Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Holding Myself to Account

Motherhood must be the most complicated form of worship on earth.

There is no room for reflection, no time outs, no lunch breaks, no helpers. It requires such stamina and draws upon every reserve of strength in the soul. Constantly on duty, watching, protecting, nurturing, holding, feeding, staying awake--I can make all of this a lifelong act of worship to the One Great Creator. Or, I can be oblivious, go through the very same moments of sweat and tears and joys, and end up with no reward in the end. It is my choice.

To make motherhood worship requires a tremendous exertion of mindfulness and watchfulness. That mental and spiritual state requires such courage and necessitates so many changes to my habits that I resist and fall into habit. It is so much easier to go with the flow, react instead of initiate, live second by second and just wait for bedtime.

But, in this time of reflection and preparation for Ramadan, I am trying to think of ways to improve that aspect of my life; ways to increase my watchfulness, dedication, and self-awareness as a mother.

I can't let all of this to go to waste.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What happens?

I was reminded by my sister-in-law of this poem. One of my favorites.

Dream Deferred

by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Please, Poppa, Come Home

This morning, Moona marched into the kitchen, opened the dishwasher, pulled out a soup spoon and a ceramic bowl, and marched out. I was on the phone but was cut off by some terrible clanging from the front at the house.

I ran to the dishwasher, pulled out a small frying pan, and replaced the bowl with a more suitable, less breakable clanging item. Moona commented as I walked away,

"I am helping Abee. I need to help abee." She had opened the blinds in the living room at the front of the house and was looking expectantly out of the window. BANG. CLASH. WHACK. CLASH. SMASH.

Still on the phone with my mother, I did not try to make sense of this and moved away from the clammering.

It continued interspersed throughout the day. In between dancing, reading stories, dumping the bathroom wastebaskets, lathering little sisters' dry hair with conditioner, and baking bread, Moona every so often told me she had to help abee. And she picked up the frying pan and spoon, walked to the front of the house, and started clanging.

"I have to help abee. So abee comes home."

And then the seemingly meaningless activity dawned upon me and became the cutest little gesture I had seen in a long time. Two weeks ago, at my parents' home, we watched a very clean, nice movie Love Comes Softly about a family living on the prairie. In one of the scenes, the father has to go out in a blinding snowstorm to find his wife. He gives his daughter a gun and tells her to shoot it in the air if he doesn't appear in ten minutes (so that he can find his way back to the cabin through sound). The daughter waits ten minutes, then opens the door and shoots the gun into the air until there are no more bullets. Panicked, the girl runs into the house, grabs a frying pan and the spoon and starts frantically banging into the wall of snow outside her door. The father, carrying his unconscious wife, appears a few moments later.

I started chuckling, called my mother to tell her the story, and we had a good laugh. Then I pulled Moona to me and explained to her that Abee knew how to find his way home.

I was surprised that she understood the meaning of the girl's actions in the movie, and that two weeks later it was so pressing in her mind.