Happy Ramadhan

August 25, 2009

ramadhan moon

A Day in the Life

May 3, 2009

Woke up, prayed Fajr.

Enjoyed the quiet for a little while, read posts at Khadija’s and Lisa Vasquez’s blogs.

Gathered the children’s clothing, crept into the room. The plan was to get them dressed and get them out of the house so that the Mr FL could sleep in.  I needed to hit the Home Depot for plants, and the flooring showroom as we need to replace our carpet.  Just as I have them all dressed, I hear my dh moving around upstairs. I decide to let the kids see him before we go.  Of course, what was supposed to be no more than 5 minutes of talking to their Daddy and then kissing him goodbye turned into the usual Saturday m0rning, kiddie-and-daddy WWF.

My sons jump on him, and he pretends to body slam them on the bed. Tiny Toddler tries to get in on the action and laughs hysterically when she is lifted high in the air and then dumped on the bed for tummy kisses.  I alternate between looking on in amusement and watching “Renovation Realities” on HGTV.  We end up all leaving at the same time.  My sons keep shouting, “Don’t let Daddy get away” as we follow his car down the road for a bit.  He turns off to get gas, we keep on to the flooring store.

They sit quietly on the couches in the showroom for a bit. I am relieved.  However, that doesn’t last long. I find the carpet I want, then dither about shade selection, holding the paint chip next to this sample and then that. We finally leave the store with the samples so I can see them at home.

At the Home Depot,  Tiny Toddler fusses at her oldest brother when he tries to sit with the youngest two in the cart. “No!” she barks. “You can’t!”  I roll my eyes and tell him he’s too old to sit there anyway. He is not pleased. I pick up two plants and then struggle with a bag of mulch.  A flag holding employee sees, stops the guy driving the heavy equipment, and comes to my aid.  Chivalry isn’t dead.

We hit the grocery store, and come home.  The kids go play and boy did I need a break! I love them but running errands with lil kids is no one’s idea of fun.

Mr. FL comes home, and as we are discussing carpet choices, the little ones get into a box of EmergenC packets and make themselves drinks. And spill powdered vitamin C on the floor. Mr. FL suggests that I not wait to put items away so that they won’t make unnecessary messes.   He then scolds the oldest, who knows better. 

I help him put up a new chandelier in the dining room.  My younger son has fun climbing the ladder and “helping” his daddy.  My older son wants to go in the backyard to play with a new bubble blower he got from his grandma, Mr. FL’s mom.  I tell him he has to wait until I can go out too.  After a few missteps and alot of time spent holding my hands over my head, we get the chandelier up.  My son takes a pic of me with his dad’s phone. Man I’ve gained weight since I messed up my knee.  Mr. FL and I then spend time looking at the chandelier

These things can take awhile to put up

These things can take awhile to put up

from every angle trying to decide if it looks right and if it is correctly positioned.  This home improvement stuff always takes longer than you think it will.

Mr. FL takes down the light fixture in the foyer, but the new one we got is defective.  He takes a break before starting dinner. I clear the counter and get out the cutting board, vegetables, and canned tomatoes. He comes down and begins chopping. I head for the backyard to pick basil and oregano. Tiny toddler fusses to come with me, so I carry her out.  She has a great time picking herbs but nearly yanks the oregano out of the pot entirely.  Back in the kitchen, she insists on rinsing them for daddy.

He makes spaghetti. It’s delicious as usual.  Halfway through dinner I realize I forgot to make lemonade.

I put away the food, we sit on the couch and talk for awhile. 

I leave to pick up Mini-FL, she’s spent the day with friends. On the way, I listen to Heather Headley.  When I arrive, she’s bursting to tell me all about her day, then tears up a bit because one of her friends is moving.  On the way back, we pick up an oreo cookie shake from the ice cream shop per Mr. FL’s request.

At home, everyone has to be bathed and brush their teeth.  I put Tiny Toddler to bed first, then braid Mini-FL’s hair so it won’t tangle too much.  Younger son shrieks and struggles when I announce bedtime. Yeah. He’s overtired. I carry his fussy self upstairs, but once in the bed, he stops resisting and goes to sleep pretty quickly.

And after that, I was tired and ready for SLEEP!

Losing My Religion

April 6, 2009

 

losingmyreligionbook

That’s me in the corner

That’s me in the spotlight, losing my religion.

Trying to keep up with you…

and i don’t know if I can do it.

o h no i’ve said too much…

i haven’t said enough.

–R.E.M.

My Husband’s Hands

February 18, 2009

His hands throw our children in the air and tickle their tummies.

They thread chunks of chicken onto kabob skewers so he can grill us up some dinner.

His hands pull me in for a hug when I’m frustrated or sad.heart-in-hands

They put up curtain rods, they sometimes wash the dishes, they hold the door for me when we go out to dinner.

They have never struck me, or threatened to strike.

They have never closed around my neck, never yanked my head back, never shoved me into a wall.

Tell me, are his hands so rare in the world of Muslim men?

My Husband is Annoying

January 20, 2009

And so am I.

But I still love him, and he loves me.  Marriage is not at all “Happily Ever After”.  It’s more like, “Happily, Annoyingly, Ticked-off-ly, Blissfully, Wonderfully, Disappointedly, Amazingly, Mundanely, Passionately Ever After”  There are moments when he could just shake you and vice versa.  Annoying little flaws don’t disappear once you get married, you simply have the joy of living with them.  In your own little castle of love.castletopper1

You wonder, why after ten years of marriage he STILL doesn’t know which hamper is for whites and which one is for darks?  He wonders HOW you could have just gone to the grocery store yesterday, and TODAY have to stop on the way home because your baby is wearing her last diaper?  But you learn to (most of the time) ignore the little annoyances, even laugh at them.  After all, isn’t he the same man who held your hand, looked into your eyes and told you “You can do it” when you were in labor with your first child, (sans drugs)?  Who goes out into the cold and darkness every morning to work, so that you don’t have to?

And he remembers that you the same woman who cheerfully ran up and down the stairs about ten times an hour, fetching tea and tissues and soup and fresh-squeezed orange juice and Advil and extra blankets, and propped him up with pillows and plied him with vitamin C and echinacea when he was ill?  Who made his favorite meal, for no occasion at all, even though it makes a spectacular mess of the kitchen?  Who makes sure that he never has to touch an ironing board?

Aren’t you that same couple who stood before family and friends and swore to love and honor and all that other stuff? And didn’t you mean it?

I’m so grateful to say, YES!

I think Rita Rudner said it best:

I love being married.  It’s so great to find the one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

Daddy

January 3, 2009

I ordered a cabinet and my husband put it together.  He asked our son to “help” him.

My son’s face was a mixture of rapt attention and sheer joy.  That boy loves his father.  His dad let him use the screwdriver, and explained the process as the cabinet came together bit by bit.  My son got to bring him the correct size screw for each part.

These are the moments I am grateful, all over again, for the husband and father that is Mr. Foreverloyal.

Colorblind?

October 11, 2008

Honestly, I “forget” all the time that my husband is white.

When I go to call my husband at work to see what time he will be home, I think, “Let me call Mr. Foreverloyal.”  I don’t think, “Let me call my WHITE husband to see when he will be home.”

I think to myself, “I LOVE my honey,”  I’m not thinking, I just love my WHITE honey!”

In our day-to-day relationship, we are not constantly navigating racial issues.  We discuss what to have for dinner, how are the kids doing academically, how funny it is that our baby grabbed him in the middle of the night and demanded to be nursed (Um, wrong parent, kiddo!).  You know, normal stuff.

Naturally, we sometimes see things differently as a result of being two different “races” in America.  But I am here to tell you that if you have mutual respect, shared values and some similar interests, race will not be a huge daily issue in your relationship.  Something that may have seemed like such a HUGE deal in the beginning to fade to the background as largely insignificant.

Get Yourself a Handyman

October 7, 2008

I’m very grateful to be able to say that Mr. Foreverloyal is handy around the house.  He  has taken apart and fixed a garbage disposal, a washing machine (turns out there was a bobby pin in it, don’t know how that got in there), and built a loft in our garage so that we could have more storage.

It saves alot of money, but nevermind that.  There is something really appealing about a guy breaking out a circular saw, drill and level and building a structure from scratch.  It’s almost primal, makes a woman feel like her man is a manly man!

It was also so cute to see #1 son imitating  his dad.  While Mr. Foreverloyal was building, his oldest son was in a corner of the garage with his toy circular saw, pretending to cut a scrap piece of 2×4.  It’s good to know that insha’allah, my sons too will grow up and be able to build and fix things.

He’s got plans to build a small retaining wall in the backyard and rip out a small dead evergreen in the front.  Me, I need to order the tulips and pick up some mulch.  Every great handyman needs an assistant to help with the details.

Train Them by Example

September 29, 2008

So I was putting away laundry and my oldest two are nearby playing.  They’ve got those little Lego people out and are playing  a game where they are conducting marriage negotiations.  The exchange went something like this:

FLDaughter:  “Okay, you bring him and we have to see if he is suitable to marry her.”

(FLSon walks up a little man and faces the prospective in-laws) 

FLDaughter, now in character:  “What will you feed her?”

FLSon, also in character: “Umm, chicken, and steak, and tacos, and cake for dessert, and salad, and sometimes go out to dinner, and broccoli, and bread..”

Daughter: “Where will she live?”

Son: “I will buy her a nice house.”

Daughter:  “You will pay for her clothes?”

Son:  “Yes.”

Daughter: “And fix things that break?”

Son: “Yes.”

Daughter:  “Now, what will she do for you?”

Son: “Carry water from the river.”

Daughter:  “That’s not enough.”

Son: “And, wash the dishes and clean the kitchen.”

Daughter:  “That’s not enough.”

Son: “And, do the laundry and iron my clothes, and do the shopping, and put away my socks, and run the errands…”

Daughter (very solemnly): “Ok, you may marry her.”

This little game, while very amusing to watch, also brought home to me again that children are deeply impacted by the relationship their parents have.  It was so sweet that my son feels that it is a man’s role to provide for his family, and equally gratifying that my daughter believes that a wife should work hard to contribute. 

Not to mention that listening to their little game made folding and putting away the laundry less tedious yesterday.

Not a Martian

September 18, 2008

It's not like you're dating Marvin

It

Over at Monica Mingo’s blog, Tiffany in Houston expressed a trepidation about dating white, followed by a statement that she would like to communicate with someone who knew  how it felt and got over it.

I will admit that it does seem odd to me to be so nervous about dating a white man that it would stop you from actually doing it.  It just seems silly.

But I have issues and hangups that I know would seem ridiculous to people who don’t have them.  And saying “oh it over it, already!” may not be terribly effective.

This conversation was taking place in one of those chat-box thingies so I couldn’t be verbose.  But I can type as much as I please (and have time for) over here.

My first bit of advice:  Like Kenya’s dad in Something New said, “The boy’s not a Martian, he’s just white!”  In other words, don’t make it a bigger deal than it has to be.  Yes, he’s white, and that’s different.  But you aren’t talking about dating an alien and in most cases, you’re not even talking about dating a man from another country. 

You will have some differences which may or may not be attributable to ethnicity, but you most likely will share generational as well as cultural similarities, simply from growing up in the same country.  That being said, you are dating someone from a different sub-cultural group.  Any intercultural relationship benefits from clear communication and a willingness to consider a viewpoint other than your own.  (Actually every relationship MUST have this but an “interracial” relationship adds another dimension.)

When I was about to marry my husband, my father told me to remember that we were from different cultures.  “Not just race,” he said. “Remember that there is also the culture of the family.”  That was helpful advice.  Don’t assume that the way you do things is a default that he should know and accommodate, or vice versa.

When we were newly wed and organizing our apartment, my husband came to me one day and said, “Foreverloyal, I need this shirt ironed.”  I told him that the ironing board and iron were hanging up in the hall closet.  He was asking me to iron the shirt, and assumed that I would be handling all ironing duty, because that’s what his mom did growing up.  I assumed he was simply asking for the location of the ironing board, because in my house my dad ironed his own clothing. 

I think he thought I was being sarcastic, but we cleared it up quickly.  We’ve come to an arrangement that works.  I do all the ironing but he does a fair amount of cooking.  Works for me, neither one of our dads cooked.

I didn’t mean to go into this long digression, afterall the subject was dating and not marriage, but you get my point.

I would say treat anyone with the respect and openmindedness that you would hope to receive, and that would set you up for success.  And remember, the man’s not a martian.  He’s just white.