Valentine’s Day

posted in: Family, Journey of Love, Marriage | 0

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My sister, Rayka always reminds Shehab and me that you need to make restaurant reservations a month ahead of time. I know we’re horrible!

Our first Valentine’s Day as a couple.

Shehab told me that he loved me a couple of days before Valentine’s day, but that was also when he told his parents about me. Since things were already out in the open, Valentine’s day was a little restricted. During our first Valentine’s day, Shehab was given three hours for a lunch date (One hour to drive to my house, one hour for lunch, and one hour to drive home). Flexibility was quite difficult. Don’t worry we spent more than four hours together on our first Valentine’s Day. But we still enjoyed it and made the most out of it.

Shehab brought a single red rose for Little Miss Dora and a second single rose for me. He took me to one of my favorite Thai restaurants, Sawatdee so I could have Rama Tha Delight. We ended lunch at the Tea Garden for bubble tea. (After constant debates, since Shehab prefers buffets). I know it doesn’t sound very romantic, but it was perfect for me.

Our second Valentine’s Day as a married couple.

It didn’t really seem like Valentine’s day this year. Shehab was battling an awful cold, and I was fighting a sinus infection. (which I didn’t know at the time). We spent half the day hanging out at home until I got a craving for bubble tea again. (I think this has become a tradition, except we went to Tii Cup this time).

Later that night we tried to decide where to go, I know it was silly, I mean Valentine’s day! Come on! I gave in and went to a buffet double dating with Shehab and my parents. Again, it wasn’t the most romantic Valentine’s day, but I loved it.

In the course of a year, I realized something. Shehab and I have changed significantly.

  1. Our first Valentine’s day was more about getting to spend time with each other. I was so frustrated with the fact that I only had three hours with him. This time, Valentine’s day was like any other day, but we found a way to spend it with family. After all isn’t Valentine’s day about spending time with the people you love. 
  2. When we were dating, every date/day we were able to see each other had to be special (specifically because of the restrictions). Now that we’re married, every day is special. However, we don’t have to make days like Valentine’s day extra special. I think we’ve become one of those couples who believe that every day is valentines day for them, Oh no!
  3. We’re a lot more relaxed with each other. I miss the days when I used to get really excited and dress up for dates. Shehab would dress up all handsomely as well. It was thrilling and exciting. Now we’re a lot more laid back since we’ve seen each other at our worst. (I’m talking grungy hair, pajama pants, and Shehab’s t-shirt).

Sometimes I wish that we had the opportunity to go on more dates while we were dating. We still have date nights. However, the thrill just isn’t the same. However, knowing that we’re together forever really does make up for the restricted time.



The Heartbeat

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Dora was eight weeks old, in my mom’s womb, it sounds silly saying in her womb when she taught me my first lesson. Life is precious, and even the tiniest little person can have a the strongest heartbeat with a lot to say.

Before my mom became pregnant with Dora, my life lacked ambition and smart choices. I was in my second year of college, but I had no idea what I was doing with my life. I got myself in a tangle of obstacles that I’m too embarrassed to talk about. Don’t worry it’s not drugs or alcohol, I had gotten myself into a long distance relationship with a not so good person, and it’s not worth talking about.

I was on track for pre-med, my whole life I thought that I wanted to be a doctor until I began volunteering at a hospital and realized that I couldn’t handle it emotionally. I was too afraid to tell my family that I didn’t want to be a doctor since everyone had such high hopes for me. Instead of discussing my options I stayed quiet for two years and kept on forcing myself into a web of lies. I kept making one bad decision after another, not caring about my classes or my life. I held onto a sick fantasy of living a life with someone who I didn’t even know. My life choices lead to constant conflict with my family members, the siblings who had looked at me so highly now patronized me, I was at my all time low.

It wasn’t until I went to that first ultrasound with my mom, I heard Dora’s heartbeat for the first time; thirty-six beats per minute! The doctor told me she was strong; she was just a tiny little peanut, but she had a lot to say.

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Her heart beat said it all, “Life is precious, I’m just a tiny little thing, but I’m going to be strong one day, and I’m going to need you!”

She was growing strongly in my mother’s womb, this new life, my second chance!

A couple months into my mom’s pregnancy the doctors discovered that she had a kink in her kidney, their first suggestion was to abort the baby! I don’t want to open Pandora’s box on my stance on abortion, but when I heard that Heartbeat! I just couldn’t do it. That little peanut was waiting for me!

I begged my mom to keep the baby; I think my mom knew that I needed Dora more than she needed me. She promised to keep the baby alive for me. My mom has saved my life many times and never given up on me, but Dora was the greatest gift she could have ever given me.

For the remainder of the pregnancy, my mom had six surgeries on her kidney, each time the doctors took extra precautions to keep Dora safe. They inserted stents into her kidney multiple times but as Dora grow she kicked at the stent causing massive bleeding. My mom’s final treatment was using a Nephrostome bag. (This was a pipe that inserted through her backside into her kidney. Since one kidney was not functioning, her urine would filter out into the bag. I was at UW-River Falls and could only come home on the weekends. That’s when my mom was able to shower. We had to put a shower guard on the tube so it wouldn’t get contaminated. The one time I couldn’t be there, my dad placed the guard, and my mom ended up in the hospital. That’s how much my mom suffered for me to keep this baby alive. (She never gave up, and either did Dora!).

When I came home every weekend, it was a burden for my dad. I didn’t know how to drive, I would manage to get rides from friends, but I needed someone to bring me home. He wasn’t too happy about it, but I needed to be there for my mother and that tiny baby growing inside her.

As Dora grew inside my mom, she always gave me secret hints that she was going to be ok. My mom recalls times when she could feel Dora moving inside her, the minute I would talk, Dora would stay still until I was done talking. If I left the room, she’d kick my mom’s stomach until I returned. There were times when I would speak to my mom’s womb, and I’d see a tiny little knee or foot imprint pushing through my mom.

It was her, “I’m here Ishika, don’t worry, I’ll be out soon!”

The anticipation of meeting Dora was what kept me going. I stayed in the hospital with my mom every chance I could. The nurses had to monitor Dora’s heartbeat while my mom was in the hospital, and while I slept I could hear, Don’t worry Ishika, you’ll get to meet me soon!”’

Before Dora was born, I told my family that pre-med wasn’t for me. It was a little heartbreaking for everyone, but my mom stayed supportive all the way, but my confidence was still low. I didn’t think I was good enough to be there for Dora, and I tried to give up on life, I attempted to end my schooling and escape to another country. I feel so stupid saying that now.

My mom never gave up on me; she told me I didn’t have to return to River Falls, but I needed to get my act together and get myself into a local University. Let’s just say I didn’t even take that seriously until I got the news on February 22, 2015.

Even though my mom’s nephrostomy bag was freezing and her kidney was failing, my mother gave birth to a healthy little girl named Audhora Maimuna Huq, the name I got to choose.

And on February 23, 2015, there she was that little munchkin. When the nurses brought her to the room, she was asleep. She looked like a tiny porcelain doll sleeping in her toy crib. I didn’t want to wake her up, so I didn’t hold her right away, but when I put my hand on that little munchkin’s blanket, she knew I was here.

She opened her eyes right away and looked at me; I knew what she wanted to say, See Ishika, I’m here, I told you I’m coming for you now that I’m here show me how to live my life!”


The single greatest moment of my life was when I met my baby sister. She didn’t see my mistakes; she didn’t see my bad decisions, all she saw was her big sister waiting for her to save me.

Since the day I met Dora, I started to take school more seriously. I managed to get into North Hennepin Community College where I discovered my interest in Communication Studies. From North Hennepin, I transferred to Saint Catherine University and received my Bachelors of Science in Communication Studies.

My relationship with my family has grown significantly, and I’m the elder sister my siblings love. I also got my driver’s license on Dora’s first Valentine’s day. My dad was so happy he purchased my first car on Dora’s first birthday. My mom still has kidney complications and her health has weakened significantly, but she’s tries to stay healthy for all of us, especially for our little munchkin.

I live every single day for Dora, to show her I can do it! That little munchkin never gave up on me even inside my mother. She stayed strong through the surgeries and the pain because she knew that I needed her.

I hope Dora understands how much she changed my life one day, I tell her every single day, but come on! She’s only five, what do you expect? She knows that she’s special to me, and I guess that’s all that matters.

Even the tiniest little person can have the strongest heartbeat with a lot to say. Thank you, Dora, for saving my life and guiding me all the way.



Seeing your soul in the people I love

posted in: Family, Journey of Love | 0

Eight years ago today I lost my Nanna, (maternal grandfather). I still remember the scenario like it was yesterday. I was in my senior year of high school about to attend my physics class when my younger sister Rayka ran to my locker. Ishika did you hear? Nanna died?


The last photograph with my Nanna August 2007.

I’m going to sound horrible, but I didn’t cry. I was in complete shock, my body became numb, it felt like I was day dreaming. We knew that Nanna was suffering for years, he had Parkinson’s diseases. We just didn’t realize it he would leave us so fast.

It wasn’t until I saw his body the following day in Illinois when I realized my Nanna’s soul had left this Earth. And even then I couldn’t cry.

Looking back, I realized why I didn’t cry. I was always with him. There was never a time when I didn’t spend time with him, and it was time for him to rest in peace.

I had an incident on New Years Eve when it was just my Nanna and me. He had broken his hip, so he was bed ridden. The Parkison’s disease also got the best of his mind, and it was slowly deteriorating. He always remembered who I was, though, I was his eldest grandchild, and I like to believe that I was also his favorite.
I was getting his dinner ready for him; Chicken, rice, some veggies, lentils, and water. I brought the tray up to his room. My mom told me not to leave his side when he ate, but I needed to go to the bathroom. It was literally five minutes, ok probably a couple minutes more.

I came back, and the plate was complete upside down! The tray covered with water, and there was a drumstick in the water glass! I know right! And my Nanna, well he was just sitting there smiling like a cheeky little five-year-old, the kind of look I see in Dora’s face. And when I say five-year-old, well I asked him how it happened, and his response, “I don’t know.”

Don’t worry I cleaned everything up, but till this day I always remember his cheeky little smile.

It wasn’t until today when I couldn’t control my tears anymore. My mom wrote a piece about how she missed him and how she wished that he was here meet Dora, to see me as a bride and to meet Shehab for the first time.

I see a lot of my Nanna in Shehab.
I see his soft heart.
His need to make me smile.
How no matter how stubborn I get, he’s always there to handle it. However, nothing beats my Nanna.

I can still recall a memory from my childhood; I’m not sure why but I became quite angry with my Nanna. I took all the lotion and perfume bottles on the dresser, and I threw them on the ground. My Nanna just stood there watching me. Afterward picked up each item and just hugged me.


This photo was taken in Bangladesh January 1992 

Don’t worry Shehab has never experienced one of my childhood tantrums, he has experienced some mean yelling sprees, though.

My Nanna never gave up one me; he always made me like I was the most beautiful, confident and strongest woman in the world.

Sometimes the people you miss with all your heart shine through the people you love the most.  I see my Nanna’s heart in my husband’s soul and his cheeky little smile in my baby sister’s smile.