Baby learnt to suck his thumb! After two long months, nine short weeks he’s mastered the skill he’s been trying to accomplish since day 3. Day 3. Wow… so many,many moons ago. I could never have imagined the depth of love I’d feel as I stood next to his cot last night, watching him recatch his thumb as fast as G could pull it out.
There have been many times in recent months when I’ve felt so overwhelmed with love and gratitude for that love that all I’ve wanted to do is pray. That burning desire to prostrate and repeat the rhythmic, soothing Arabic vowels I’ve come to learn. A need to pray so fierce that I ache and know nothing but devotion will fill the gap. Yet there have been as many times where I’ve wanted nothing less than to run from the house in leggings and a T, my hair flowing loose, to find a cafe and sit, for a while, with a nice glass of red and a cigarette or two.
It’s normal to be scared, huh? At least once a day I find myself leaning over my sleeping babe, my heart in my throat as I strain to hear a breathe. I’ve been known to wake him unintentionally when I grabbed his sleeping body when I couldn’t see his chest move and more than once I’ve stood paralysed outside the door of the bedroom where he sleeps. Terrified to open the door…just in case.
It’s the same fear that holds me prisoner in the hallway that drives the desire to bikini shop; the same that underpins the aching need to pray and thank Allah swt for all the blessings He’s granted my life. I fear my faith, my undoubting belief in one God, for I fear if my fears came true I wouldn’t be able to forgive. The ritual prayer, the inflexible rules for an extensible context…practising my religion is what levels me out. It keeps me straight. It keeps me calm. On those days where my hand wont turn the handle and every hair on my neck’s on end, it’s that faith that opens the door. On those days following those days, it’s the fear that fastens the scarf that calms the soul.
As my fingers move here to type, M sleeps against my chest. Calm, I can feel his heart beat; I breathe deep the warmth of his scent. Outside, the call to prayer echoes round the neighbourhood, sung out from the new minaret on the mosque on our street. And underpinning it all – the peace, the elation, the unquestioned devotional love, is a rhythmic suck…one, two, suckin’ my thumb.