Its been just under 2 weeks since Ramadan ended. School supply lists have arrived, calendars are being updated, extra-curriculars are being arranged and I need to wrap up last month before I can focus on looking ahead.
We need to talk about the stuff. Right? How did it go for you? New this year was that Kate now joined us for suhoor. She’s still learning and practicing. Last year she did a more abbreviated fast, from lunchtime to iftar and this year she decided to attempt full days. I gave her suggestions from time to time, but she was in the driver’s seat and she did so well. She didn’t skip any full days, and only did a handful of abbreviated days. This was a big step for her to take and while I’m so proud of her, its another reminder that she is growing so fast.
This was Pea’s second year waking for suhoor and she was such a role model for Kate. Helping her decide what to eat, reminding her that protein was important for the whole day and spending many hours together playing and keeping each other occupied. Pea was excited to be able to fast. She takes immense pride in her fasting and loved the schedule of waking early in the morning…and listening to The Quran throughout the house.
I watched the two of them together and wished that Khaled’s mother was able to see them. She was always soo delighted to talk to them and listen to their stories. It was very important to me that she see my girls growing up to be good Muslims. It is a constant worry of mine that I’m going to miss something that they should know. Something a Muslim mother would know that I don’t. Something that is essential…I wanted her to be proud of the job I’m doing with them.
The long month was difficult on Mr. Fox. Not soo much because of the fasting, because he’s been doing full days for a few years now, but because a lot of his friends had busy schedules and they didn’t coincide with his energy level. Many of them were volunteering; working or playing sports and I didn’t want to put him in the position of using up all of his energy, tasking himself too much or getting sick, so I didn’t sign him up for any activities. His closest Muslim friend was travelling overseas this summer. They sent random messages but that did little to occupy the long hours. I tried to keep him busy, but quite a lot of his time was spent alone. I have so few years with him home left…I feel like any time not spent engaging him is wasted.
Next year, I’ll do better.
Prior to the start of Ramadan, I was working on tearing down wallpaper and washing down walls so I could paint. I wanted to have the foyer painted so I could invite a few families over for Iftar. My idea was this: each one of us could choose a friend we wanted to invite, so every weekend we would have guests. I had asked JJ and her family, I thought we might invite some Christian friends to join us this year…Khaled’s friend, friends of the ladies.I talked to my people about those plans in anticipation of them giving me names, building the excitement. They didn’t want to invite any non-Muslims. They said it would be too weird and they wouldn’t understand. The friend that Kate wanted to invite, well, I never got around to asking…and the friend that Pea wanted to invite was away visiting family. We did have Aunty Anne over and JJ. We made plans with Khaled’s friend but they ended up cancelling. The neighbors that have lived behind us for so many years were not home during Ramadan this year, so we didn’t exchange many plates with them. When they returned, there were new people in the house. I don’t know what happened to our friends.
We attended every community iftar at our home mosque. After the first success of the month, we thought that maybe it would be okay this year. After that first time, the Aunties and the nieces recognized me and didn’t question if I belonged. They just gave me jobs to do and let me help set up the tables. Each Saturday night, more people I knew were there and we ended up saving seats for friends to eat together. To be honest, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I kept my eyes open for something to go sideways. I kept my guard so just in case, I’d be ready. But nothing really happened.
One weekend after the tables had been cleaned up and we were passing out cupcakes to the children, one Aunty from Saudi Arabia cornered me with her two daughters. Inquiring where I was from…and telling me that her son was studying engineering at the university. No sooner did that leave her lips and I pointed out to her my husband, and my children.
She quickly moved away.
I also got the ‘when did you become Muslim?’ question. I’m sure it is because I wear my hair mostly covered when I’m inside the mosque. I dodged the question. I didn’t want to go there. It would only have led to more questions and I just didn’t want to make myself an outsider when I was finally being included.
We took the family on a short trip last weekend for Eid, and they had gifts to open after we returned from the Eid prayer. We are trying to get back to a normal sleeping schedule, but often I find myself reminding the children to eat during the day. They forget that they can eat freely again.
And now that I’ve shared with you my Ramadan, I can focus on the weeks ahead. I can start preparing for new schools and riding buses. I can focus on new schedules and work assignments. I can begin preparing for Hajj Day Outfits and the next holiday.