My family may not be perfect, but whose is? Mine is judgmental, stubborn, irritating, infuriating at times…and of course loving, caring, inspirational, forgiving and nurturing. Overall, I love them all unconditionally and can’t imagine life without any of them, especially my mommy.
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”
~ Desmond Tutu
When I first told my mother that we were becoming Muslims she acted totally rational and didn’t understand why I would be scared to tell her about it. For the first little while she didn’t seem at all freaked out or angry about it at all. It was great. However, that understanding attitude didn’t last long.
Over the last several weeks she has gotten more negative about the whole thing and seems irritated if we mention anything about it. It seems that she is now particularly irritated that we are dragging her grandkids into this. Christmas has become a particular point of contention. I decided that we would not put up a Christmas tree or do Santa Claus this year for the kids. This would be the first year in my life without a tree; it just seemed like the right thing to do. My husband wasn’t so sure about not having a tree but he supported my decision and we thought that was the end of it.
When my mom realized we weren’t going to have a tree (after asking me about it every single day for two weeks and me telling her I wasn’t sure) she finally decided to ask if it was for religious reasons. I, of course, told her yes and that we wouldn’t be doing Santa either. She stopped talking after that. I knew I had hit a sore spot which is why I wasn’t going to mention that we didn’t have a tree or that we had decided against Santa.
I decided that we should go to lunch. She needs to see that I am still the same person. I don’t know what she thinks that I am now or why the tree and Santa are such a big deal to her. We have never celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday, after all it’s actually a pagan holiday that the Catholic Church through a Christian name on to get pagans to convert. Christmas has always been about giving and spending time with our loved ones. This was the reason she believed that we should still be able to celebrate.
I would like to clarify that we were still planning to participate in all of the family get-togethers as well as exchanging gifts
So after a long discussion with her and my grandmother I conceded and agreed to put up a small tree. (We are still not doing Santa, I wouldn’t budge on that.) Now, in the corner of my living room is a small, yet to be decorated, tree. My husband is worried that I am unhappy that we have it. He kind of wanted one anyway, but he knew that I had decided against it. He is also agrees that since we don’t celebrate for religious reasons that it should be fine. I just am not sure about the whole thing. I am, however, not doing it for myself but instead to keep the peace and to make my mother happy. I pray that one day she will be able to accept me and my decisions, but until then I will do what I need to in order to maintain peace and happiness.
I am hoping that in the future we will be able to slowly remove ourselves from these traditions. I am hoping that a gradual change will be easier for everyone to understand. After all, this is our first Christmas as Muslims; we only signed the Bai’at a couple of weeks ago.
I guess that we will see what happens…