This year, inshallah, I’m doing Ramadan right. I’m not talking about the fasting part. Alhamdullah I have the no eating, no drinking think down pat. In fact, as much as I love partaking of food and drink on a regular basis, when Ramadan comes around I seem to go into kind of strange state where I sail (somewhat!) easily through the hunger and the thirst and I just get it done. It’s in that spirit that I say again, this year I’m doing Ramadan right.
Let me explain.
Last year, as in the past few years and the ones to come, Ramadan fell in the summer months. That being said, we all know what summer’s supposed to be about, right? It’s supposed to be about vacations, playing outside until the street lights come on, and, for those us of parents who hang with the kids all day, taking them out on special outings. At least, that’s how summers usually go down in my house. But last summer? Last Ramadan? It was a sad and much different story.
Last year I stayed up way too late at night and slept in way too long in the mornings. And what were my kids doing during my late-morning snooze fests? They were soaking up an endless stream of readily available cartoons. Gotta love Netflix right? Uh, not so much. Each morning as I dragged myself out of bed, lethargic from a late night spent eating, followed by sleep and then an early-morning suhoor spent eating again, I would be dismayed to see my little ones splayed on the couch with vacant expressions on their faces as they shoveled dry cereal into their mouths.
The guilt was strong, and it’s not happening this year. This year I’m doing Ramadan right.
Of course some things will stay the same. I will take time to make a nice iftar meal for my husband and I to enjoy, and I will allot some quiet moments for prayer and spiritual studies after the kids are tucked away in bed. However, I will not be lingering long into the early morning to snack or do petty things because I feel I have to make the most of my non-fasting time. Not only does this have absolutely nothing to do with the importance of Ramadan, but, in doing so last year, it amounted to mommy not accomplishing much during the day. Our Ramadan was sorely lacking in quality summertime fun. Sure I made efforts to bring the kids swimming, but how did that differ from any other day when I was feeling lazy and my only requirement to ensure my kids’ enjoyment was to park myself poolside? As I recall there weren’t many trips to the library or afternoon outings to our favorite indoor playground. And why? Because I had wasted half the morning lazing around and, after taking my sweet time to get dressed for the day and putter around on the Internet or complete necessary housework, I’d find the afternoon had nearly evaporated and it was soon time to start preparing dinner. The cycle was endless.
However, because of the unique circumstances a summer Ramadan brings, I suspect I’m not alone in my failings. I think a summer Ramadan brings difficult challenges to those us of who are fasting and faced with the prospect of entertaining kids all day long. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying children have to be engaged every moment of their waking hours, but my lethargy and inactivity last year were extreme and, not only did it bring us all down, it most certainly didn’t lend itself to creating any special Ramadan memories.
That is the part that hurts the most. I fear my kids’ earliest memories of Ramadan, this most special of times for Muslims, will be punctuated by a picture of their mom shuffling to the kitchen only to belatedly remember there is no coffee to be had at 10:37 in the morning no matter how much she wills it to be so.
So yeah, this year’s it’s going to be different. I’m going to sleep at night a little earlier, limit my slumber to light snoozing after suhoor, and I’m going to do my best to generate some energy to spend some quality, summertime-style fun time with those I love the most.