We awoke in an alternate reality almost too ludicrous to believe. As if all the networks teamed up with a mad scientist to trap America in a never ending episode of the Twilight Zone, Black Mirror, or Saturday Night Live.

And I keep oscillating between my hope that people power will win over hate, and praying that Steven Moffat didn’t actually write this vile episode of 2017.*

A year ago I sat in a hospital room, admitted with baby Quinn who needed oxygen and round-the-clock care due to a nasty virus (he kicked its butt!). The American election was in full swing, and in a protective, mama-bear moment I somehow got into a debate with the Hubby as to what we would do if “they” ever tried to ban Muslims. The Canadian people had just trashed our conservative government, but the rhetoric coming out of the United States scared me. Would they place us on a registry? Who out of the family could come home to Canada? Who can we sponsor? What could we do to protect ourselves and the extended family overseas?

I think the Hubby chalked up my dystopian ramblings to exhaustion and sleep deprivation.

But this week it’s all real. We are all affected by the #MuslimBan. My best friend and her husband, the Hubby’s dual-citizen cousin, American associates, dear blogger friends — the terrifying, personal news from everyone is overwhelming.

It hurts my heart to know that people in my community feel threatened in their own country. It hurts to know that migrants are still drowning, refugees are still fleeing, and suffering continues worldwide. And as I scroll through my Social feeds reading as much as I can in order to make sense of the loss of freedom and war on diversity, I’m having difficulties separating from the fact that we live in Canada. Because we should be safe way up here right?

Some of the conversations I’ve seen online point to a terrible new world where the racist bar has been lifted. It doesn’t matter what happens politically or who ends up in charge — fascists have a new playing-field and can enact all sorts of terrible things to disenfranchise people. And in some future time or place when civil liberties are in jeopardy, “they” can simply say, “Well at least it’s not a total ban.”

But my God. The American people’s response. It’s just as overwhelming. Every video of people marching in protest is an action of hope. It is amazing and phenomenal. The lawyers! The taxi drivers! God bless them all.

The Women’s March on Washington galvanized an incredible momentum for good that we now need in abundance. We weren’t able to make it out to a protest, so last week I sat with Eryn, Ivy and Quinn to watch Linda Sarsour and 6-year-old Sophie Cruz make history. We talked about ways we can combat hate and encourage awesomeness in the world through actions and thoughts. The result of their brainstorming session is now a poster on their wall.

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If you’re in Canada and want to add to this momentum and do something about the ban, the Women’s March on Washington Canada has a list of action items on their Facebook page that include joining vigils/protests, calling your MP, and volunteering.

My love and dua’as are with you. Stay safe.


*That’s a Doctor Who joke. It means everyone is going to die. So, it’s not really a joke. It’s quite horrific.

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Sometimes our family talks go something like this:

Hubby: Does a crow crow?
Me: No, a crow caws.
Hubby: It doesn’t craw?
Me: No, that’s a raven.
Hubby: So a crow caws and a raven craws?
Me: Exactly.
Eryn: NO! IT’S RAVENCLAW!

And sometimes, they look more like this:

Me: Eryn, when your friend said that she could stay living in America if Trump wins because she is a Christian, how did that make you feel?
Eryn: Sad.

Earlier this evening Eryn who is seven (SEVEN??!!) going on 16, was allowed her very first phone call to a friend. I lent her my phone and after practising proper phone etiquette (“Hello, this is Eryn calling. May I please speak with June?”), she excitedly stole away to her room, closed the door, and spoke with her friend on speakerphone.

After about five minutes I joined her in her room. She gave me a thumbs up and a huge smile signalling that the conversation was going well. Because apparently the stressful juggling act of creating and maintaining key playground relationships begins early, dontcha know? (I didn’t)

Then June said:

I saw a funny picture of Hillary on my mom’s phone!
Eryn: Who’s Hillary?
June: She’s going to be the next president of America. Do you know Trump? My mom said he’s a bad man.
Eryn: Yeah my mom said he doesn’t like Muslims and that if we lived in America he would kick us out.
June: Well I’m Christian so I can live in America.

I flagged the moment as a teachable conversation.

Photo Credit: Jamie Kapp

Photo Credit: Jamie Kapp

After dinner and some play time with the neighbourhood kids, I had a few minutes of alone time with Eryn. And while I did her hair, I asked why she felt sad when June said she could live in America:

Because she’s Christian and can live in America. This means I can’t and that’s not fair.
Me: Well, actually, June is missing something really important about Trump.
Eryn: What?
Me: She said she can live in America because she is Christian. But Trump doesn’t like a lot of people. He said he would build a wall to keep people from Mexico out of America. He also has a lot of really bad ideas about people of colour. A lot of the people he has issues with are also Christian. So it’s more complicated. June can talk about religion because she has something called white privilege.
Eryn: (looking at her palms) My hands are white…
Me: Yes, you have privilege too.
Eryn: Does Hillary like everyone?
Me: She likes more people than Trump…
Eryn: I hope she wins.

Then, later as I tucked her into bed:

Me: Do you know what responsibility is?
Eryn: Is that like, doing what your teacher tells you to do?
Me: Kind of. It’s like doing the right thing. You have some privilege, and with privilege comes great responsibility.
Eryn: Like Ms. Marvel?
Me: Yes! Privilege gives you power and when you have power you should always try to help others. So you were born in Canada, you go to a good school, and have nice things. This is all privilege. So whenever you see someone who needs help, or if someone is being mean, you should always step in to help, or to speak up for others.
Eryn: Ok mama.

 

Did she understand? Who knows! I was kind of blown away she remembered an offhanded comment I made MONTHS ago during the Republican National Convention and had the acuity to apply it in a conversation that I was expecting would revolve around Shopkins.

I would like Eryn and Ivy (and one day Quinn too) to have the capacity to call out simplistic world views that help perpetuate racism or discrimination. I mean, not necessarily today or tomorrow morning on the playground. But one day when they are able to understand the nuances of their position in life and those around them.

For now, they are surrounded by good, diverse people. The phone conversation today was innocent. It was, wasn’t it? I mean, in all fairness to June, it did end off with the both of them meowing at each other like cats. But the comment still made Eryn feel othered. I certainly wasn’t expecting to introduce white privilege as a part of our bedtime routine.

I wish it was as simple as making a Harry Potter pun.

MAMUJI_251015_0104New baby smell is richly sweet like Early Grey with shots of vanilla and excitement. Like the newness of dawn and the start of a new season. Like petrichor and golden falling leaves shimmering in the rays of an autumn sun. Something deep inside stirs with each breath.

Your sweetness breaks my heart. I can barely contain this love.

Your smell reminds me of the previous morning. I took a brisk walk through the forest, enjoying the unseasonably warm air, the turning leaves and how the light opened my lungs and pushed you down. Each footstep reminded us both that your birth day was soon to arrive.

I told you to be born on the 10th and you listened. Just like your sisters before you, I knew the exact day you would come into this world, even though my OB thought differently. Your birth followed a cosmic design that mirrored my hopes for a 2015 Libra, born three days early to complete a sibling birth order of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

And while I thought your birth would follow the same pattern as your sisters, you flipped everything on its head.

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My brain is a big, old attic — and stuffed away in the corner is a lovely trunk. The brass corners add a hint of complicated depth against the dark wood. Dust and scratches mar the trunk’s once glowing carvings — but upon closer inspection, one can see this this trunk was loved and should be loved again.

It is now covered with a crocheted blanket and a pile of books keeps the lid closed. But once in a while, the lid rattles against the weight of the books and a puff of wind lifts a corner of the blanket. And I’m so curious to see what’s knocking about inside. What wonders might pour out if I’m just a little bit brave.

But I’m afraid to open it. Because it’s been so long. And the longer I keep the trunk closed, the more afraid I become.

If I open it, will I have to keep it open forever? What if I just want to take a peek?

So this is me. Just taking a peak.

A lot has happened in the world over the past year and I have a lot of ideas brewing. Thank you for sticking around and checking out the place once in a while even though I have been woefully absent. I know you’re out there because I still get comments. I still get emails. And I still get visits. Thank you for your patience as I figure things out.

But this is just a peek… so I’ll go first with one of my favourites: some lazy photo-blogging.

We got a cat.

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His name is Leto and he’s adorable. He’s also a lot bigger than he is in this picture. I mean come on, just LOOK at the size of his paws. He’s a massive cat and fetches his toys. I’ve also underestimated just how much one animal can shed (the hair is worth its weight in purrs!).

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Eryn is six-and-a-half! And she is a force to be reckoned with. Eryn constantly needs to be doing, dancing, playing or entertaining. The Energizer bunny has nothing on her.

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Ivy is three-and-a-half! And is already her own person. She enjoys playing with her toys and can spend hours ordering coins, beads, or toy cars into straight lines. Just don’t tell Ivy what to wear. She will figure that out for herself, thank you very much.

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I started making jewelry.

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And figured out how to greyscale myself using makeup — just so I could rock some hijabi cosplay of a 1927 silent film star for an afternoon.

But perhaps the most important thing to happen this past year was Quinn.

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Say hello to baby Quinn everyone.

Masha’Allah, Alhamdulillah.

Resurfacing to share this glorious image:

Despite her satin tights, even Wonder Woman has bad hijab days!

Even Wonder Woman has bad hijab days!

The December #20 issue of Sensation Comics features our badass heroine representing the Justice League on a space ship traveling to the first human settlement on Venus. She arrives straight from a relief mission on Earth, saving children in the Punjab from raging floods.

Natch, she’s still wearing her dupatta and baggy kurta pants. Because, you know… she’s awesome:

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Once introduced, she soon realizes that she’s not only battling Venician monsters, but sexism served with a condescending tone of misogyny.  The leader of the ship “welcomes” her by lamenting the fact he got her instead of Superman.

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“Nice boots….”

I finished the final zip on my knee-high leather boots and stood up to an incredibly friendly smile greeting me in the middle of the regular post-Jummah shoe chaos. While being jostled and pushed, I smiled back and said thank you — vaguely distracted as women and children dove in between us to claim their shoes before rushing over to the community lobby for veggie samosas and hot chai.

With one eye on Ivy as she struggled to put on her shoes (on opposite feet, and emphatically by herself!), my new friend and I briefly spoke about where I got my boots and how they looked “steampunk.” Which, covered in rivets and a classic Victorian brass heel, is exactly the style I’m wearing these days.

Of course, the topic of my boots and the random recognition of my favourite neo-Victorian genre, made this the most exciting conversation I’d had at the mosque in a very long time. And was an instant spark of light after a previously long string of negative experiences.

Especially seeing as I was just about on my way out the door. Fully prepared to add this mosque to my growing list of places to which I’d never return.

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Ivy and Eryn just being kids in the mosque gym.

An hour earlier we were singing Eryn’s favourite “going to the mosque song” in the car and I was excited to be finally attending my first Jummah in almost six months. The last time we came to this location was for ‘Eid ul-Fitr, and my heart burst with joy and pride when the imam delivered an incredibly inclusive khutbah on mental heath. This mosque represented an island sanctuary in an ocean of disappointment and judgement.

And it was a harsh betrayal when I was asked to leave the main prayer hall.

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