I grew up in tens of houses and apartments of all shapes and sizes in big and small cities and suburbs all over Pakistan. We loved each and every house that was a part of our story for the few years we lived in it and said goodbye to every house with tears in our eyes and lumps in our throats. I can distinctly remember standing in our empty rooms as our luggage was being loaded outside and noticing how sad our rooms looked without our stuff and our families living in it; and simultaneously remembering all that that particular home had meant to us.
Our last visit to Pakistan was the first one where despite having the amazing time that she was having, Anya would say 'I miss my home', ‘I want to go home’, almost every single night before going to bed. And if Bilal and I are ever discussing future plans about moving houses or cities sometime, there is her persistent voice in the background that keeps telling us, 'Noo I like this home, I don’t want another home', ultimately leading Bilal to explain to her how people make a home really and that even if we moved to another house she would still have her own room just like this one and all of her stuff in it.
This connection Anya feels to her home though, makes me so happy. Each house that I lived in, small or big, new or old, fancy or not, was such an important part of my story and I would love for my daughter to feel the same way. The house we currently live in, is not what you would call a dream home; it is pretty tiny, it is dated, and it is far from what people would consider ideal. But flaws and all, we try to love it and make the most of it. It is easy to get drawn into what you see around yourself, it is easy to judge your home compared to the homes of those around you, it is easy to feel embarrassed of your space if it doesn’t fall into the league of those around you, but for our kids sake, I believe it’s important not to. I feel it is important to give our kids a pride in the place they live in. And the best way to do that is by living the example, appreciating what we have and making good of what we’ve been given. Even if in our hearts we are dreaming of another space, we should enjoy whatever time we have in our current home because really, at the end of the day a house is just that, a structure, a building. The memory-making, the fun, the laughter, the celebrations, the traditions, the love, all of that that happens in it, is just going to be the same in whichever place we call our home.
(From top to bottom): Our family of 4 standing in the driveway of our house in Quetta from ‘87 – ‘89; My sister and I outside our home in Karachi in ‘92; The three of us outside our Peshawer home in ‘93.
I have noticed young kids noticing and commenting on how big or fancy their own or their friends houses are or are not and find it a little odd. I would think it happens because of what they unconsciously pick up from their parents and their conversations and realized as parents our own insecurities can easily become our children’s if we’re not careful.
Just something on my mind that I wanted to share. What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading and lots of love.