Ramadan Kareem!

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Today is the seventh day of Ramadan, the Holiest month in the Islamic calendar. Ramadan is the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed. It is a month when all Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. Yes, no food no water until we hear the Adhan of Al Maghrib prayer (The call for the evening prayer, which is right at sunset). Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, so you can imagine how big of a deal it is. For me, Ramadan would mean fasting a little more than 15hours, in this weakening  heat, with a toddler running around the house, demanding to have his daily routine undisturbed, and needs to be kept entertained at all times and of course safe and whole. This is not my first time fasting with Adam, last year he was 5months old, he wasn’t walking or even crawling yet, he wasn’t eating solids or talking! This year the fasting experience took a completely new meaning -since Adam is now 15 months- and it is not a joke people! This is torture! Imagine you wake up in the morning, still very sleepy but can’t have that cup of coffee, then you feel your energy level dropping down while your little rascal is just getting started! These were some of my thoughts this morning, they kept on floating in my mind until I STOPPED myself, disgusted by my own thoughts, and I redirected my thinking to the million other people who do this every day -not just a month every year- Who don’t do it by choice! I sure know that at 6:32pm, I will have a table full of treats and good stuff waiting for me to dig in, but they don’t, of course they wish they could, but here is the thing: THEY CAN’T! Here I am, complaining about how tired, hungry, thirsty I am (because I am fasting), while millions of other people, have to go through this every day of their lives! Ramadan is sure the holiest arabic month, and the month when the Quoran was revealed, but most importantly, it is the month where everyone is supposed to feel for others, to know what it is to be starving or thirsty yet can’t do a thing about it! Since I became a mother, my perspective of life completely changed, I became not only Adam’s mom, but somehow, the mother of all children in this world! No one chooses their parents or their children, so yes God gave me Adam, but any of those unfortunate kids could have been mine, and the thought of having one of my kids feel what i have been feeling every day since Ramadan started, kills me, it breaks my heart, it tears me up! No kid should ever starve! So at exactly 6:32pm, when i would take a date and say a prayer -because God said that anybody who fasts and says a prayer while breaking his fast, his prayer shall be answered- So yeah I say a prayer, I pray that every kid in this world have something in their plate. Something to fill their tiny stomachs! Something to keep them from feeling what I felt today and every day of Ramadan!

So Ramadan is more about challenging yourself in being good, being better, because you have no excuse, Satan has been locked up, and it is just you, the good you, versus the bad you! From the minute you wake up, you have to work on yourself: be kind, be generous, be humble, be honest, be nice, be right… etc! No gossip, no cheating, no laziness and a whole list of NOs! Because remember, you will not be able to blame it on Satan, if you cannot do it, then you are the only sinner!

Ramadan is also about family, my memories of Ramadan as a kid, consist of family gatherings and friends visits; a thing that I miss so much, miles away from home! I remember going with my parents to visit relatives that we haven’t seen in a long time, because it is Ramadan! I remember my dad taking out the phone book, and call all his brothers, sisters, cousins and even distant relatives, because it is Ramadan. I remember my mom making sweets and taking them to her sister, because it is Ramadan!

It is amazing what this month can bring to us, how can it make us a better us, even if it is just once a year! Because it is far better being good at least once a year than never be! So Thank You Ramadan.

Ramadan Kareem.

Ouiam

Memories…!! 

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Sometimes memories of mine are so vivid and so real that I can just close my eyes and go right there, be there, feel the same way I did then. Memories are a funny thing aren’t they? They change over time, shift and collapse! We hold on to the ones we want and the rest just dissipates into a hazy fog! And a simple song, smell or even a specific texture can evoke these forgotten memories! Mine are with me all the time, they are my happy place, and my stress defense mechanism. Whenever I am down, upset, or uncomfortable, I run to my childhood memories and seek refuge in them! I run to the days when my dad used to take me to the bakery next to his work and we would buy my favorite cakes, and eat them in the car; while talking about his work and my school, who said what, and who did what in my class, and it always felt like a guilty pleasure that I shared with him. I would also run to the summery quiet afternoons, all bundled up in my mom’s arms, probably too big for that already, while she is telling me a story after another, and I never seemed to be satisfied, always wanting to hear more about the turtle who sewed the napkin and married the prince or the spoiled princess who married the homeless man and learned how to appreciate life. (I think she used to make up these stories lol). The moral of these stories never passed unnoticed, I would never say it out loud but it taught me some valuable life lessons!  I would also run to the mornings where my sister would fill the bathtub with water, put my swimming costume on, and pretend to put salt in the water because I have insisted on that so it feels like seawater! (Now how hilarious is that)! There are also the afternoons spent with my brother, eating dates while he gave me massages! It was so exciting because I felt like a grown up, I would close my eyes and tell him whether the pressure was good or not and he would say, “yes Ma’am”, and once done I would tip him with imaginary coins and say goodbye! Or when he would insist on turning me into a monkey because he was a magician and I would run terrified to the mirror to check if he succeeded in his mission! My favorite memories though, would have to be the ones with my grandma! (May her soul rest in peace). She would take some old clothes and transform them into these beautiful princess dresses that I would wear proudly, sit on the table with her and enjoy our tea parties! We would talk and sing and she would tell me stories about the past, most of them would make my jaw fall, because everything in her stories was so magical and new!

I also remember weekends spent at my aunt’s house! It was a mixture of cooking, makeup and acting classes. (I should specify that I was only  seven by then lol) my aunt would bring a chair to the kitchen, sit there and give me instructions, “pour the flour, OK enough!! Now go get two eggs from the fridge, don’t you break them…” I would have a little apron on that my grandma made for me, for occasions like these and i would be so happy I could cry! Then when my cousin comes home from work, she would bring her unwanted makeup and accessories, she would lay them on the floor and I would sit there dazzled not knowing from where to start! and when everybody gets busy i would sneak out and secretly head to the big mirror in the hallway, grab a comb and pretend to be a TV presenter!

Oh! and those summery evenings spent in the garden with my uncle playing on the “Oud” and all my brothers, sisters and cousins singing and clapping! Or the nights when the electricity would suddenly  go off, my dad would bring candles and my mom would get some sheets and we would pretend that we were camping! Until today whenever the electricity goes off, I get the same chill I used to get when I was a child!

These memories are so dear to my heart! They remind me of a precious time of my life that I owe to every member of my beautiful family who have worked so hard to make my days and nights filled with joy, beauty and laughter. These memories have become the essence of my sanity! And somewhere in the future when Adam will be all grown up, and think back to being little, I hope  he will remember some precious memories too, and they will be his happy place too, I try to make these everydays count , to be present and to make the ordinary extraordinary, the regular somehow special!

Ouiam