altMuslimah editors take a moment to talk about the important father figures in their lives.
Shazia K Farook—Associate Editor
My Papa is the definition of “California Cool.” It is his adventurous spirit that allowed and encouraged my sister and I to pursue our dreams, whether of education or of leaping into an awesome life experience. Papa taught me to never be scared of anything, and that lesson has helped me do things I might otherwise have hesitated to take on: live on my own, travel confidently, explore new places, meet new people, and most importantly, channel my creativity.
People say that I inherited my love for the performing arts from my father. It wasn’t long ago that I was the backup singer to his melodious voice as we performed old Indian classics like “Eena Meena Deekha” at family dinner parties.
May Allah (SWT) bless Papa, and my mother, and provide their children with many opportunities to serve them. Ameen.
This Father’s Day, I am reflecting on my husband as father. In our eight years of marriage and seven years of co-parenting, he has never demanded attention or express appreciation for his work. For a long time, neither did I. But as the aggravations of motherhood—especially a working, multitasking Tiger Mom—began to build, I started to find it imperative that Mother’s Day become a family tradition. I demanded that our children learn to acknowledge and be grateful for all that I did for them. It was, I told myself, a necessary part of their emotional growth.
I stick by that belief. And with the most recent Mother’s Day being the first we’ve ever celebrated, this Father’s Day will follow suit. Maybe it won’t involve a fancy dinner and an expensive orchid (necessary elements of my Mother’s Day), but it will involve cronuts, movies, Legos, and lots of silly dancing. For my kids, Daddy epitomizes humor, fun, and relaxation.
And that, ultimately, is what I am most grateful for this Father’s Day, when reflecting on the father of my children. Despite his high-stress job, which requires weekly traveling, daily schmoozing, and constant accessibility, he brings to parenting precisely the opposite: no-stress, no-frills, no-rules fun. It balances out my Tiger Mom tendencies, makes my kids eyes light up with joy, and creates a special kind of kinship between parents and child: one where we’re not just respected but also cherished.
Zehra Rizavi—Managing Editor
I called my dad yesterday morning to wish him a “Happy Father’s Day.” Because I’ve inherited both my tendency to become deeply attached to people and my reluctance to express that affection through sentimental phone calls and saccharine cards from my father, I quickly brushed past the “Salaam! Happy Father’s day.” He responded in kind with an awkward, hasty, “Thank you beta” before we settled into our usual routine—a bi-weekly hour-long chat about this that and everything else.And there you have a microcosm of our larger relationship—warm, familiar, trusting and most of all loving, although never overtly so. Through most of our conversation, I found myself breaking into side-splitting laughter over my father’s stories about chasing thieving squirrels with a home-made broom so the birds could eat in peace the seed he had so carefully laid out, or surreptitiously monitoring the Costco chocolate truffle tin to see who had been eating how many of his closely guarded sweets (it was my mom).
My father, with the exception of my husband, makes me laugh like no one else. Deep belly-aching laughs that leave me gasping for air and temporarily banish any anxieties from my mind. Our shared sense of humor weaves itself into every facet of our relationship, lightening and brightening both our lives and for this blessing I am grateful.