solemnised vow from Hilmi, Ina became his wife.

 

 


Humour, sweetness and love came through the entire evening. At long last, after several months of whirlwind preparations and till and toil, my daughter is now someone’s wife. But then again, she will always remain our princess. And my dear princess, here’s an ode to your new life!

Ina,
You were conceived…
and we awaited your arrival with great delight and pleasure!
You came into this world…
and our hearts gust with love and pride beyond words!

You were our baby…
our third born, our first daughter, A GIFT and the love we felt was immense and untold!
You grew and learned so much
in your first year that you never ceased to astound and amaze us!

At five months you were happily crawling up the staircase
And bellowed and cried at the top coz you didn’t know how to crawl down

You were so cute
And as we held you day and night,
We cherished…
Every “first”, every milestone…each magical moment
Our hands were there for you
When you needed it, through every learning experience
To help you up…
When you fell or to guide you in the right direction

It was hard letting you go
But as we walked hand in hand to your kindy
You displayed a fiery independence
And self confidence
When all other kids (your brothers included) cried and wept on their first day at school
You were happy to let go of our hands
You were ready
And you ‘showed us the way’

It was amusing to be told that your teacher had plastered your mouth
Coz you talked incessantly
You were such a chatterbox at school

When asked what you'd like to be when you grow up
Tongue-in-cheek you had replied "Cikgu Besar!" (Headmistress)

And, from dainty shoes
To braids and ribbons
To insects and butterflies
To dollhouses and barbie dolls
You had such a zest for life
And grew into a beautiful young woman!

You are caring
Compassionate, considerate and loving
You are more than we could ever have hoped for

And now …you’re married
You begin a new journey and we must learn to let go again
We want you to know
That we love you so…our baby… our daughter…our princess… our friend!!

Oceans of love and mountains of hugzz and kisses, 
Mama and Babah
8 March 2103
(Exactly a month since Hilmi stole you away from us)
 

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