Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 3: You and I

As I've been reading various blogs and articles written by Muslim authors about Ramadan, I've been learning and pondering a lot. The one thing this year that has struck me the most is how many authors, from their own experiences, encourage couples and families to create family-centered Ramadan rituals. By "rituals", I don't mean tweaking those in Ramadan which cannot be changed. Instead, I mean families brainstorming to incorporate other meaningful activities into their fasting days, and even around the celebration of Eid. I mean, come on, how many of us get tired when the norm is for family members to pass-out in an afternoon nap after the exhaustion of consuming way too much in celebration of Ramadan ending? Somewhat ironic, I think!

I liked this idea very much. A little too much maybe. I've been bouncing around our apartment, while fasting, wide eyed and bushy tail excited about all the ideas running through my head. Asif, in the meantime, is just trying to get through his fast and is in energy conservation mode. I wonder if he even knows why I'm so excited?

"How can you have this much energy?!" he asks. I can't actually answer that question, but I'm thankful for it!

I'm tempted to start a Ramadan Planning Binder but then ditch the idea, given that I don't want this unleashed enthusiasm to be put down onto paper. Not yet anyway! Then this project becomes too real and expectations surmount. I had more thinking to do.

The first thought that crosses my head is how to incorporate Ramadan decorations into our apartment (thanks to Pinterest, decorating has become a new hobby of mine!). While the idea of an advent-like Ramadan calendar sounds fun AND interesting, I worry about dropping dark chocolate into each one of the 30-slots and how maybe we should save this idea for our future kids (InshAllah!). And then I remember seeing these awesome white string lights that we could put up and YES, this seems feasible and not over the top! I write this one down to research online. I'm sure Asif will be disappointed that we won't have a chocolate filled calendar to satiate his post-iftar sugar cravings. But let there be lights!

I'm not so much on board with starting an Eid gift exchange...we don't really give each other scheduled gifts during the rest of the year, and since I'm not the type of gal who demands anything from her husband (even though I REALLY want stacked bracelets!), I don't think a gift exchange is really "us". We're more spontaneous and I want to preserve that.

Another idea I had was figuring out ways we could spend quality time together during Ramadan, both during and after breaking our fasts. During the day, we may watch Ramadan or Islam related videos/speeches together; talk about article we've read; pray together, etc. After breaking our fast and performing our spiritual worship, we've come to notice how spending general quality time is much needed. After focusing on one's fast during the day, it's nice to be able to relax with your spouse before repeating things the next day! So we've allocated 30 minutes to kick back on the couch and watch ONE episode only from one of our favourite sitcoms. Yesterday, it was the premiere episode from "Little Mosque on the Prairie"... perhaps subconsciously I was trying to halal-ify performing what Baber would call a "decadent act"! It's a time to laugh and be lighthearted about things during a very serious and intense month. Whether or not people view this as haram is not really something I care about. Since going for a walk after midnight is not really logistical in the darkened Edworthy Park behind our apartment tower, and the only place open are selected fast food chains (and we're done with eating at this point). So watching one sitcom episode seems like a good alternative!

So as we navigate our second Ramadan together, the journey to making it truly "ours" continues. It will be a matter of trial and error and seeing what fits who we are. I encourage families out there to do the same. Ramadan is the most sacred month Muslims live through, so I think we deserve to make it special, given all the hard work we put into it.

And on that note, I wonder if Pinterest has any Ramadan ideas?!


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