Something ordinary

We awoke today at around 08:00am. Given that I only slept for a few hours after the dawn prayer and its Ramadan I wanted to desperately retreat into my bed. Alas! my daughters thought differently. Whilst lying down I remembered that my eldest daughter was given a project to complete. It was centred around a story called ‘Jasper and the Beanstalk’ and she was asked to make a flower that could be placed upon a display.

Reluctantly, rising from the bed I decided to make this into a lesson about growth and related it to Ramadan. However, as we began preparing, drawing, tracing, cutting, gluing, sticking, taping and finally painting (long list I know) subconsciously my mind had already made other links. My husband clambered down the stairs and sat down beside our youngest daughter and I could not wait to inform him of my analogy.

So I began explaining. When I came downstairs I looked in the storeroom for miscellaneous items that could be used. I thought it would be good to do this to encourage the use of materials at home. I then asked my daughter what does a flower look like and she found a flower hair slide to answer my question. Then the three of us went about preparing the items we would require for the activity. Similar to this we are recommended to prepare for this month, not just spiritually but physically and mentally. Although, we may not prepare in terms of gathering items like my daughter did, we do prepare for the meal after we break the fast and this is a blessing that Allah has given us.

Once we sat down we began to draw around the shapes that we had found. Now going on a tangent when I do things with my children I like to encourage autonomy. I do this for their own sake but recent research into child development promotes child lead activities. This is also promoted in Islam. As we are encouraged to raise our children with independence, be it through attempting the salaah or praising them for doing a good deed (this is another topic I will write about in another post inshallah.)

Anyhow going back to what I was writing about. As my daughter drew around the shapes to create the petals (which were in an array of colours), she started to cut around the lines and then we assembled them. In the process my daughter could not wait and was eager to simply paint. On seeing the final piece she smiled. It made me think of Ramadan. This is because just like my daughter cut the paper to make the petals the first fast (for me anyway) is like a sharp cut- as we struggle. Some struggle as they have work, some struggle due to ill health, some struggle as they have young children and there are unknown struggles too. By the end we hope that our souls are rejuvenated and our spirituality is assembled (or reassembled in our case) like the flower its just that like my daughter we are eager to see the result and undermine the process which is not something ordinary.

 

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Anaphora and Cataphora

 

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I snapped this shot when Amanah’s ears were examained at the ENT department. Both sisters played in this small play area designated children whilst the parents waited. Its amazing the games young children can come up with. Safiya decided she wanted to play school’s , whilst Amanah took the decision to climb on and off the tiny chairs and tables. My husband and I sat back and watched them. I do not know what my husband was thinking but I was silently supplicating at this time. It had been a turbulent year after having my second daughter. She was a blessing but with my health deteriorating unexpectedly I felt I had only reached this point with the aid of Allah. He had placed people in my life that I feel I owe much too. Their kind words and physical help with my eldest, and assistance with appoitments was very much appreciated. It lead to a quicker healing I believe I even said to my mum and mother in law at one point that without their supplications and tears I do not think I could have recovered (I say this sincerely.) My husband too was great (though he had his moments.) After I began to heal I began to be pro-active. I took up writing once more and small creative projects. I visited friends and parents more and made a silent oath I would prioritise more. Lo behold after a few months Amanah got an ear infection. No sooner did she get over her first one she got another one. In total she had nine consecutive infections which subsided just before Ramadan then came back after the month was over.

The nights seemed long when she had them and I was consumed by guilt. People would ask me how she got it and what caused it and I would think they had an undertone of blame. It took me a while to gain confidence and realise that I should not be giving as much importance and value to what they were saying. Spiritually it was only knowing that I was giving my children their rights that mattered the most. Alas it has taken me time to fully comprehend the tarbiyah of what my beliefs hold and it is difficult. Beliefs aside (not that I can really detach them) mums really do not discuss the emotions they feel and how lonely it can be. Admittedly I would be in tears in my room and then leave and put on a brave face and carry on with my daily tasks.

I have discovered that there are other mothers who feel like this, so I want to them to know that there is a way forward. Marriage, parenting are like the title they are anaphoric and cataphoric.