8, 268 miles.
That’s how far my husband is from me right now. Ramadan kareem.
In these blessed last 10 days of Ramadan, we will not be seeing each other. I won’t get to hear his voice or smell his ithar. I’m here eating suhur alone each morning. My nights are sleepless and days restless. Every night is a slumber party for the kids as they crowd my bed, my space and my thoughts. My son wants to stay up and “talk.” He misses his father but tells me about his favorite Ninjago for the 100th time. My eyes and heart are heavy. Did I lock the door? What’s that noise? Does she have enough layers on? Why is he still awake?!
I fall asleep nursing the baby sitting up, the slightest movement or sound startling me awake. My neck is sore…my eyes bloodshot. Shoot! I still haven’t prayed yet. As I try to get through my movements swiftly and quietly, the baby’s up again wanting to latch on. “BRB,” I tell the prayer rug.
As I nurse and stare at the time, I try to calculate when I can sneak downstairs to munch on some dates and chug 2 water bottles. Maybe toss a bowl of Honey Bunches down my throat if I’m lucky. Wait, I still have to finish praying. I open up the Qur’an app and squeeze in a few lines. I slither out of her latch and slide off the bed as smooth as can be. Yes! I make a run for it.
I pray. I eat. I scrub my teeth. I pray some more. She’s up again smiling ready to party. It’s 3:30 am. As I fall asleep sitting up yet again, I dream about the day ahead. Braces, Qur’an class, glasses, what to make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, laundry, that stupid light bulb in the bathroom that’s out again, no husband. Patience.
I can’t help but think of Khadija (r) and her patience. She waited and served and kept going, as her husband (S) found Allah. She was 55 years old, with a house full of children, energetic boys and girls, some hers, some not. Was there even a bed for them to all crowd on top of, or just crowd her? Was there three meals she was planning for or just one and for how many people? Were there any complaints? There was, however, a ‘salaam’ from her Creator and a house guaranteed in Jannah for her.
For the first time this month, I felt Ramadan tonight. It may have been Laylatul Qadr. It may not have been. To me, it was. 8,268 miles away someone is finding Allah, making du’a for me, for these kids breathing on top of me, for this ummah. And here I am…just waiting patiently, yet still finding Allah. I am Khadija.