Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Possesive Adjective "His"



I was trying to cocoon.I took a hot shower, (thanks PBS for putting on kids' shows that can entertain a baby for 10 minutes). I put on comfy clothes, that could be mistaken for pajamas.
After getting dressed and praying, I went to make breakfast: hashbrowns, eggs with spinach (and my new favorite seasoning of salt, chili powder, turmeric, cumin seeds and onion). I heated up pita in the toaster oven. Made my fake cappucino (which I don't know how to spell).
The baby started freaking out because he doesn't understand that, even though breastmilk is ready on demand, an omlette isn't. I sat down with baby and tried to eat with him. For some reason, he ran into the kitchen crying and stayed sitting amongst the line-up of shoes next to the door. I had to coax him out. Wacky kid. We ate and I thought we'd eat happily watching morning television, but President Bush wanted to talk with us.
I don't like hearing anything out of his mouth. It's way past the stage of getting a water pistol and spraying the screen every time he says something stupid. That's how I got through the Presidental debates. No, I can't listen because it's too much like the lunatics are running the asylum.
So, instead my mom called and we talked over some decisions I need to make. I didn't want to think over anything regarding a divorce during Ramadan. I had asked my hub not to present me with the papers at this time. But, I knew that his lawyer was working on matters.
Yesterday, my hub called me in a foul mood. I knew something was wrong. I had been out raking the leaves while the baby slept. After we talked over yard work, he said, "I've got to ask you something from the lawyer. He wants to know who gives the baby the health insurance."OK. Well. Even though I had given up lunch and postponed my prayer in order to get the leaves bagged, I could answer that question. There's about zero chance my hub will ever get a job with health insurance, so I offered to take responsibility for it. Currently, we get it through the state.
Then he said, "And he wants to know about visitation."
That hit me, but like a trooper, I started answering. I fumbled over my words. I began to answer and then stuttered. I was falling apart. He put me on hold to deal with a customer. I started to cry. When he was back on the line, I told him I had to go pray duhr.
That's the problem with postponing prayer. You need a constant supply to buoy your spirit. Without continually going to Allah, especially during times of crisis, you sink lower and lower. If you get too low, you feel like drowning.
Then I ate. I ate too much and too many carbs; bagel with my fish and then chocolate cake for dessert. Carbs act like a drug, you know. And I wanted to numb some of these feelings.
We had to leave the house for a showing. Remember, during all this fracus, I'm still trying to sell a house and find a new place to live. So, after I've scrubbed the tub, polished the faucets, and quickly organized the house, we left together in the car.
His bad mood continued."I can't live like this. It's only one hand clapping. I need to have more money coming in. We have so much debt. How are we going to get out of debt? How?! This is a crazy life. The only thing that keeps me sane is thinking that I've got a place in Egypt and I can get a job in Egypt. I can just go there and start over again. I've been back four years and what have I got to show for it?"
I sat in the backseat very detached. When he'd ask me a question, I'd answer along the lines of, "Alhumdulillah," or "Inshahallah," or "Allah knows best."He dropped me and the baby at my mom's while he went to get money from the man who bought the gas station from him.
See, when my hub had one business, he thought he was Donald Trump and could buy another and handle both. It wasn't enough that he had just bought out his partner in the store (using my lawsuit settlement money). He needed a gas station too. Why would he need another business?
Because he wanted a place for his ex to come and work. He built a haram life of loans and debt to make a haram dream of re-marriage work with a woman he's already divorced three times.
My mom saw my countenance and could tell that I wasn't well. I wasn't. I had just spent a half an hour in a car listening to a man spiral downward to the point where he's basically telling me he could cut his losses and run. I prayed. We ate together and watched Dancing with the Stars. TV acts like a drug, you know. And I wanted to numb these feelings.
He was better after he'd been to see the guy at the gas station and then been to the masjid. But once home, he found fault with something I'd done. Doesn't matter what. He was searching and he found something. I found something too. I checked his phone and found he'd talked with his ex.
His ex doesn't want happiness or goodness for this man. She wants to hurt him. She does. I know this. Think of people in your life. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS FEEL BETTER FOR HAVING SPENT TIME WITH THEM. They should add to your life, not subtract. His ex takes his peace of mind. She tells him how sick the kids are...how many doctor visits she takes them to...how they miss him and wait by the phone for him to call...how the teacher says they're the only kids in class who don't talk about their Baba...how they're the only kids whose Baba doesn't drop them at school...how they think some other man is paying for their life; not their Baba, because they never see him...how Baba promised them a bike, but she had to be the one to go buy it.
I know that I could say many mean things to my ex to have him feel low and worthless. I don't. Children say all kinds of things. It's up to the grown-ups to help them sort it all out. It doesn't help my ex to be a good father if I spew all kinds of hurtful things at him in the name of the children. No. I know this, because my ex has done this to me. Though, lately, after imploring my outlaws to help the situation, the mean emails and swearing on the phone have stopped.
So, today, as I cocooned on a cold morning, I thought about the visitation. Here's what I'm thinking:

from now until age 3-supervised visitation for up to one hour a day, seven days a week
from age 3-6-supervised visitation for up to two hours a day, seven days a week
from age 6-9-unsupervised visation for up to four hours a day, seven days a week
from age 9-12-unsupervised visation for up to eight hours a day, seven days a week
from age 12-15-unsupervised visation, including sleep over, for up to twelve hours, seven days a week
age 15-this custody agreement will end and a new agreement will be written based on the needs at that time

What do you think?

I told mom about all my thoughts. She just wants me to divorce this man who has brought so much chaos into my life. She wants me not only to divorce, but to be done. It's hard on her. She didn't sleep last night. Please send some good energy her way. She's past 70, and really needing some calm for me, in order to feel at ease in her own life.

Once I hung up with my mom, I noticed that somehow, the baby's socks were wet. And I've got to put the non-skid socks on him. He's on hardwood floors and those get slippery! So, I searched through all his drawers and turned up one sock. Thought seriously about just letting him walk around with one sock. "Bad Mother Award for 2006," popped into my brain so I rethought that idea. I decided to head up to my girl's room and search her sock drawer. Maybe some of his had gotten mixed-in with hers.

I had to remove a pile of junk that I'd thrown in there in my flurry to tidy up, but eventually I found socks. OK, they were pink, but they were baby socks with non-skid, so you say, "Alhumdulillah," and put them on. Then I sorted out the rest of her socks and put them neatly away. First time I'd done that in awhile. But, ever since Safa said that undone laundry is a sign of depression, I've been fighting the battle to get it clean and put it away. I then grabbed the pile of junk.

There was the "ME Poster" that my daughter had made for school last year. I love her dearly. She looks so cute. She's in a rainbow dress with her beautiful golden hair in one picture and in a white hejab in the other. Mashallah. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She likes playing soccer and going outside. Her favorite book is "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." She wants to see the Great Pyramids and go to Cairo, Egypt. She wishes there were no more wars.
Then I took a look at the book. This book isn't ours. It belonged to the boys; the nephews who were here a year ago. They stayed in my daughter's room (thus forcing her to share with her brother). "My First Steps in English Grammar." I meant to send it to them and then decided to just hang on to it for now. I meant to bring it to my teaching supplies and then forgot. I truly did not mean to let it sit in my daughter's room for almost a year.

Funny, that this morning, my hub and I had just had a disagreement over his family's visit. I had mentioned how many big things had happened to us over the last four years. I said that on the phone today when he called; he was wanting to be nice. The lawsuit, different jobs, money troubles, troubles with my ex, pregnancy, the family coming to stay. My hub couldn't agree that it was a big deal to have them come visit and he scoffed at me for even suggesting it. Get real. It was huge.

So, there I am looking at their book. I had never really looked inside. I opened it for the first time today and here is what I saw:

Exercises

25. Put suitable possessive adjectives in the blanks:

Ex. Although he loved........wife, he divorced her. ----->his
No kidding. "Although he loved his wife, he divorced her." I could only have seen that sentence one place and I saw it this morning in the book that God meant for me to see. Yes. I do take this as a sign from God.

It is interesting too that "Ex." is short for "Example," but I use it all the time to talk about the other woman in the picture; his ex. She is coming first in the wording. She is the reason.
You can believe what you want, but I see what is written. I feel that I will be divorced from my husband no matter what else happens in Ramadan. No matter how many beseeching prayers I do or how much Quran he hears, I will be given a divorce.
And, he will love me even as he divorces me.

Alhumdulillah. Allah knows best. Always say, "Alhumdulillah."

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 from a Muslim's View


Look, right off the bat I'm going to tell you that I don't speak for every Muslim on the planet, or even every Muslim from America, or even from my house. I am one Muslim telling you about how I feel about the events of September 11th.

What do you think I'll say?That I love people dying horrible deaths? That I'm praying for the destruction of the evil West? That I'm glad children are without their parents?
Come on.
Of course not.
I watched the 9/11 documentary on CBS last night (thanks to us running out to Best Buy and buying a new set). It was incredible. I love documentaries as a rule. This one was exceptional. I had shivers a few times. It showed me more than I had ever seen or understood before. Thank you, CBS.
I feel for the people who were victims. It never should have happened to anyone. Ever. It was wrong. It served no purpose. There might be good that has come out of it (such as renewed faith in many) but that doesn't justify a thing. And there are many victims.
Muslims are also victims in this. We didn't all take a vote and ratify this action. We had no idea, just like you. I was as surprised as you that morning. I blew it off as an ordinary plane crash when I first heard and turned off the radio. I didn't want bad news to ruin my day. But it did ruin my day, and my months and now years as Muslim in the U.S.
I get that you are scared of me under my veil. When you look at me like I'm a creature from outerspace I try to excuse you. When you ask me suspiciously where I'm from again, and again, I remember that you think you're helping Home Land Security. And when a secret file was kept against me at my nice job with all the nice people, who harassed me and then fired me...well, I sued them and won.
The point is that all of us suffered a loss of safety and peace. Terrorism is bad for all of us. I don't endorse it. Those people, who were born as Muslims, didn't die as Muslims that day. I have never heard any Muslim, either privately or publicly cheer on what took place. As a collective, we are sorry for their actions, but not remorseful. They were not our representatives.
Today, I watched "The View" when Rosie O'Donnell said, "Whatever God you follow, let's pray for peace." Whatever God? What?! Until Christian Americans get the idea that we follow the same God...the same...the exact same God...we will not get over this phase in our country's life.
Please believe that I pray to the one true God, like you, for peace.
I promise you that, as the American mother of a Muslim, I will never teach my child to hate you. Now, can you promise me that as an American mother, or father, you will never teach your child to hate me?
Please consider your continued role in healing our country.
Thank you.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Dear 12-Year-Old Self



I posed these questions to Safa:
If you could go back in time to you at age 14, the same age as your eldest, what would you be able to tell your younger self about the life she was going to live?
Would you be able to tell her all of this?
What parts would you feel so sad to tell her?
When you saw her sadness, what could you tell her about your future decisions to revive her spirits?
The age of my eldest is 12. As my baby lies sleeping in my lap, I will remember who I was before life unfolded.
Dear 12 Year-Old Self,
You know how much you love your name? Can you even imagine a time when you will want to change your name? Not just by marriage, but because you want to legally be known by a Muslim name. Muslim.
Do you even know who those people are?I know that one time, in the library downtown, and you love libraries so (by the way, you won't become a librarian, or "media specialist" as they're known now) you saw a copy of "The Koran" way up high. When you get to be my age, you will have read all of it and even tried to learn it in Arabic. Isn't that crazy? I know you tried to read the whole Bible once and that didn't work, but this, I PROMISE, will be a better way to go.
Listen, there's going to be some rough times ahead. You really will be beautiful, and healthy and strong. And all those boy troubles you lament about, will grow into troubles with men. It won't be that you can't get a guy. It will be that you end up with the wrong guys.
You hated your parent's divorce. It sucked. I'll tell you something: they get back together. And it STILL sucks! They don't last. They weren't meant for each other. But, even in their attempt, you'll see a moment of love between them and feel both of them flanking you in a picture. The picture will later get deleted accidentally. The only picture of them happily together with you since your baptism.
And you will be a good mom. You won't be as good as you wished. But, you'll be a mom to three kids. Crazy, eh? I know you can't imagine where the third one goes, if you only have two hands. Trick is: the third one rides in a sling; it's a baby carrier that you wear. And no babies die. No miscarriages, Alhumdulillah (that's an Arabic way to thank God).
Look, I hate to tell you this but your dreams won't all come true the way you wish right now. Some of them will get fulfilled, like starring roles in plays, being on TV, being on radio. Being the voice on the amusement park rides! But, you'll never be a big star...at least you haven't by the time you're 38.There will be other things that will bring you more pleasure and happiness than what you have planned for now. And, even for me, there are plans I have that will have to go away to make room for bigger and better things that God has planned. Allahu Akbar! God is great!
You have had some really bad things happen to you that you didn't deserve. And now, I feel that once again, there are some things happening that shouldn't be. I'm sorry to put you through this. I promise that it won't be forever. It will last only a short time. Soon, there will be some relief. Believe this when you are 38. Remember that you are resilient. Don't use your beautiful voice for screaming hatred. Don't waste your energy on situations that are out of your control. Do your small part to keep life going and look for the EXIT. Because so much happens to you between 12 and 38, you'll have that life experience to fall back on. You'll be comforted in knowing that you've never stayed forever in a bad place. You know how to leave and how to make your way in the world.
I don't want to tell you too much about the love of your life. You wouldn't totally believe me if I did. He is amazing and cool and handsome and you are going to love him with all your heart. Enjoy it. Revel in it. Know, with all confidence that you are capable of giving and receiving love. Then, prepare yourself for letting him go. Realize that nobody belongs to us. They only stay with us until their time is up. I still don't know when his time is up, but I can't control it, I can only accept it.
I love you. You just got your first kiss and no boy has told you yet that he loves you. You'll have to wait six more years for that. But, even when you hear that and feel that, remember sweetie, that the love you give to yourself is more important. Keep smiling and looking pretty because that's who you want to be, not for who you might attract.
Relax. Relax and be who you need to be. You'll try to pretend your way into another existance, but it won't work. You'll find that out. When you are yourself, the ones who really want to love someone exactly like you will find you.
Shine!
There was a portrait done of you six years ago. Vicki painted you with the words, "You let the sun shine from inside".
Don't ever throw that away. Don't ever throw away your wish to be a great person in this world or let someone else dim your light. The world needs you. I'm still not sure exactly how, but God has a place for you in this world.
There will be, inshahallah (God willing) a place that is fun without being chaotic, with nasheed (Islamic music) and Quran in the air. There are happy children who feel safe. There is a mother who can teach and create and smile a big full smile from her heart. There are friends who share and drop by. And that's all I can wish for right now.
Maybe our whole life, we have wished for a man to love us. Let's stop wishing for that. Let's just live for the first time believing we are enough.
May God Bless You. I'll see you in the mirror in another 26 years. Smile at me when our eyes meet and I'll smile back...a big full smile from the heart.
With Love,
38-Year-Old Self