Ramadan is different with kids. First of all, it's unquestionably harder. No more sleeping in. Nope, by the time suhoor is done and fajr is prayed and you finally feel sleep enveloping you-- you also hear the chirping of an 18 month old ready to begin his morning; and with a four year old whose naps are slowly going the way of diapers and sippy cups, the 16 hour days are felt. Each and every hour of them. Between chasing kids, shopping, preparing dinner- I will be lying to you if it all felt zen. It's hard, for me, it's very hard and as I'm prone to low blood sugar and blacking out I will be taking it one day at a time.
But there's the other side of Ramadan with kids too, a special joy I never knew about before having them. I've written before about the importance of making Eid special and how nice it is that we have an entire month to meditate and contemplate and appreciate and teach our children to do the same. This is also a beautiful month to create and maintain traditions with our families that pursue those very objectives. We are doing our crafts and activities from last year, but this year we decided to also make a Ramadan table.
I put up two simple floating bookshelves from Ikea to house our books and a henna red tablecloth and lanterns from World Market. Target had a sale on pretty bamboo lights so we lined the table with this and I bought small envelopes from Michaels and numbered them for each day of Ramadan and put in a small treat for each day, eaten shortly before bed after we list out all the good deeds we accomplished and all the ways we are thankful.
I framed a Ramadan countdown to Eid printed from Craftionary to cross off each day of the month and an original Ramadan multi-media art design courtesy of my eldest in Ikea frames.
I also put out a good deed basket where we record all his good deeds on popsicle sticks and read them at the end of the day before collecting his small enveloped surprise.
There will be conversations on religion and traditions and there will also be stained glass decorations, lanterns, baking and other fun daily crafts to consider and contemplate the joy of this blessed month.
A few weeks ago, running errands, I heard this song on the radio. I'm more of an NPR girl in the car but my kids insisted on music that day and it was strange, this song, how the words instantly sent tears to my eyes, I felt so moved I couldn't speak hearing the words: my salvation lies in your love.
Because, yes. In so many ways, yes. Ramadan is not an easy month, but it is a beloved month for exactly this reason. From the Almighty, to my parents, my husband, and to my children. Love is what life is about. And while love is beautiful-- love, like fasting, is not always easy. Sitting in the car, two kids strapped in car seats behind me, I felt the enormity of this love. The love that wakes me up earlier than I'd like. That makes pancakes and transcribes good deeds onto popsicle sticks. There was a time a moment like this was a moment I didn't know would ever happen so I'm thankful for a month in which to contemplate the enormity of love, and thankful for these two children who I get to pass on traditions and memories that they will someday look back on, perhaps forgetting the details of the countdown calendar or the popsicle sticks but will remember the love that enveloped them completely.