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.)
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.
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.