My New Year’s resolutions tend to be rather random and specific. A couple of years ago I resolved to replace every plain white pair of underwear in my drawer with a fun pair. That drawer is now a veritable rainbow. The year after that I resolved to not wear T-shirts anymore (and I mean the ratty ones) on a daily basis. They would, henceforth, be relegated exclusively to bedtime wear. This year I said a simple prayer sometime in early January,
“Lord, by the end of this year I’d like to have a friend who wears a hijab.”
I prayed it a few times over the course of the week. Motherhood is isolating enough. Add an urban setting, a language barrier, and such a visible testament to strong religious beliefs and I imagine it must be lonelier still. I wanted to know these women underneath the scarves with whom I must share so much as a mother in the city.
And wouldn’t you know, today it happened.
I met a mother at the park. I almost never go to this park anymore. I began asking about her daughter who was playing with my son in the sandbox.
“I’m sorry,” she said, stumbling through her English, “You don’t by any chance speak French?”
“Mais, oui!” I said.
And so began a long conversation with nervous laughter, patience, and a lot of hand movements as we moved between French and English, talked about our husbands, and about Ramadan starting next week and how hard it is to feed the kids and not eat yourself.
Halfway through this conversation in the middle of June I remembered my New Year’s prayer. Of course, this begs the question, which came first, the prayer or the plan to bring this woman into my life? Which prepared the way for which?
It turns out she lives directly across the street from me. We chatted until dinnertime. She kissed my cheeks and welcomed me into her home. I welcomed her into mine and asked if she liked tea. We will see each other again.
I’m so glad for random prayers, new friends, and three kids who were going so crazy this afternoon I had to get off my butt and take them to the park. God even finds joy in using my crazy kids. What do you know?