Well folks, we are finally here. It's the last day of my little family's frankly ludicrous self-inflicted challenge to commit an act of kindness every day for thirty days. The reason we do this, as I'm sure you've heard me bang on about before, is to support the hubby whilst he fasts with a squillion other Muslims around the planet, and to hold Islam up in the gentle, positive light it is meant for.
And I'd like to commit at least a paragraph to the fact that today is also one year's anniversary since the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire in London. As I observed one minute's silence for the memory of all who lost their lives, I remembered how it was reported that it was Muslims who raised the earliest alarm about the danger. Muslims who were fasting for Ramadan and who had stayed up to have their last meal and say their last prayers before sunrise. Then, in the horrible aftermath mosques were opened up as sanctuaries, as were churches, gurdwaras and football clubs. All people. All beliefs. All ethnicities. And why? Because they were all human, and knew what it meant to be so.
And on that note, the Lads and I have rounded off our kindness acts with a gesture of what it is to be human. We've been busy doing, doing, doing over the last thirty days and today we decided to tap into what it is to just 'be'.
The Lads are painfully aware of the fact that I teach mindfulness to children and rarely want to do any of that dodgy hippy business at home. And that's why I was surprised this morning when they said they wanted to do a Loving Kindness meditation with me.
Today was also the last day of my six-week mindfulness course for children so it all fit in beautifully. I decided I'd do a similar meditation with my budding students in the session and then I'd be all warmed up and ready to go for a nice bit of calm with the Yardimci Lads back at home afterwards.
But first, dinner.
Now I don't want to waste your time and energy by telling you about the MENTAL day I have had today. Just rest safe in the knowledge that I am tired not just to the bone, but to the bone marrow. Hence I joined the Lads in their weekly takeaway night to show myself and my currently dubious culinary abilities a little kindness. Hey, if you can't treat yourself to the odd pizza when your hubby actually runs a pizza joint, then there is something seriously wrong in the world.
Once the onion rings were consumed and the pizza crumbs were satisfactorily embellishing the living room carpet, we got out the necessary equipment. Candle - check. Arty pebbles - check. Singing bowl and chimes - totally check. That's when Big Lad hit me with his breaking news.
"Mum, I want to lead the meditation."
I have never agreed to anything either of my sons have said with such haste. I wanted to make it start happening before it suddenly, somehow, became a big joke.
So we all got settled in. Blankets and cushions and cuddles all sorted, Big Lad began with a gentle clash of the singing bowl and read a script I'd given him on Loving Kindness. I closed my eyes but still sensed the soft flicker of the candle as well as the pressure of Little Lad's hand in mine.
Ok, so Big Lad may have had to put up with his brother's apparently unstoppable need to clash his own mindfulness chimes at regular intervals, but the whole thing went very smoothly. I enjoyed being guided through sending my loving thoughts out into the world, and then receiving them again for myself. Big Lad did good.
Naturally, his act had to be followed by Little Lad having a whirl at the old meditation game. I doubted this would end well but agreed anyway and Big Lad and I got settled for a second round.
It was my own fault really. I should never have laid my head so close to Big Lad's bum.
A farting episode and a fit of giggles later and we were no longer in the land of cuddles and blankets but instead romping gregariously through the land of fart jokes and floor wrestling and hilarity. But let's face it, that's more than ok.
If my Lads can end the whole month of Ramadan, and of giving up their time and energy to other people with a massive explosion of snotty, snorty laughter, then that's pretty cool by me. And although I'm not Muslim myself, I'm fairly sure it would be cool by Allah too.
And I'll end it by saying a humble thank you to every one of you who has read and followed these blog posts - your comments have kept me going even when the midnight oil has almost burned through and I can barely sit upright at my laptop. Incidentally, now is one of those moments so I'll sign off graciously, if I may.
(But not before saying thank you, also to my hubby. My beautiful man, you came up with this idea of a kindness calendar for Ramadan and that just shows you for the wonderful, warm and loving father that you are to our two boys. You teach them strength, humility and tenderness every single day and I am lucky to be able to bask in it all. Bloody love you)
Go well everyone,
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