Monday– Sweet, Old, Boring Monday

Today, in mosques around the globe, Muslims celebrated Eid Al-Fitr, the culmination of Ramadan (the month of fasting).  The celebration means that observant Muslims no longer fast from sunrise to sunset. (It probably means a lot more than that, so you should look that up on Wikipedia to get a full description of the significance of Eid Al-Fitr.)

Eid Al-Fitr Celebration (image courtesy of

Eid Al-Fitr Celebration (image courtesy of

For me, this means I no longer have to imagine my beloved Muslim nanny, S., collapsing on the street from dehydration while she is pushing my kids in the double stroller.

And that is why tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year: the first business day after Ramadan.

This year’s Ramadan was particularly stressful for me– not because I was fasting or being religious in any way, since I am not Muslim– but that didn’t stop me from making an entire religion’s practices ALL ABOUT ME.  Ramadan coincided with our hottest days of the year, but S. couldn’t have so much as a sip of water during the entire time she was with my children.  I worried about her.  I worried about my kids. I checked my cell phone all the time, worried she would be calling with her last breath or that someone would have found her unconscious while my children rummaged through her purse to find shit to play with while she expired on the asphalt.

Perhaps ironically, this image is from

Perhaps ironically, this image is from

In fact, one morning about two weeks ago, she didn’t look well at 9:00 AM, and it was already 90 degrees outside.  I was at a loss as I stood in the kitchen making oatmeal with Pirates Booty croutons for the kids’ breakfast.  I wanted to offer her something– sparkling water or some bridge mix.  I didn’t want to trample on the sacred rites of her religion, but damn, I sure wanted her to sneak some Ice Mountain when she was taking my kids to the splash park in 100-degree heat.

Last year during Ramadan, S. lost about 30 pounds.  I damn near became a Muslim watching her jeans grow baggy on her and her blouses dwarf her already petite frame.  (This year, the weight loss hasn’t been as drastic so I am less zealous about conversion.)

When she left on Friday, I heard her tell Sadie she would bring her some special cakes and “goodies” from her Eid Al-Fitr feast.  Actually, it’s all Sadie has talked about all weekend, “the special cakes S. is bringing on Monday.”

Tomorrow, I might suggest that S. lobby for Ramadan to be during the winter months, when the whole “no drinking water during the daylight” part would be less of a big deal.  Also, with less daylight hours during winter, the fasting would be much easier.  I figure if I can ask the Jews to consider more healthy options during Hanukkah (how about easing up on the fried potato thing?), I might as well work on the Muslim world’s customs too.

But for now, I am just glad that S. can fill her water bottle and drink on the job again.


14 thoughts on “Monday– Sweet, Old, Boring Monday

  1. Actually, Ramadan DOES move through the year (that whole lunar calendar thing) & this year was particularly sucky for Muslims everywhere b/c Ramadan coincided with the longest days of the year & thus the longest days for fasting. I keep thinking that “next year” I’ll try this whole fasting thing, but given that I couldn’t even make it through a four-day cleanse, a month is probably beyond my capabilities. I did drive to the store the other day WITHOUT A WATER BOTTLE IN THE CAR, however, if that counts for anything?

    (also, great article in the New Yorker this week, I think, about a guy who converted to Islam for his wife and who fasted this year for the first time. Funny & nicely written & and of course I remember nothing about the title or the author’s name. Whoops

    Eid Mubarak, outlaw!

    • Oh, I am so glad to hear it moves! I want S to be able to fast during January, when the rest of the world is trying to get rid of Thanksgiving to Christmas pudge. And by rest of the world, I mean me! And, getting in the car without a water bottle, is like staring death in the face. I knew you were courageous! I sometimes fast from Breakfast to lunch, but then I eat lunch at 10AM. So, I will have to work up to Ramadan. Going to look for that article…..

    • She’s incredible. I really want to ask her more about it, but she’s so professional and I have a history of blurring boundaries with babysitters, so I keep my professional distance. I find it really amazing, especially the way she describes how her family and friends spend evenings and late nights at the mosque praying during Ramadan. It sounds really social and benevolent to me. I have no idea when they sleep though. She’s had a few super late mornings this summer, but I would never begrude her that. She’s been waking up at 4:30 to eat and drink before the sun rises, and then tries to get a little more sleep before starting her busy day.

  2. This post was hysterical. Oatmeal with pirate booty croutons. I spit out my OJ.

    I am very happy that Ramadan is over but for different reasons. We live about 10 feet from a mosque and the late night activity was killing me and my sleep. I thought about converting just to go with the flow.

    Fill S up to the tippy top today!

  3. I just couldn’t be snarky about this–too amazing, really. Good on you for being so cool about it, and for respecting her.

  4. Dang. That’s serious dedication.
    Seems as though proving belief and offering sacrifice to one’s God is a big deal for believers. As much as I respect what each believer does to prostrate herself before her Creator, I would want to find a religion where the One (or many) have some other way of discerning my sincerity. Omniscience, or something, so I don’t have to prove myself by dehydration.
    Genuinely mean no disrespect. I just can’t imagine a higher power that wants people to stretch their bodies to such limits. Of course, most cultures argue that without those physical sacrifices you can’t achieve spiritual awareness.
    Shows what I know.

    • I agree. I feel like that when I watch my Jewish friends fast during Yom Kippur….why would god want me to suffer? Moreover, trying to visualize a benevolent god is hard when I am asked to dehydrate. That’s just me, though.

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