D’you know my final thought last night as my eyes shut, head nestled tightly into the nook of G’s arm? I forgot to soak the beans.
Last week was a little scary. I know M was ill, and I know we were snowbound, but it felt more than simply frustrations of a week tougher than most; it was like I’d lost my centre point, was tipping off-balance bit by bit.
Last week despite being home every day, not one scone baked in our kitchen, not one tortilla rolled. For the first time in a very long time, we ate by the skin of my teeth – yes it was homemade, ingredients fresh and somewhat healthy I guess, but they weren’t cooked with feeling, there was no cinnamon scent or stray crumbs asking to be tidied away. When my heart stops the cooking, it’s time to zone in.
Instead of baking or cooking or pondering our meals, time was wasted online. Instead of taking time out to paint, or to sew or to knead dough, I typed aimlessly. Deleted word after word. There was nothing to say, the words weren’t there to be written but I needed them out. Needed it out. Needed me back. Needed with every inch of my soul to be present in the here, to feel with M in the now. But I wasn’t; I couldn’t. I was floating somewhere close, real enough for him to touch, to see, to be with, but not here still. I’m so sorry, babyboy.
This morning, as you rolled over to occupy my warm space, stretching out in baby-slumber-land, I crept through to the kitchen, took the mason jar down and ran the cold tap. It felt good to soak beans. It feels great to be back.
Being your Mum, little one is the toughest job I know. Last week, I knew you were ill, could help you ease some of the pain, but your other stuff, your “I’m trying to say something you’re just not getting” your “don’t say no again, it doesn’t make sense”, your “I’m talking to you and you’re ignoring me Mum”, and your “I’m bored with you woman, please leave me alone”..that stuff, those feelings, frustrations, I couldn’t help you relieve. Felt I was letting you down. So I turned to the “books” to the experts, so to speak; instead of helping me reach you, MKM, they just sent me further away. “Socialise the child” says the books – With who? screams my reply. “Take him swimming” says another; You can’t my headscarf cries. “Take time out from each other your surroundings”, say them all. “Have you seen this f***in’ snow!” ….
So I read, and I cried, and I wrote it all down. Sometimes I’m stupid, babyone. The answers are never in pro-guides; there is no such thing. Books, experts, shrinks..they’re all there to inspire, to give us clues and advice; they don’t give us the answer; we have to find that one ourselves.
As the days drew to a close, instead of taking time for me, to unwind and to bake, I’d sit and write hoping it would all simply ebb away. Then one day, you went down for a nap and I didn’t turn on the computer. I washed as though to pray and took down the Qu’ran. Bismillahi-r rahmani-r rahim, began to read. It fell open to the story of Moses, when Allah first appears to tell him he’s chosen. Throw down your staff, Allah swt, commands; Moses watches as it slithers away, serpent in disguise. Moses picks up the serpent staff and it solidifies in his palm; a staff for all our eyes.
We never know where our nemesis lies, darling child. Often what we see when we view problem or solution is a veil on what’s real underneath. Never forget to look underneath, look deep inside, MK. What you find may be frightening but the answer lies there. Whether you live life as a Muslim or follow your own path to God, what’s important is your soul, your relationship within. Trust what makes you happy, live what lets you be. I am my own biggest demon, little one and I try hard week on week to keep my serpents far at bay. Please know, please always know, that if I seem far away or just not really here, that I’m not far away, that inshallah I’m coming right back.
And so this morning the beans got their soak. Tomorrow they’ll be stewed for 6 hours and we’ll all tuck right in, Baba, you and I. We may not follow the paths the books say to, MKM, but our own way’s pretty good. And if you like, when you wake up, we’ll bake muffins this snowy day, watch them cook and eat them warm. You still won’t give me five minutes, let’s make those every second count.