I have been so busy this week which has left me exhausted and craving some down time. My in-laws have been here since June and have been helping with my children during the summer holidays and whilst I and hubby are at work.
In the past I have struggled to get on with my mum-in-law at times, but over the years we have both mellowed and learned to live with each other and not let little things irritate us. This means that this year we got on well and our home was peaceful and the household fairly well-managed. I have also been grateful for the love and patience I see them show to the children, especially the way both mum- and dad-in-law are besotted with Darling.
Dad-in-law has re-created our garden: replacing some of the beds with tiles, putting up fences which he created from wooden pallets he took apart, renewed the guttering and levelling where half of the garden was a step higher than the other half. Despite my initial scepticism at the mess that was being made, the garden is clean, neat and feels much bigger. I am looking forward to filling it with flowers in spring and creating a lovely place to sit in the evenings insh’Allah (garden pics to follow when I can get out during our short daylight hours.
Mum- and dad-in-law are going back to Pakistan this week to spend the winter in Lahore and preparations and packing have been in full swing. We've been making numerous shopping trips, mostly on the bus because I don’t drive and hubby despairs of shopping with his parents. I found out why this week when they annoyed each other so much that they had a fight in Debenhams and then again in Marks and Spencer:
Dad-in-law: “You didn't want me to come anyway!”
Mum-in-law: “No I didn't!”
Dad-in-law: “You would rather have left me at home”
Mum-in-law: “You take too long and you keep wandering off”
Dad-in-law: “I liked the one in the last shop, this is too expensive!”
Mum-in-law: “That one was the wrong size, just get this one!”
Dad-in-law: “I don’t want this one!”
Mum-in-law: “Well it’s not for you, so we’re getting it!”
This went on for a bit with people glancing over; I had to rush off to the queue to pay so they didn't see me laughing.
They are finally packed with their last minute shopping (yesterday after work) mostly done and are now in the phase where they start getting stressed as they try to work out how they are going to take double their luggage allowance through customs (I suspect there will be bags coming back).
Yesterday morning I was fasting (I still have some to make up for last Ramadan when I was pregnant) and prayed that I could share my evening meal with someone to earn some blessings, but fully expected a quiet meal. Hubby came home from the dawn prayer at the masjid and told me he had nominated me to cook for a group of visitors from Pakistan who were staying locally to engage in dawah work. I did the shopping during my office lunch hour and mum-in-law made some of the food during the day. I rushed home after work and picked up a few more ingredients and made the rest of the meal. We split it into three portions and sent one to the masjid, one to the ladies in the dawah group (or jamaat) who were staying at a local house and kept some for ourselves.
A little while later guests started arriving: my dad, uncles, an aunt, various cousins. They were here to say goodbye and hand over various items (camera, mobile phones, laptop) for loved ones in Pakistan, which caused more angst and hand wringing and curses to Pakistani International Airways for their weight limit.
I was serving dinner until about 9pm and the guests were here until about 10pm. The food just stretched to all of the guests and Alhamdulillah, I was so happy that we shared our evening meals with loved ones.
This morning, I am creaking. I have dragged myself into work which is restful in comparison and I am slumped in my chair waiting for 4pm when I can leave the office. This evening we are attending a lecture from the dawah group at 6pm, followed by visits to two families who have returned from hajj, who my mum-in-law wanted to see before she goes back. Probably more guests too.
Tomorrow they are going back to Pakistan, so I have taken the day off to do the school run and possibly go with them to the airport. Friday I am going to drop the kids off and spend the day in bed…..maybe….there is the party invitations a friend has asked me to make, articles to write, a newsletter to get out for Feroza, the box of beads under my bed calling me...