The air is thick and perspires with anticipation. It’s 5 am and I am checking in as 2 and hoping to leave 2 days later as 3.
This time around I tried not to post any obvious pictures these last 9 months. I used to blog more about personal matters and journeys such as these. But I’ve learned you really can’t take anything for granted. After a health issue a couple years ago it was a blessing to make it to this point, to be able to give birth, to watch my family grow a little bit more.
I have so much respect for those that go through child birth, but even more silent respect for those who want to be mothers and quietly witness those around them becoming moms. For those who stoically witness adorable newborn pictures and blossoming baby bumps on social media all the while diligently praying to become mothers and strive to start a new chapter of their lives. For some reason, sigh, not everyone who wants to be a biological mother gets to. And for those who do, I really hope even in the tough sleepless nights we get to savor it.
Prayers for those mothers- to- be, those who want to be mothers, and those in the throes of motherhood in which day and night blends a little too easily in which sleep becomes broken, and yet everything becomes whole again.
On a side note, I always thought my children’s ages would be all squished together. A one or two year gap perhaps. Z and A are sort of squished together. But baby H is 7 years younger than Z and 4 years younger than A!
My 3 brothers and I are all born within 5 years so I just assumed I too would have children also spaced closely together just so. I loved how we were all in college around the same time just a few miles apart in Atlanta and how friends were easily shared.
You can plan as much as you want and circle as many dates in the calendar, but God has His own plan for you.
We live in a world where everything is so instant. Instant results for tests, Uber delivery within a few minutes, digital pictures that no longer need developing. (Does anyone else remember the anticipation of dropping of refrigerated film hoping and praying your photos came out just so?!) You can’t plan your exact date on if you will conceive, when that would happen, and on when you will deliver. Something so primal and basic yet God knows the answers to those.
In the Quran, it says during trials to pray and be patient. I heard somewhere the praying part is easier, but the patience part is so much harder. Because patience is passive and impatience gnaws at you while instilling doubt. But still we hope and pray and wait because sometimes that’s all you can do.
“ And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive.” (Quran 2:45)
My fingers are clumsier as they form a braid in Z’s hair. The hair lifts and folds as I tighten the braid and I realize I am rusty at braiding. I will typically make a quick braid when Z goes to school, but the benefit of summer is that our routine softens while we take it slow. Meaning not many braids. I step back to admire the neatness that the braid brings to Z’s face.
I thought this summer that we would have pancakes and eggs often for breakfast, and at the beginning we may have, but now Froot Loops and Apple Jacks welcome little hands in the pantry.
One of the beauty of summers is that is appears so Endless. Summer days are long and lazily stretch.
So that when August does come around, and pencils, erasers, and notebooks grace the aisles of Target, it is easy to walk around wide-eyed, wondering Where did the summer go?
I read this article about how it’s good to take a leap when you’re almost ready. Reality is that you may never feel ready and you need a push to do things. Ready to go to college? Ready to walk across the stage to pick up your diploma? Ready to stand in front of a classroom of twenty students and teach? Ready to get settled and married? Ready to give birth while in the painful throes of labor? Ready to nurse, rock, diaper your baby? Ready to sweep grimy floors, wipe sticky counters, and raise children? Ready to now send Z off to second grade and A to pre-K?
Sigh. But a Grateful Sigh.
We have a few more days before school officially starts, a few more opportunities to make French Toast/pancakes, to swim in cool, blue water, to practice easing back in a routine and sleeping earlier! A few more moments to savor time. Until then…
“By time, indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (Quran 103:1-3)
I had the opportunity to take Fela’s one year photos last week! This is my last summer session! I may be scheduling photosessions in the fall and will keep you posted. If you think Fela looks a little familiar, you are right as he is related to Jasiah, a previous little client of mine! To see Jasiah’s one year photo session click here.
Like his cousin Jasiah, Fela started walking early! He was running before he even turned 1! I love photographing smaller children and seeing them mature from a sleepy newborn into a squirmy smiley six month old to a running one year old is a beautiful feeling! I got to see Fela’s cousin Jasiah morph from a six month told a toddler and I hope I get to see Fela mature too!
Enjoy Fela’s session below!
It’s a magical blessing to see your baby grow, but it passes somewhat in a haze! When I get to photograph repeat clients, I really see how they grow. Here are a few of this mommy-baby duo from a sleepy newborn on a spring day to an alert 6 month old in the fall to their one year old birthday session in April! I feel privileged to have photographed their motherhood/infanthood journey thus far!
I love the joy these two exude and the comfort this little (who is so rapidly growing!) one seeks in his mother’s arms.
Today is Z’s last day of first grade. I can’t believe she will be a second grader, the grade I used to teach.
It doesn’t seem like yesterday in which I packed up my crayon-filled second grade classroom and had a newborn in the sweltering June summer. It seems ages ago. To be precise 7 years ago! For me, those newborn baby days were long and slow, tiring and tedious. But to have that slow time was a gift in which I could find pockets of peace.
Once Z transformed into a running toddler and child, that was when time caught up with Z and then A and started to run too.
Ramadan for Muslims starts this Saturday. It’s nice to see my book Lailah’s Lunchbox pop up on people’s radars again and to see it displayed proudly for Ramadan.
I love seeing how creative people get with their displays. If you do use my book in a Ramadan display, please send me a picture. Sometimes while I sit on a computer cranking out words on a plain old Microsoft Word document, it can be hard to see my words as a book.
Speaking of books, I am excited to say that I should have two picture books coming out in a couple of years I believe!
Amira’s Picture Day (Holiday House) for Spring 2019
Ramadan is over and Amira can’t wait to celebrate Eid. Spotting the new moon, she celebrates because Eid is tomorrow and she gets to miss school to go to the mosque for the Eid prayer and brunch. But then she realizes that tomorrow is Picture Day at school. How will her class remember her if she’s not in the class picture? What will Amira do?
2. Let Me Show You The Way (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) TBD
The main character often happily volunteers to help a fellow classmate who needs a little extra assistance in school. It is only when she gets picked on by two popular students for helping him, she decides to distance herself from the fellow classmate to fit in more with her popular classmates. Later, she feels regret for her actions, but it is too late. Now, she decides to take matters into her own hands…
I will share more about these two projects soon. A big thank you to those who helped me thus far with these stories, editing, critiquing, printing, submitting! The publishing industry is quite a prooooooooooooooocesssssssss. And a long one at that! And an additional thank you to all of you who have read Lailah’s Lunchbox and supported me. I hope you all will like these two picture books as well.
I hope for all those of you who will be celebrating Ramadan that it is a beautiful and peaceful month full of growth, renewal, and that you find time to enjoy the slow moments. Meanwhile…
Five Fun Things:
- a heartwarming Middle Grade book I read recently by Lisa Graff with a strong, emotional male character’s voice:
“My dad’s face, you should’ve seen it. It went from normal to chili-pepper red in seconds. He was angry. [. . .] The fire, it was all the way to the tips of my fingernails. Digging down to the bottoms of my heels.”
2. A teacher’s blog post I liked about my book.
“Lailah’s Lunchbox is a fantastic story based on Reem Faruqi’s own life experience moving to the United States and explaining what Ramadan is to classmates and friends in Peachtree City, Georgia. This story captures many different and important social issues, including moving somewhere new and different religions. This story emphasizes the humanity of the children and their experiences and promotes understanding and empathy of others.”
3. A beautiful Ramadan Read Drummer Girl by Hiba Masood and illustrated by Najiyah Maxfield about a spunky female character Najma and the tender relationship she and her father share during Ramadan. I love how author Hiba Masood loosely based this story on a true one of a female drummer girl. The imagery, language, and pictures are gorgeous. I am a fan of Hiba (Drama Mama)’s words and this book showcases beautiful language. I have been saving this story for Z and A to read during Ramadan so I know they will savor it this Ramadan.
“Najma held her breath. Would he be angry? Would he say she was being foolish? No woman had ever been a musaharati in her neighborhood…”
4. A fun activity to do. Envelope decorating with nail polish. It kept Z and A busy for a while…
5. the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta will be doing a Ramadan puppet show at the Children’s Museum on June 24th for your children. Check our newsletter here for more details. (scroll to bottom!)
Have a Blessed Ramadan and Beautiful Summer!
I have dropped of Z to school, and there’s just A and me in the car. The car is mostly silent. Thoughts whirl around us.
Before, I used to attempt to fill in the silence with meaningless prattle.
Are you excited about school today?
We’re almost there.
I hope you have a good day.
Now, I appreciate the silence and let it be.
I decrease the amount of questions. Now, we enjoy the quiet.
When we pick up Z later that afternoon, the silence is instantly sucked out of the car.
Words and stories bounce around the car excitedly.
As a child, I used to be much more like Z. Sometimes I still am. My words used to tumble out, sometimes carelessly here and there. Incessant chatter.
Now, I appreciate the quiet. I cherish it.
When A tinkers with the quiet after a day of preschool, I try not to knock our fragile web of silence down, but rather help weave it up.
In the silence moments I get, my thoughts swirl gently. New sentences for emerging manuscripts come to life. My mind slowly refreshes.
I am ready again for volume.
Some images below of our spring break and before….
great grandmother snuggles!