I was recently reminded of my very first Ramadan post and took some time to read and reflect on it. It amazes me how much has changed and yet how much has stayed the same… but even in staying the same, it seems that is still considered progress. This Ramadan I realised more than ever that there are so many different caps we wear as mothers –so many things we need to be– almost all concurrently… Mother. Cook. Teacher. Friend. Confidant . Doctor. Chauffeur. Cheerleader. Coach. Disciplinarian. Caregiver. Informal occupational therapist. Grow(th) Facilitator. You get the idea.
Growth is a by-product of change I would say…and we have!
Much has changed.
We are up by one number in our family as our daughter made her way to us (Finally!) and boy-(err girl?) has she turned things upside down and right side up for me. I am not entirely sure why things are so different with her, perhaps it because she is the daughter I had longed for (that doesn’t seem to look anything like me)…perhaps it is because I am such a different mother to her (patience levels that I never knew I was capable of)…perhaps it’s simply that with age I have become a little more comfortable in my abilities of being a mother (note I said comfortable not confident). Heck my boys seem to be doing ok… I think.
Much has stayed the same.
My boys are still…my boys. A little older, a little more understanding, a little kinder, a little more thoughtful, definitely more challenging, more boisterous but not surprisingly – still batting those long eyelashes, covered in dirt.
Our sehri still consists of me wedging a pillow next to my baba while I tip toe out of the room praying that she doesn’t wake while I’m shovelling spoonfuls of oats down my throat, in an effort to get something in my tummy in case she calls out for me. We still take turns to eat and pray so one of us is always available for her entertainment. I have more company at sehri now as Isa joins me every now and then. He has been very good at fasting, and remembering to not be miserable while doing so. He has made me very proud in the little person he is becoming.
Much has changed.
Our days are fuller, busier, noisier, and taking a nap while fasting is quite the juggling act in terms of time and number of children needing to be fed, and seen to. Iftar… well… Iftar is still an interesting time. Isa remembers and follows the rules fairly well, Lulu (our pet name for Zayyana) has managed to fit in somehow, walking around the table, picking food off each of our plates, ensuring Hamzah gives her whatever it is he is drinking and trying to feed herself, as well as anyone close to her.
Much has stayed the same.
Hamzah is still the entertainer, and boy can he entertain. I am not sure I have heard a child that is able to talk as much as he can. It is as if his mind is racing at 120km p/h and his mouth simply isn’t able to keep up. He just has a lot….A LOT … to say…and this is not limited to Iftar time. It starts from about 6am and continues throughout the day as he fills me in on all the on goings of his day. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing about it, and of course I love that he shares so much with me… I’m just not sure why he needs to share all the time…I mean literally all the time. No you don’t understand- let me give you an example: he feels the need to inform me of his bodily functions and that he requires the use of the bathroom as well as what he will be doing in the bathroom, before he even goes in.
Much has changed.
This Ramadan is a little different… it is definitely more inclusive now that the boys understand a little more. Isa has been fasting and I have been trying to teach them a little more this year. My aim is to teach them lessons that can be carried into life regardless of their age, this involves teaching them to be kind, we have a ‘Good deeds’ system going, where every day they are required to perform a small act of kindness. Well almost every day, I’m not superwoman you know 🙂 I have introduced a Sadaqah/Charity jar which we are continuously filling with coins or notes. The plan is that at the end of the month the boys will purchase food items and distribute it themselves to those in need.
We also have an Eid countdown calendar going to get them excited about Eid. This was a very sore point for me. Last year I realised that my children are experiencing a very different Eid in comparison to the Eid’s I enjoyed growing up. The atmosphere was electric, the family would all get together and enjoy tea, cakes, sweets while the children got to stay up way past bedtime in their special ‘Eid pyjamas’. Eid was a celebration of note! So last year I decided that I was going to make it as exciting as possible for them. We made Eid lanterns to decorate our patio; they enjoyed making homemade Eid cards for all the family members. I printed out an Eid Mubarak bunting that they coloured in and hung up on Eid morning. We ensured that every single guest that attended our Eid lunch left with an Eid gift wrapped and decorated by hand, each one individually beautiful. Our cakes had a mini Eid Mubarak bunting and Eid Mubarak tags. The kids had their very own table with personalised party packs- they also helped make up party packs for underprivileged children from a nearby madressah. Yes well, you kind of get the picture… we went Eid crazy! And I have to say… it worked!! The boys remember it so well and began to realise that just as their friends were excited about Christmas/Easter, this was IT for them! And they got two each year! They absolutely revelled in the glory of Eid Day.
And (amongst all the other roles already mentioned) this is just another one for a mother to fill – Good-memory-making-enabler. And that is a universal truth. We all want our children to look back and remember all the wonderful things that made up their childhood. Yeah ok, there may be a memory or two of being chased around the house with a wooden spoon (or rolling pin… or slipper… this is culturally dependant) but I guess there has to be balance- Right?
All of this reflection however, has brought me to a realisation… the realisation that your children will be passionate about the things you are passionate about. They will remember your passion. So have passion. Be passionate. They may be inspired to be as passionate about certain aspects in their own lives. They will remember the time you spent, the hugs and kisses, the sticking and glue-ing and glitter of happy days, the mess that was made, the bright colours, and smells and tastes that fill their minds, and all the fun that was had … and isn’t that exactly what we want? For them to remember their childhood with passion?
What better way to change this world but through them… so …is that not all we actually need to be?
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