Dylan and I sat in the well-worn cushions of the black pleather love seat in our counselor’s office, the three of us wondering how I’d respond to Dylan’s marriage proposal.
“Well?” Dylan asked, his gray-green eyes locked on my face.
“Yes! Oh my god, yes,” I said, but my up intonations gave away my uncertainty. “Of course! It’s what we’ve been talking about! Of course I want to get ma-mar—engaged!”
I winced at the shrill sound of my own voice. The pleather groaned as I shifted and sunk into my seat.
The rest of the session I was Woody Allen in “Annie Hall.”
We love this story out of Minneapolis, where young Muslim girls designed their own basketball uniforms with the help of the University of Minnesota Design School and the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport. Watch the video, here. Good luck with the rest of the season!
In seventeen years of marriage, my husband and I have lived in one foreign country and three different states. At each of these locations, we’ve changed our homes at least twice, shrinking and expanding from a tiny apartment to a bigger apartment, from a smaller duplex to a larger high-rise, from a modest townhome to single-family home. And, within each of these homes, we’ve been different people and a different couple.
Our first apartment was a one-bedroom in Santa Clara, California with carpet so stiff it seemed to crunch when you walked on it and a kitchen so small that only one appliance could be opened at a time. For the year that we lived in that apartment, I was a busy student, wrapping up my last year of college while applying to graduate school. My husband, Hadi, was applying to medical school while working. On some weeknights Hadi cooked. Other nights, we ate out. But in both cases, these meals had to be rushed. I had to get back to studying because weekends were reserved for visiting my parents over an hour’s drive away. School and family had always been my priorities; it seemed only natural to me that my husband would follow, the next in line.
The text arrived while I sat at a coffee shop bent over a lazy notebook and a blank page. Happy Mother’s Day, the text read. Thank you for taking care of us. I can only imagine how stressful it was. I hope you’re doing well.
My head jerked back as I sucked in caffeinated air. I sat in my chair for approximately three seconds before I retreated to the bathroom to cry. I continued bawling on the way home. Later while in the shower, I moaned like an animal as the water attempted to wash away my grief and sadness.
I have found myself trying to avoid this aspect of my past during the two-and-a-half years since I left my marriage. There are many things that I freely share about my decision to leave Zalmay, my ex-husband. I have never discussed how much I fear that I failed as a mother.
The little ghost pops up on my phone and I push the button to see what kind of a Snapchat he has sent.
My sisters convinced me to download the app so we can send photos of outfits to each other, but Snapchat is infamous as the app with which teenage boys share pictures of their penis. Photos which self-destruct within 10 seconds.
I touch the screen, and up pops an image of a smiling brown baby, a few months old, wearing gray organic knit pants over his diapers. The caption read “Big Booty Baby.”
Some girls get penis pictures from boys. I get baby pictures from my exes. This is my single life in my thirties.
Love, Inshallah presents an author interview podcast with The Faith Club author, Ranya Tabari Idliby, as she discusses her memoir, Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie: Being Muslim in America.
Deonna Kelli Sayed (DKS): This is Deonna Kelli Sayed for Loveinshallah.com. Ranya Tabari Idliby is an American-Muslim writer. You’ve probably heard of her first book, the celebrated The Faith Club: A Muslim, a Christian, a Jew: Three Women Search for Understanding, which featured an interfaith group of female friends promoting common ground after the September 11th attacks. Ranya is an American-Muslim and a New Yorker who has raised her children in the city.
Ranya’s second book reveals more of her personal journey. In Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie: Being Muslim in America, she focuses on her story as a Palestinian, a Muslim, and a mother negotiating her family’s Islamic identity in celebration of America. The memoir interweaves the stories of three generations: her father came to America as a Palestinian refugee when he was sixteen years old; the details of her own global childhood as a Palestinian raised in the Gulf states, and the experiences of her two American-born children.
Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie echoes the sentiments of Loveinshallah – that Muslims in America – and anywhere, for that matter — can own and celebrate personal truths.
I spoke with Ranya over Skype, where she revealed that her journey started on September 11, 2001, and why these events became a turning point for Muslims all over the world.
I am not sure why I have not written in a long time. I try to dissect my feelings. To open up the bloody mess and follow the veins of my thoughts and explore the chambers of my heart. I get lost every time. I must accept that I will never find my way through the clutter.
Of course, I miss Ibrahim. I have learned that I will always miss him. I miss him in different ways everyday. Most days, I miss his smell or even the smell of the sterile hospital. His now-yellowed white hospital hat, which I store in two Ziploc bags and smell daily, no longer has his scent. So instead, when I visit people at the hospital, I pump the possibly carcinogenic hand sanitizing lotion twice, close my eyes, and breathe it in deeply. I am immediately taken back to his bedside- his pink abdomen moving rapidly and his lips cracked around the breathing tube. I don’t feel grief ,rather, joy for the short moment with him. I open my eyes to see my husband, the only other being on earth who knows why I do this, looking at me. I avoid eye contact and rub my hands together as if nothing happened.
Yes, it’s complicated.