What's in a Year?
The days weave into the weeks, the weeks shape our months and we lie together in the blanket of our year, taking it all in and letting it all go. We are left with only the certainty that life is a series of moments that will inevitably pass. There is only One constant, One foundation One on whom you can ultimately depend and this year more then ever, I am grateful for God.
I started 2018 hopeful, with a burning desire to carve out a better life for our family. As our third child grew inside of me I felt the depth of love like never before. She was me and him, the stripped back, broken yet cleansed, healed and united, me and him. Her life, her very being, has a meaning to me that’s beyond any words I could write. Now I am able to look in her eyes I see so clearly the imperfect, yet perfect to me.
My husband and I worked tirelessly in the weeks leading up to and following her birth as we opened our long awaited family business. Imagine then our gut wrenching disappointment when only weeks later we had to close the doors to our dream and accept the Qadr of Allah (The will of God) that this endeavour just simply wasn’t meant to be. It was (and still is) a time in my life when I had to fully submit, to acknowledge and accept that His plans are the best, that He will only ever bring what is good for us. You can read more about this in my first blog post Thoughts on Failure. Holding ourselves together, picking up the pieces, dusting ourselves off and having the courage to keep on moving has been one of the biggest challenges for us but here we are, entering a new year, still recovering but moving in spite of it all.
Whilst the summer months brought beautiful sunshine, long and loving days of utter joy with my girls and the appreciation of the absolute beauty that we are surrounded by, it was deeply shaded with the unexpected loss of my mother’s husband. Its hard to explain how a man can be in your life for a short time yet be able to fill a huge space that you didn’t even realise was there. He showed me acceptance and kindness, warmth and laughter and the days that were spent in his company were days when it felt that growing up without a father didn’t matter at all. It reminds me once again, of the true fragility of life, that we will all meet our end and what we hope to find on the other side will make every hardship in this dunya (world) worth it all In sha Allah (God Willing.)
I have realised this year that the noise that often surrounds me is not the noise I need to hear. I can say no, I can live more compassionately, more empathetically and more lovingly if I hold space for myself and if I implement boundaries. I am very much learning to sit with the uncomfortable knot in my stomach as I understand and express what is and isn’t ok for me. If you are a person who has always struggled to hold your boundaries then I strongly recommend that you watch this short video by writer and researcher, Brene Brown. Her words are like a mantra to me, nothing is sustainable without boundaries.
2018 was the year we officially embarked upon our homeschooling journey and despite frequently down talking myself and questioning my ability to give my children the education they deserve I am proud that we have stepped outside of the traditional box and begun making our own meaning. I truly believe that the current education system is hugely problematic and through our homeschool I hope to nourish, inspire and nurture the beautifully curious minds of my girls. I am learning to trust that they will show me exactly what they need, that simply living life is learning in its purest form and that I do not need to justify to anyone what feels right for our family. I will be forever grateful for the many amazing people out there that have supported and encouraged me. I would especially like to shine my little light on Mama Teaches Me and Multicultural Motherhood and Mighty Mother who have incredible blogs with a wealth of wisdom. I also hugely benefited from taking the Montessori Short course over at The Natural Montessorian and highly recommend following Sophie for her in depth knowledge and passion in child led learning.
I walk into this year with a lightness in my step as I hope to delve deeper into the world of simple, conscious and minimalist living. Our life circumstances forced us to reevaluate our intentions behind the money that we spend and this was one of the biggest gifts of losing every penny that we had. I came across a lovely lady named Beth and her beautifully written blog Someday Slower. This led me on a journey of realising the absolute power of living with less. You can read part one of my minimalist journey here.
The last year has taken me on a parenting whirlwind as I have consciously raised my children as peacefully and respectfully as I can whilst navigating life’s many challenges. I’ve really begun to take notice of how the way we parent can have a radical impact on the kind of society we form through the next generation. As Eloise say’s in her essay on Feminism and Peaceful Parenting; “Parenting that shuns mainstream methods of control and coercion in favour of authentic connection and compassion allows children to thrive and grow into their unique selves, safe in the knowledge that they are loved unconditionally and free to act with autonomy and control over their own bodies.Not only does peaceful parenting allow individual children to truly thrive but it lays the only solid foundation possible for a peaceful society based on the values of mutual acceptance and radical kindness.” Our wonderfully inspiring Mighty Mother has a fantastic membership group called ‘The Peaceful Home’ where over the past few months we have discussed communication, Inner work, emotional intelligence in our children and much more. This has been my ‘go to’ online village and I am so grateful. Details of how to sign up are here. Whilst on the topic of using our village, In my most recent blog post I spoke about the importance of vulnerability and building relationships in order to truly belong and therefore access the village that undoubtedly surrounds you. The question is are you willing to do the work to truly connect on a deeper level?
Spiritually I will always be eternally grateful for the soul sisters that make up our ‘Mummy Halaqah’ we have met regularly since our eldest children were newborns and nurturing these relationships for the sake a God alone has been a source of strength and joy. When you have the ability to connect with other humans who share the same beliefs you will find blessing upon blessing. Extending this is the amazing work of my dear friends Selina and Nafisa, the co-founders of Amaliah. If you don’t know about their work, they are paving the way in representing the voice of Muslim women. The articles available on their site are rich, diverse and immensely thought provoking. It has been a pleasure to watch the platform grow and I will be forever grateful that they reignited my passion for writing which ultimately led to me starting this blog.
Finally and most deservedly I save the best till last. This last year it has been an honour to walk hand in hand with my husband, Hamid. We’ve been through some radiant highs and desperately darkened lows but with each turn of the page our story gets better and better. His hot headed Algerian blood coupled with my fiery passion can often lead to fireworks. They are noisy, they make your head bang and like last nights antics you pray they won’t wake the children, yet still you marvel in the beauty. Marriage is half of our deen (religion) and a huge test, to give yourself wholeheartedly whilst accepting someone for exactly who they are in this season, is hard. I have to see beyond the toilet seat, the socks on the floor or the fact that he takes his coffee to work in my best china cups and conveniently forgets to bring them home over and over again. Love isn’t always a wild adventure, or a romantic candle lit night at home, it goes beyond ‘what’s for dinner?’ or ‘how are the kids?'‘ It’s knowing exactly how he likes his coffee or what to say when he’s had a bad day, its in how he holds me when I don’t know how to hold myself and when he listens despite wanting to sleep. My most read blog post to date I’m Tired ends like this;
These years, we are told, will pass us by with the blink of an eye, we should treasure them because they “grow up too fast!” Yes, it is true, they are made up of the most magical, precious moments and we wouldn’t change a single second of that passing time. But within this paradox of beautiful beginnings as you watch the fruits of your love bloom, there is a restless vulnerability. There is an exhaustion that is more than any night of unbroken sleep could cure. Its the weight of holding the most wonderful gift whilst silently losing your grip. We are tired. But if we were to close our eyes and fall into a blissful state of slumber, we would wake tomorrow and give everything we have, again and again and again.
So I quietly side slant into this new year feeling ready to relay the foundations, to cut out the crap and clean up my act. I am not making any plans to reinvent myself or set lavish, dreamy goals but i do promise that whatever this year throws my way, I will continue to bare my truth word by word. I thank you for reading along, for supporting, encouraging and sharing and I wish you the happiest and healthiest of years ahead.