The fast has gotten off to quite a good start so far. I have been trying to stick to my commitment of keeping meals simple and avoiding the all day slog that I usually get entangled into; with the odd treat (the quick and easy kind) in between, and appreciating the peace and tranquillity that comes with that.
The kids are bigger and fasting with so much more ease (obviously the shorter days help); and have settled into a routine of sehri (early morning meal), laughter and play, energy slump, regular prayer, iftaar (breaking fast), energy high and eventual collapse! Even little Zaydaan seems to be in the swing of things, waiting out the last 10 minutes or so with his older siblings for his samoosa reward, and providing many laughs with his “fasting” attempts.
This comes as a great relief to me, as my biggest fear as a young mother was always how I was going to get my kids to fast…How was I going to instil this discipline into my constantly ravenous kids, that would require them to abstain from food and water for an entire day! I was worried I would be a failing mother, that my kids would belong to the generation of those who don’t fast, that my role as mother would be futile because of failing at this one task.
Much like Zaydaan does now, the older kids started by waiting out the last 5min, which seemed eternal, until they could finally munch down a samoosa. 5min stretched to 10min and 10 to 15….and eventually the kids learnt to be silent and wait for the athaan (call to prayer and signalling the end of the fasting day). As they got older their version of fasting improved. Eat something, fast. Drink something, fast. Eat and drink and snack and treat, and then fast…and then wait it out for the athaan.
By 6, their version improved more. Breakfast, fasted till lunch. Lunch, and then fast till the end of the day. And then finally, they conquered a fully fledged day, and then pulled through a whole month. The point of this whole long story is, that this process taught me something valuable about fasting and about life…that, just as the kids progress was a gradual one, personal growth is also gradual and comes when fed with the proper motivation, knowledge and input. That growth is also constant, even when we think we have conquered it all; until the day we close our eyes, there is always opportunity to learn and grow.
In light of that, as a family we are using this month to improve a little bit of ourselves, conquer some demons, clean away some internal cobwebs, and grow; as individuals and as a unit. Just a week has passed, and one of my goals was to detach myself somewhat from the kitchen so that I can make better use of this oasis. I’ve been doing well so far…let’s hope I keep up my lucky streak!