Monday, 7 November 2011

Eid, a day of joyful celebration...but why so stressed?

Yesterday we celebrated Eid. Which in our home represents a day that the children are bouncing off the walls with excitement- while my neurosis gets kicked up a notch.

The kids view it as a day to visit family and friends, receive money and play with their cousins for the entire day. Their energy and joy on this day are boundless. So hubby and I had hardly opened our eyes yesterday morning, when Nuha slipped into our room and whispered urgently, "What time is it? Is it time to leave?" Time to leave? Are you kidding me? I still had so much to do. Instead of this motivating me to get out of bed and get started, I chose to bury my face under the covers and retreat into denial.

The morning I spent tidying and cleaning, cleaning and tidying- and scolding and screaming (okay, and maybe a little swearing). I had stepped out of my room and into what seemed like the result of a powerful tornado- shoes, clothes, food, toys strewn everywhere. How had they managed to do so much damage within the space of one morning? AND ON EID!!!!

The house was only half-clean when I gave up- I am, after all, only one person and not an entire freakin' cleaning crew. So I moved onto the next task- getting the four of them dressed and ready to go. The night before I had planned to do their hair beautifully, iron dresses, pants and shirts and match each one's accessories to their dresses. However, since the morning had been spent attempting to make the house look even vaguely presentable for any stray visitor who might wander in (though we never get Eid visitors in our neck of the woods), I hurriedly raked the brush through the girls' hair, conveniently choosing to ignore the bits of food stuck in Aisha's hair and the sticky gooey muck in Nuha's. Dresses were left unironed (it would add character to the outfit, wouldn't it) and mismatched accessories they grabbed on a first-come first served basis.

Shakeel enjoys Eid, since it is the only time he is allowed to gel his very straight unstyled hair. So he spent the morning gelling and sculpting (then resculpting), but the result was impressive. My little boy looked handsome (though a bit too grown-up for my liking). He wore a fairly conservative outfit,
since his father and I don't really like the new jeans-for-Eid trend, but he added his own style and flair to it with a pair of Spiderman fingerless gloves and neon laces for his shoes.

Then off we set to visit my late father's sister; whom, I'm ashamed to say, I only see on Eid each year. This is always a very emotional visit for me, as nobody reminds me of my father as much as she does. It's also as if we see a part of him in each other. In addition, I am aware that she misses him as much as I still do, even after all these years.

But she is one of the most jovial positive people I know. She greeted me with a huge hug. Looking at Shakeel's gloves, she roared with laughter. "You're just as crazy as your mother was!" she joked, referring to the time I wore one glove for Eid, imitating my hero, Michael Jackson (At this point I must take a moment to say, "Michael, I still love you- you remain a legend!!!")

After reluctantly leaving my aunt's place, I rushed back home to start my TINY contribution to lunch at the in-laws; namely veggies and a dessert. How clever of me to start preparing this 45 minutes before we were due to arrive at sister-in-law's place. (I should have left the damn cleaning I had done the morning). So I proceeded to wash, peel and chop potatoes, cauliflour, broccoli, butternut, mealies, squashes and carrots for the lunch side dish; and apples,
oranges, bananas, strawberries, papaya and guavas for the fruit salad. Cursing myself for selecting dishes that required so much damn preparation (as opposed to just offering to make the crayfish curry and a simple chocolate mousse), I ran around like a headless chicken, fully aware that the steaming would take quite a while and we were already five minutes late. At one point I was just running around in circles; pointlessly opening and closing cupboard doors. More than once I saw hubby (who was holding the grumpy baby and was therefore unable to help) looking at me in alarm, no doubt thinking "What the hell did I marry???"

As expected, we arrived at sister-in-law's place very late. But lunch was amazing and we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, while observing the children's sugar-induced hysteria.

We had supper at my mother's place and the rest of the evening was spent chatting and joking with my brother and sister-in-law. The children spent what was left of their energy playing with my brother's children. They fell asleep in the car on the way home.




Even though so much of the day was spent cooking, eating, visiting and idly chatting and laughing, we did not forget to remind the children and ourselves of its significance; namely Prophet Abraham (Ebrahim)'s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael (Isma'il) as an act of obedience to God (Allah) before God intervened, providing him with a sheep to sacrifice instead.

All in all it had been a pleasant day. But, once all my kids were sound asleep, I derived immense pleasure from just sitting and staring out in front of me- doing absolutely nothing.

We did not take many pics this Eid. So here are some from Eid-ul-fitr (three months ago)- with everyone wearing exactly what they had on yesterday.









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