Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem
I’m not sure what to say or think as I am more unmoored than ever. Quite literally this time.
We went on holiday back to Sri Lanka mid-April, hoping to return to the US mid-May. In time to prepare for an American Ramadan. But instead, due to visa issues I won’t go into here (because it’s boring and perhaps sensitive), we’re here in Colombo still.
Why do I feel like I’m on a desert island?
I have a nanny for Isa. And since we’re living at my in-laws’ place, they have a maid to help with cooking too. So essentially, I am duty-free.
What a privilege, what an honor, what a blessing. Man. I pray every day for these beautiful women for giving me a rest.
See? Unmoored. No longer full-time mom, only mom when I feel like it. LOL. No longer stay-at-home because we’re not at home. In fact, we’ve broken the lease on our beautiful apartment in Denver and it’s being cleared out as we speak.
No, all I have to do this Ramadan is be as Muslim as I can. Harder than I thought it would be.
You see, Ramadan has often been about facing our physical demons. Tiredness for me, hunger for my husband. Even before I was a mom, I was more tired than anything else. Now I’m face-to-face with the real demons. Anger. Judgement. Self-hate. Laziness. Fear. Lack of trust in God. Guilt for shirking what I consider my ‘duty’ – cooking and taking care of Isa. And plain old meanness.
With all other things quietened down to a large extent, I’m free to hear the voices in my head. And oh, they are some real cows. I can’t believe how unkind I can be to myself. And consequently to others. Or just plain oblivious to the suffering of others, including my son.
I’m trying to be kinder. And more loving. And more trusting of God. But it isn’t easy.
The point of Ramadan for me, I’ve found (please don’t quote me on this, just a writer, not a scholar), is to figure out who I am in the face of adversity. I’ve figured out that I want to love people as much as I can. And be kind as much as I can. But that however starts with me. If I can’t be kind to myself and acknowledge my pain, how can I be kind to others?
The first week of Ramadan was the first time I had no nanny for Isa since we came here. Child started shirking bedtime, going to bed sometimes at 10:00 pm or later. He’s also a toddler now, so keeping up with him is challenging. And he’s gotten a little clingy as well. So that means carrying his 20-pound little body a whole lot. A little difficult on a fasting body.
I found myself getting grumpy and unloving with my little monkey. I would ask my husband my husband for help and would often get it. But anger and anxiety killed any gratitude and real rest I got.
Poor little bug.
Before things got really bad, another nanny appeared, due to stay till the end of Ramadan. I don’t know how things would have turned out if I hadn’t gotten a nanny. Chances are, he and I would have found some sort of rhythm. But I wonder if the damage to both of us would have been too far gone before that.
I wonder if I would have gotten resentful and morose and despairing and anxious. And hopeless and depressed and suicidal. I’m very ashamed to say, it wouldn’t have been the first time.
I’m going to try to be kind. To learn about God and to trust him. To read and to love His word. To forgive myself and forgive others. To do the best I can and work my very hardest at being kind, generous and loving with whatever resources I have that day. Be it a lot or a little. That’s who I want to be in the face of adversity. That’s even why I write.
It’s the best I can do. And then some probably.