Day 4: Beautiful Dinner Table
So for the past 4-5 years, I haven’t been home much, the irony here is that I still live at home. I mean between classes, working at least 2 jobs, and then having some other extra curricular activities here and there, things get crazy. I’ve changed my schedule around this Ramadan so I can try to be home as much as possible! I was actually home for the first 4 days of Ramadan; to be home this many days in a row really is a Ramadan miracle for me! Being home and seeing my parents and brothers for dinner is amazing! I feel like I miss out on so much when I’m working. I hate that I miss events for my little brothers or even quality time of literally juss sitting on the couch and staring at mom-yeah buddy, creeper status, I know. It’s insane how much we all work and how much we have to cram into a single day. I myself always have a crazy schedule so I know what its like traveling form place to place; from work to class to internship, to meetings and then bouncing off from borough to borough and trying to make it back home to Long Island. Everything is really jam packed into my schedule, that’s juss how I’ve always been since high school. One thing that I do have to do is make time to be with my family. Honestly, it is really hard. I’m always everywhere, and my family time is often sacrificed. Hamdulillah, my family understands, but that really isn’t the important part. The important part is that I am missing my family; I need them in my life! I need my dad to make his beyond corny jokes and to make fun of everything I do. I need my mom’s snippy comments and witty sarcasm, and hugs. I need my youngest brother to be there to remind me about innocence and to figure out why he’s dancing around the house. I need my little brother’s amazing hugs and to hear his laughter and weird jokes that manage to make me laugh. The hardest person to get in contact with is my oldest brother who sort of moved out 4 years ago and now lives upstate. When he left for school we were all depressed, just knowing that he wasn’t coming home for the night made us sad. However, every time he comes home we’d all try to change our schedules, we’d try to make sure the family dinner table was full and everyone was there. Throughout the years I realized that I need to sneak in family time anywhere I can. My dad also goes to the city, so whenever he’d be able to, I’d take a ride to the city with him. My dad will ask the same questions and tell me the same stories, he even makes the same comments as we pass the same places but he’s my dad, and I listen. I act surprised and try to listen intently each time. It’s sad that with time, we become really impatient with our parents, we have to keep our cool with them. I know it can be hard, but think of all the stupid things we did as kids, I was a weird kid man, I’m surprised my parents never disowned me. When my mom picks me up from the train station I try to tell her about my day, telling her everything to the point where she really doesn’t care and I listen to what she did for the day. On days I can find time to call, I call my mom just to say hi and to see what she’s up to. I’ll sit in the living room with everyone doing my work, but juss being around them feels good.
Ramadan brought my family together. Do you know how beautiful it is to sit at a dinner table and see the spots filled? Granted, my older brother isn’t home, but he calls us and briefs us in on what goes on in good old Rochester. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday night, Allah gave me the blessing of having dinner with my family. Looking around the table, I see my parents smiling and my brothers giggling and being silly for God knows what, seriously I cant keep track of what they laugh about, we all have a laughing problem we can’t control. And the fact that I actually ate real food, not random snacks or caffeine or energy drinks, how I normally get through a workday.
As I got on the train this morning, I felt sad knowing that I’m going to miss dinner with my family tonight. I can’t wait to get home and see them again. Changing my work and internship schedule around for Ramadan was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. This Ramadan, I knew it was time to reconnect with my family. We’re all always scattered around, but Ramadan is such a beautiful and blessed month that is has brought us all home. Islam doesn’t tell us to be good to our family for no reason. There is wisdom behind each and everything we are supposed to do. I find happiness when I’m with my family. I find peace when I’m with my family. My parents and brothers are the ones who have always been there for me. Yes we get in arguments, yes we don’t always see eye to eye and we clash sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I should neglect them. You don’t want to be surrounded by people who wont tell you that you need to make a change in your life, you don’t want to be surrounded by people who give you fake advice or say things juss to keep you thinking you’re doing right. You want to be with people who want you to succeed, who want to se you be triumphant and become a better person each day. We live in a time where the perception of family is just disgusting. The media portrays parents to be stupid and makes okay to hate your siblings. Astaghfurullah. It really depresses me when I see this stuff on TV because kids believe it. Maintaining good relations with parents and siblings isn’t always easy, but we need to make an effort. I know it’s hard, it takes time, and it truly does take effort, but inshaAllah we’ll be rewarded for making the efforts. Time we spend making our parents happy with us will be good deeds for us, why should we deprive ourselves of this? Most Ramadan’s I make an insane list of things that I want to accomplish before the month is over. This year, I realized I need to start from the roots. I can build on my character through interacting with my family. I can get good deeds by helping out around the house, helping with food or even just sitting down and talking and making my parents happy. Why should I set myself up for goals that are hard to meet and then get depressed for not completing them? Sometimes, it’s the simple things that we need to do that will help us get closer to Allah. We shouldn’t isolate ourselves and forget about others, and we shouldn’t be too social, it’s the right balance that we need. For me, I know I need to spend as much time with my family and the best time is to do it during Ramadan! Good deeds are multiplied! My family has a Qur’an reading competition-my mom is beast, she always wins, but hey we still get good deeds for trying J If you really want to know someone, see how they interact with their parents, see how they interact with their sibling(s), and that’ll answer a lot of questions you may have about them. I leave you with this hadith, “The best of you are those who are best to their families.” May Allah make us those who have good relations with their families, who have patience and are kind with their family and who go out of their way to make their parents happy and take care of their parents.
Keep the entire Ummah in your du’as.
O Allah, You are the Forgiver, You love to forgive, so forgive us.
Allahumma sali ala sayyidina muhammadin an-Nabbiyil ummiyi Wa ala alihi wa sahbihi wa salim.
Take care inshaAllah,