Cutting Off the Umbilical Cord

You think you know yourself…till you hit motherhood.  Motherhood is the ultimate test of your love, patience, wisdom, emotions and of course your sanity.

Eesa was going through a terrible three’s tantrum phase.  He became quite difficult to deal with especially with me being pregnant.  I decided he needed to go to a daycare type program where he can socialize and interact with others.

Since he is a bit behind in speech and comprehension I didn’t think he was quite ready for pre-school.  Daycare seems to be a nice transition from home-to-school. I thought  circle time and play time with snacks in between would prepare him well for pre-K.

The thought of him being gone from anywhere between two to five hours seemed amazing to me.  It would be my break time, my “me” time.  I can concentrate on my part-time job, get my cooking and cleaning done, finish errands here and there and hey maybe even pick up a hobby or two if I managed my time well.

I was drooling thinking about all the time I would have, if you’re a mom then you know how much you can accomplish in a few hours.  The world was waiting for me.

My mother thought it was ironic how ecstatic I was about Eesa starting daycare.  I guess a full time toddler and a rough first trimester really drains you.

The night before his first day of daycare, I was just looking at him sleeping.  When kids are sleeping, they look so innocent.  I instantly started to think, what if the daycare provider didn’t understand him and his own unique language.  She wouldn’t know that “mankin” actually meant “napkin”, “gadget” meant jacket, and “munk” meant kumbul (urdu word for blanket).

I started to get worried and wondered if I was rushing into this. The other part of me told me it is a part of life and this is actually good for him and would give him something to do.

The following morning went by smoothly, he was quite excited to carry heesabackpackis Skip Hop monkey back pack.

As I was driving, I told myself the plan would be to bring him in and stay awhile till he gets settled and then casually leave.  It would be smooth and easy on the both of us, or so I thought.

Well first off, that plan was not how day care protocol worked.  I walked in and the DCP (day care provider) told me that I should make it fast and leave.

I looked at her astonished.  “leave in front of him? just like that?”

I know he’s going to cry a little bit but he’ll be ok, thats the best method,” she exclaimed!

I began to panic, he would cry and I wouldn’t be able to do it.  I desperately began to look around the room and saw ABC magnets, I quickly pointed them out to Eesa.  As soon as he went towards them, I made a run for it.  I could hear him turn around and follow me but I didn’t look back.

One of the most difficult things I have ever done.

I walked out of there extremely upset and could not believe I just left my son like that.  All I could think about is how long he would cry for and would he be ok?

I called my sister for some comfort and of course she didn’t pick up, I call my mother and lo and behold Bob picks up (Side Note: I call my parents Amy and Bob, short for Ammy and Baba).

I told him what happened and his response was

yeah yeah been there done that, what you think we didn’t get upset when we used to drop you guys off? especially your sister, she used to cry and cry, it would break our hearts, but they get over it, its a part of life, you can’t keep him at home.”

Count on Bob to tell it like it is.

I was tempted to text the DCP and ask about Eesa, but I didn’t want to be one of those moms.  Psh, well why not be one of those moms? He’s three for crying out loud!

Needless to say I did end up texting and he was doing fine, he cried for a bit and then started playing–Alhumdulilah.  The DCP was super sweet and understanding.

I, then realized this was the first step to letting go. For two hours that day I did not know what Eesa was doing.  To go from knowing their minute by minute schedule to not knowing what they’re up to for 120 minutes is a pretty big deal. Right now he’s gone for a few hours, then next year it’ll be six hours, then extra-curricular activities, then they might go away for college and you don’t see them for days maybe even weeks.  Lastly, they get married and then you’re officially out of the loop.

At that point, I would like to think I’ll be travelling the world and sipping on some virgin strawberry daiquiris in Sicily, but seeing as how being away two hours is tough, I can’t imagine more than that.

As Bob puts it, it’s a part of life

The Rise of Hijabi Bloggers

A phenomena of halal celebrities is beginning to arise and is taking the Muslim fashion scene to new levels. Women that we had never heard of are now common names among Muslimahs. These women have mastered social media, display unique fashion sense and some of them even maintain a side business.

Admirers of these various blogs and Muslim Fashionistas have said that they finally feel they can be fashion forward while still maintaining their religious identity.

But critics of these personalities say that the Muslim bloggers are in fact slaves to the fashion industry and are promoting the objectification and sexualization of hijab and modest fashion

Let me take you back ten years when I first started wearing the hijab. Triangular gray, black and white scarfs pinned at the neck with the two ends tied in the back. Anyone remember that one? That style and design was neither appealing nor attractive in any manner. It really was a struggle to wear it in high school when all the other girls looked so put together.

At that point had I seen some of the Amenakin (Pearl Daisy) hijab tutorials in which she beautifully incorporates the tikka, (decorative jewelry that hangs in the middle of the forehead) I wouldn’t be awkwardly stumbling around Pakistani weddings wearing a grandma style dupatta.

I know of many girls who take off their hijabs either before or after marriage, and in some cases may even feel hijab is the reason why they aren’t getting proposals. As Muslim women we have a fine balancing act, between modesty and beauty.

Having access to muslim bloggers who can offer creative ways to style modest clothes and hijabs  can be an asset. They are not self-proclaimed experts but normal Muslim women who usually have been approached by their fans to tell them about their skincare regime, weight loss tips and how to get that smokey eye right.

I may not agree with everything that Muslim fashion bloggers promote but I do think there are many ideas and tips which are creative and inspiring. The hijab and the act of dressing modestly is a personal journey for each women and it is something which each of us can improve on.

First Cousins-First Friends

First cousins are some of the first friends you have.  It can be a wonderful relationship that is made up of countless memories. Cousins are probably the only ones who know how crazy your family is, all the drama that takes place and the inside gossip.  You don’t have to be embarrassed in front of your cousins when your parents are yelling at you because chances are they are getting yelled at as well.

Both my parents are the eldest in their families, which means my sister and I are one of the oldest amongst the children on both sides.  I even have cousins who are younger than my  3 year old son.  They call me what the rest of my younger cousins call me, “bajo”.  I treat them just like I treat my son, like babies! I would consider them more of my son’s cousins than mine.

Then theres a group of cousins who fall into the ‘cool-young’ category, the group that you actually feel young and hip around (or at times the opposite).  It was even cool to see the younger ones transform from cute to annoying to super cool. (i.e becoming class president, having meetings with NYC mayor etc)

What  makes cousins even more special is if they are close in age.  I had a few cousins that were very close in age and with them we have had the best of times.  There was this one time where the five of us (4 girls and 1 boy) wanted to watch a movie, we all rented a movie of our own choice and had a grand movie marathon.  Turns out one of the movies was ‘adult-rated’, of course we immediately turned it off and ended up getting stomach pains from the non-stop laugher.

For me, my cousins were the only people who I had childhood slumber parties with.  Our slumber parties would consist of quietly listening to bollywood music, watching movies, Monopoly, Kings, Antakshari, Name-Place-Animal-Thing (such a long name for a game!), and of course card games such as spit, rummy and spoons.  We also recorded ourselves doing silly dances and singing songs.

Unfortunately one thing i’ve noticed is that these ties between cousins often get damaged because of family drama. Parents should not let their issues get in the way of their children and nieces/nephews.  Making cousins feel that they are competing against each other leaves children/adolescents feeling jealousy, bitterness and hostility towards each other.  Creating this distance means your children won’t get to experience some of the best times in their lives with some of the best friends they will ever have.

I feel it is more important for us to be closer to our cousins now a days since we have such small families. I know in our parents generation we had four aunts and three uncles which meant big family bashes.  But since people are having less kids, this means our family Eid get togethers would only consist of one other aunt or uncle.  This is why we need to maintain our ties of kinship, so our family get togethers consist of 1st 2nd and even 3rd cousins.

This past Eid was one of the first Eids after a very long time that all the cousins were there.  Due to marriages, colleges, work and conflicting schedules Eids aren’t always spent together.  This Eid there was a total of 19 cousins ranging from the ages of 10-31.

There is a special bond between cousins and I would hope that Eesa gets to enjoy with his cousins the same way I have. I can already foresee my son and his two cousins-Hasan and Ali having a blast together insha’Allah, I can also foresee a lot of trouble, ruckus and mischief.

May Allah SWT make our bonds of kinship strong and everlasting.  Ameen