Sunday, September 10, 2006

Moving Forward!

Tala had her four-year physical on Friday. Her growth report is full of the number 4. On the growth chart, she falls in the 94th percentile; not surprisingly, that makes her an average 5-year-old size.

During the exam, she handed Dr. Klinger a book and said, "Can you read me this book, please?" The way she asked and the way she looked at him, he couldn't say no. He read her the page she held out. Dr. Klinger is one of the best pediatricians anywhere. He's so thorough, so patient, and pays attention to every little detail. During the visits, he watches every move and sound the child makes to assess the development. And unlike other physicians, he's never stingy in the time he spends with each child.

When shot time came at the end of the visit, Tala threw a fit refusing to take it. I said to her, "The shot will help you be healthy and not fall sick." She said, "OK, Mom!" So sweetly and calmly--I was surprised. There came the shot and she wailed so hard but had her reason. "It does burn," the nurse told me.

While in the waiting area, Moody picked up the book Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. He read it to me all by himself, from beginning to end. I'm so proud of him.

Moody, Tala, and Sol have some sort of a flu. Of course, school starts and bugs start coming home with the kids. I hope I don't catch it; I'm clear so far, except for the symptoms I experienced on Friday night. I'm flying to Beirut tomorrow to spend a week with Ennis and Juju; I don't want to be sick. I'm blank about the trip--don't know what or how to feel except that I'm going to meet two dear people that I don't really know, and I don't know what's going on in their minds. I'm sure that once we meet, things will fall naturally in place and the apprehension and anxiety will subside.

Still, there are other reasons that make me very excited about my going to Lebanon and look forward to it. I will be seeing the dear Shallouf family. Uncle Lamin and Mom go way back to their old neighborhood in Derna where the two families were neighbors. The Shalloufs were a family to me during my stay in Lebanon. They have been there for me all the time through thick and thin. We gradually lost contact through the years. Last contact I had with them was a couple of years ago when Asma told me she was getting married. It seems like a year or so ago, but I've learnt from Mohamed, her brother, that she has a 2-and-a-half-year-old boy and is expecting a girl this month. Oh, I can't imagine it still. I would spend the first night with them since I'm arriving at 7:30 pm and don't want to take a "service" to Baalbeck at night. I would visit them with the kids too over the weekend, to reconnect them. They have not seen them in years and the kids don't remember them anymore. They used to visit them when in Beirut shortly after I left, but then stopped and all contacts to the Shalloufs were blocked. Oh, it will just be wonderful to see them all!

On Friday, Sol and I watched Fahrenheit 9/11. I highly recommend it. Sol said to me, "You are flying on the 9/11 anniversary." Oh, no! It didn't occur to me and I never paid attention to the date. I was looking for a flight starting September 8th and Monday was the first available I got. This is the third ticket I book in a week. First one was to Qatar after I made arrangements with my ex's sister there for my visit. But then, as soon as my ex knew I was going there he insisted the kids fly to Lebanon immediately. He's now in Sierra Leone where he's been working for years. I cancelled the ticket and lost some money in the process. I was then told by his sister that the kids will stay and I can come, so I rebooked again. And once again, I was told that they're leaving to Lebanon the next day, on their father's insistence. So, I cancelled again and started looking into flights to Lebanon. The kids got very excited and happy, then disappointed, then excited again, and disappointed again... I decided to go wherever they are. I know my visit will raise their morale and give their spirits an uplift.


  1. wish you the best in your trip, if you find time for blogging, please write your thoughts about Lebanon and the situation there. Ghazi

  2. Thank you, guys, we're all pulling for Hanu. Got over a lot of complications, but everything is on schedule now. Getting the ticket was messy by modern standards, but it finally showed up. My car was towed at the airport because I left it in the "B" lane... you know, the B-Right-Back lane! Well, they were extra cautious, today being 9/11, they didn't tolerate cars withuout passengers. So I got stiffed by the towing company, $90+ for the tow and $12 for STORAGE--loved that one! The actual traffic ticket is only $15, believe it or not. Life goes on.

    Right now Hana is en route to London, then on to Beirut after a short wait. We hope all will go according to plans, and she'll be with the kids Wednesday. Of course, there is that little matter of the bowling ball in my gut! But we won't say more about that--it will pass. lol lol lol I was really glad that Hanu left in excellent spirit and strong emotionally.

    The general situation in Lebanon, according to friends there, is remamrkably "ordinary," that is, people are picking themselves up and re-establishing order in their lives. The Lebanese have gone through this before, and they can be quite resiliant. I hope the general air of peace will make her reunion with the kids and friends more rewarding.

  3. Wishing you all the best Hanu. It does not matter what happened in the past; what matters is that you will be with your kids and enjoy every minute. Only you can judge what is the suitable next step according to the situation on the ground. You are in my prayers.

  4. I enjoyed every picture of your children and you. You could see the happiness in their eyes, as well as yours. Thanks for sharing the photo's.