The only constant is change
Holidays change as we grow older. Or at least, we change – and blame it on the holidays.
Lately, I’ve been struggling with Eid. Each year I have to fight off the overwhelming nostalgia for bygone days and celebrations while reminding myself that this is normal: nothing stays the same.
We no longer anticipate Eid, counting down until that wonderful day that seems to last forever. We have outgrown the excitement, we’re blind to the magical moments that enthralled us as children.
Eid has become a burden. I have to find new clothes, uncomfortable shoes, a bag that’s not too big or too small and then endure my (many) cousins’ silent appraisal of my attire. I have to wake up at the crack of dawn and plaster a smile on my face for a couple of days as we go from house to house making small talk and basically repeating the same stories. I get tired of the same questions, year in and year out. I get depressed seeing the mothers turn into grandmothers, the grandmothers into great-grandmothers… it’s unstoppable, irreversible and throws me into a philosophical brood. I notice how frail a great-uncle has become and realize with sadness that a great-great-aunt has no idea who all the strangers crowding her living room are or why they’re there.
I once looked forward to slipping into a new dress, twirling around and making the skirt poof. I raced downstairs to kiss my grandparents then I chattered nonstop and got in the way as my aunts bustled around. I quivered in excitement, waiting for the first visitors to arrive. Soon, the house will be filled with people. Soon, I’ll meet all the second cousins again and we’ll swap stories as we parade around the courtyard. We would try to carry the little ones and get yelled at, we’d stay away from the boys and their rough games – constantly smoothing down our clothes and checking to see that we didn’t lose our gold bracelets and necklaces that our mothers securely fastened that morning.
I looked forward to all the food, making quick eye-contact with my mother to see if I could have another chocolate or take another glass of juice. I didn’t know what calories were. I relished the festivities and basked in the attention, smiling at an aunt who thought my dress was gorgeous. I would run to greet relatives who walked in, waiting breathlessly for the eidyah*. I used to fold the money very carefully into my bag, counting it every chance I got and telling my brother what I was going to buy with it.
I miss the bustle, the warmth and the joy of Eid. I miss it all, especially the laughter.
*Eidyah is money given to children by their parents and older family members.