We had a couple of nice audio messages from Pakistan over the holidays.
In August of 2012, Jonathan and I agreed to host a 15-year-old Pakistani girl for a few weeks, until AFS could find her a full-time family. She ended up living with us until the following June. Aqsa evolved from dog fear to dog affection, learned to sleep under the bedcovers (after we finally figured out why she was so cold at night), called us Mom and Dad, shrieked hilariously over her first experience with snow, danced in the kitchen while she cooked her favorite foods, and generally won us over. She thoroughly humanized our cardboard image of what it is to be Pakistani, and we did the same for her vision of Americans.
Another thing Aqsa did for me was decelerate my entry into the empty nest. I adored being a full-time, homemaker Mom. As much as I love being a writer and teacher, neither of those identities filled my soul quite as thoroughly as at-home motherhood. Maybe that’s why I have left Aqsa’s hand-drawn sign on my bedroom wall, with messages in Urdu around her “Welcome home, Mom!” I still feel a flush of warmth when I come home to that particular identity on my wall, no matter who else I have become.
My 60th year in 60,000 words
Day 128: 217 words, TOTAL = 21,112; 38,888 remaining
Robin Clifford Wood is a writer and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband and dogs, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her grown children and their multi-species families.