I would like to be with family and friends. Staying up and eating with them. Sometimes company is a driving force. My family is a great one. I want to feel the breeze hit my face as we drive back from the city on the weekends.
Context: My Ramadans are spent with my family. That’s usually how everyone spends their Ramadan. My immediate family and I live approximately 45 minutes away from our extended family. Over the years, after moving we created this tradition of driving all the way to the city every Friday and/or Saturday just so we can break fast and pray Taraweeh1 with them.
My mom would rush home from work to shower and get dressed and we would drive off in a hurry. Mom even made a rule because it was always a treat: If we wanted to go my brother and I would have to be dressed before she arrived. All of my grandmother’s offspring and their offspring, and even their offspring would make their way over to the same masjid2.
We would all wait in line to be served food3. Then, sit on the floor and enjoy a meal. After it was all over in the dead of night my mom would drive us home. I would always sit in the front seat making sure my mom was okay behind the wheel, but enjoyed the breeze as it permeated through my hijab. There was a certain peace to be gained from it all. Meanwhile, my brother was always too busy leaving a trail of drool in the backseat. Now, living alone and quite a distance from them I have to be my own driving force.
It’s not the first time I missed out on a few special occasions with my family, but that was because I was studying. Now, I’m working so my responsibilities and social behaviors have shifted. There is no meal waiting for me on a table or even people to share it with. People are adults now and have their duties. School, at the very least was a cushion that would fulfill at least a little bit of my social needs on those occasions. My roommate or my other friends were just a few feet away. As a result of my solitude I have developed more of an appreciation for those traditions. A couple of years not partaking in them was not such a big deal, but now having to spend my days working, fasting, cooking, cleaning, & praying without them I ache to participate. I think my favorite aspect of it all was being around the kids. A couple dozen of them would run around and eventually retreat to our family area. I remember force feeding them each time they sat near me as their parents would always complain beforehand that they needed to eat. And in between that there was always much chitter chatter. The togetherness of it all was something I always cherished.
1. optional prayers made later in the evening by Sunni Muslims
2. Masjid is the correct term for a mosque
3. lots of masjids have families that spend their day cooking to feed those that are fasting