The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Thursday, October 11, 2007



Today is the 26th day of Ramadan, a lunar month when every Muslim is suppose to fast from sunrise to sunset. Wars are stopped, quarrels are set aside and peace is celebrated.

Neighbors visit each other after dark to break the fast together. They start with sweet things like dried figs or dates and proceed to the feast that lasts into the night. I can imagine it vividly even though I’ve never been to an Arabic country and missed most of the magic of neighborly feasting while growing up in a place intolerant to any religion – the Soviet Union.

My aunt, whose mother prayed five times daily till the last day of her life, told of the times when they hid while praying so as not to be discovered by patrols who checked every window in their village. Their family hid under the dinning table to read the special Ramadan Taraweeh prayers and break their fast.

She calls to tell me that tonight might be the special night, Laylat al-Qadr. No one knows for sure which one of the last ten nights of Ramadan it is, so tonight might be the one when everything we pray for is granted.

I walk out into the dark of our American suburbs. The wind that is a constant here in the evenings has ceased and the sky is starry. The air is calm and the divine presence is tangible.

I try to keep fast as a way to connect with my ancestors. Many of them kept it any time of the year, any time of the political season.

It is difficult to start fasting by myself. I ask: “Will I be able to keep my concentration and drive? With kids? Will I be able to work and then take care of four children, two of them not mine? Will I be able to attend class in the evening?”

I wonder how it would be different to keep fast in a country where everyone keeps it. Would I get more slack at work? Would I have to drive or would I live a walking distance from the places that I routinely have to drive to here – the market, schools, work? My thoughts race to the women of my family and around the world. Do they find it hard not to taste food served to their children? Is it hot? Salty enough? Too spicy? I surely do.

I decide to proceed. If nothing else, I want to feel the limits that I can take myself to, as opposed to the daily ones my kids take me to.

Keeping peace is an only option for me during fast time as I simply cannot raise my voice after not having a drop or a morsel in my mouth the whole day. I feel close not only to my ancestors who had to keep it together not only in fall when the days are short and cool, but also during long, hot summer days of farming work. I feel close to forebears of ancestors, people who didn’t have food readily available and often had to tough it up. I understand deep inside how good we have it and how unimportant lots of other needs are.

By sunset -- I feel elated. I did it! I take time to break the fast slowly, sipping rooibos tea and eating dates, and reflect how the human spirit is an amazing phenomenon that can find strength through hardship, yet can fall apart during times of great prosperity.

By Dilyara Breyer


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This is just lovely, evocative and thoughtful, particularly the last line.

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