8 Ramadan 1443

1443 has been the year of milestones for me.

I bought a washer and dryer for the first time. I bought a car for the first time. I shovelled snow for the first time. I installed a handheld bidet while watching an instructional YouTube video for the first time. I found a vampire stake on a ledge above my bookshelves for the first time. I had a root canal done for the first time. I visited the Boston MFA for the first time. I went skiing for the first time.

And since the pandemic began, I invited people I do not live with inside my home to join me for iftar for the first time.

Other than the handful who told me they’d join me, I did not know who was coming or how many. I did not know if I ordered too much food or too little.

I did know I’ve done this before pandemic times. I knew I’ve witnessed my mom do it a million times on a much larger scale before pandemic times. I knew Allah never disappointed us when it came to feeding others before and during pandemic times.

And with far more gratitude than before pandemic times—the joy and laughter of friends and strangers, the good food and the good vibes, the sweet creativity of decorating hands, the swift clean up of spilled soda and water, the quickly devoured cookies and meatballs, the awkwardness of masks on chins catching crumbs and sauces, the bashful asks for where to make wudu and pray, the fear and nervousness of witnessing a gathering, the belongingness of friends collecting trash to make things lighter on you, the kids among adults and adults among kids, the reminders to eat more and not waste food, filled my heart.

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