I dreamt the other night that it was the morning of my wedding. In my dreams, I awoke at my beloved forever-home, Casa420, to find that everyone I had ever known and loved was there. My father was out puttering in the backyard, as always, and as everyone else rushed to get ready, I turned to Somayya in bewilderment, “Wasn’t it just yesterday that there were five weeks to go!?” The sunshine and warmth spilled everywhere, and I woke up smiling.
In reality, there are only 16 days until the wedding festivities begin, and 18 days to the actual wedding.
There are a few reasons why I’ve not written about this relationship here before: mainly, I value my privacy dearly, and I much preferred to cradle this relationship gently over the past two years and discuss it only with my core group of friends. Secondly, this is not only my story to tell — it is a shared story of me and him, and also the story of the little 8-year-old girl, his daughter, little “Lemon,” who will also become my daughter as we step forward into this new stage of our lives together.
We think we have a beautiful story. I wrote about it for the anthology, Love, InshAllah, which will be available in two weeks, and I’m honored to have been included in such a groundbreaking and inspiring collection about American Muslim women and their love stories. This morning, I was highlighted in a Q&A on the book’s website.
It amazes and amuses me that connections made through blogging led to me contributing my story to this book. At the “old Zaytuna” one evening several years ago, a woman came up to me to say she liked my pants. I thanked her, and launched into my usual muddled explanation about how I had hated these straight-legged pants from Target and one day decided to sew red fabric along the sides. She smiled and introduced herself. âIâm Yasmine,â I said in reply.
She peered at my nametag. âDo you have a blog?â
âYes, I do!â
She smiled again, and extended her hand. âBaraka.â
And that is the story of how I first met Ayesha Mattu in person, so many years ago. Early last year, she encouraged me to contribute a piece for the anthology she and co-editor Nura Maznavi had been compiling. Ayesha and Nura have been fully transparent, compassionate, and trustworthy throughout this process, and I am honored to be included with 25 other American Muslim women in this anthology. The stories are diverse, as stories about love and faith tend to be; perhaps not all the stories will resonate with everyone, but each love story is a personal one, just as mine is, and each of us writers has taken a courageous leap of trust in sharing our personal journeys with the rest of the world.
With 18 days to my wedding, I have been overwhelmed with lengthy to-do lists, Excel spreadsheets, and the innumerable details that relate to wedding-planning: clothes, jewelry, food, centerpieces, guest-lists and seating charts, cake-tasting, mehndi, decorations, travel arrangements, photography…
Then I remember that this is not about to-do lists, but about love. This wedding is a culmination of the last two years’ discussions and decisions, and a celebration of a love story that, in all the ways that count, has gone so much more smoothly than either my fiance or I ever anticipated. To-do lists are good reminders, but the most important reminders come from my favorite 8-year-old, Lemon, who sends me textmessages from her father’s phone:
“My dad told me you are stressed out. I hope you are not stressed out. I miss you so much. I can help you with the wedding plans. I will be your assistant. You will be in charge of everything. Don’t worry, I am here. I will be right next to you.”
She is quick to remind me that WE are getting married; she calls it OUR wedding. We are three in this love story, and, as the days wind down towards the 27th and 29th of January, I can only smile as I leap into the new story we are creating together.
The framed print shown in the photograph at the top of this post (“God was the first to attend to my story“) is by the talented Nadia Janjua. As soon as I saw it, I felt it described my relationship perfectly. Visit Nadia’s Etsy shop for this print and other beautiful art.