On Wednesday, as M scaled a wall he’s been reaching toward all summer.. “I deeed it Mummy, I deeed IT!”… the first autumn leaves framed the sky above his head. Without warning those everyday moments we’ve just been busily living are ready to be filed into time and our first Iznik summer is done.
This summer draws in with Ramadan at it’s tail, the precious month when we welcome wholeheartedly faith into our everyday life and promise to keep its strength the whole year. The past few years, through pregnancy and tandem feeding Ramadan has felt somewhat elusive – just as motherhood can. This year, while Pinterest crafts lay unattempted on a harddrive and Qu’ran bookmarks moved slower than the pages should turn, I tried – again – to reconcile the two states that these time periods define. Ramadan passes. We watch the moon for its’ coming and going, we write it down log the dates, don’t forget. Yet motherhood. Those phases are logged too.
This Ramadan, while the devil was on lockdown and heavens doors flung open wide to us all, I tried to be present in the moon crescents of the lives of my babies. We may have failed to concentrate on the lives of the Prophets, to memorise Qu’ran, to even listen to its narration in entirety, but instead we concentrated on Islam’s littlest narrations on creating hearts wherein love of God abounds and knows Gods presence in their everyday. We watched sunsets drawn nightly by the universes’ greatest of artist, listened in closed-eye enchantment to compositions of wind whistling melodies in the reeds. We shared cookies with the neighbours and with gave thanks as we licked sticky chocolate fingers. We learnt to build towers as brothers, respect (all) people sleeping, to put the dirt back round the bases of trees. We took time away from devices, poured it into paints and papers and sat learning the value of cuddles. When we did open devices we appreciated time-outs and danced the dances on our afternoon walks. We chased dragons tails through the olive groves and ate the olives for our lunch ever thankful for the abundance and freshness on our plates.
This Ramadan, like this summer, we took time for the illusion it is. We hid in its illusions and span toes on its dial and now somehow Eid days are with us. The coffee pot’s singing and the cake slices are disappearing and the childrens laughter is ringing out louder.
This summer as Iznik’s freedom have enveloped us M has climbed his first tree and built a mountain. He’s becoming a bilingual translator for his brother running behind him and an expert at breaking into the fridge. He can count to five (in Turkish) describe feelings (in English) and kiss a hand touched to his head, Turkish style (iyi Bayramlar!). Meanwhile T, almost matching M in size, has become a toddler in his own (not so) little right. He hides himself under cushions calling out for M to find him, stands his ground in blanket-wars, is rendered awestruck at his own ability to drink water from a glass. When this morning M saw T kneeling and bouncing on the cushions he was preparing to scale, he ran toward him, arms outstretched “Ohhh Baaaby Tarka!” and wrapped those arms round him as T squeeled and threw his feet too around M as he answered the hug with his arms and I felt my heart implode in sparkles to bear witness to this multi-syllabled bond.
Ramadan has come and gone. Summer is turning into autumn. The fridge doors are crowded with pictures and our memory banks are squelching to the brim. In Islam when the calendar page turns and the leaves drop into glue-tacky hands, our whole lives are open and collage-ready and it’s in that those paper-mached prints that motherhood and childhood is bound. God gives us forgiveness to believe in ourselves, when we forgive ourselves we can sprinkle in hope. So each and every evening, when for those few minutes our home is in silence save the sweet bathings of dreamers in dream I pause and recollect the events of the day, let my mistakes remind me but then tuck them away, grateful that in motherhood I have a parenting partner.
As these summer days end I recall moments in the lake, delighting mostly for having spent them with my all favourite of men. In you three, my darlings, my hope springs eternal.
Eid Mubarak, from our home to yours.