Our Old-Fashioned Friendship In The Modern World
A few weeks ago, this article was making the rounds on my social media. It was mostly shared by people who, like me, were born before 1985 and added comments such as: I am so glad I remember life before the internet and kids will never know how great it was.
Now, I liked the article and put the book it refers to on my library list, but everytime I read a smug comment which essentially celebrated being older than 30, I just felt annoyed. Mainly because being born before 1985 is not an achievement – we definitely do not have any influence over when we are born – and also because, in the grand scheme of things, while it does mean something, it doesn’t mean everything.
Someone somewhere is always bemoaning the onward march of technology and the pervasiveness of our screens and gadgets. Oftentimes this someone is me. I’ve always been a bit wary of personal tech and since becoming a parent, I am hyper-sensitive to screentime (my own and my children’s). But when there is reason to stop for a moment and seriously consider life before and after the internet, I really have only true awe and astonishment.
“Do not raise your children the way (your) parents raised you; they were born for a different time.” Hazrat Ali
There is absolutely no way our own parents could have known what type of world we would inhabit as adults. In their wildest dreams could they have ever imagined the challenges our mobile, interconnected world presents us? Or even more significantly, the benefits and joys it is able to bring?
We live in remarkable times. Flooded with opportunities for enrichment, participation and collaboration – never has it been easier to articulate who you are and find your tribe. However, like every generation before me, I struggle to reconcile the advances in our world – the good and the bad of them – while staying true to the things that matter and make us most human: compassion, community, desire for safety, the sharing of stories and meaningful knowledge.
A little over seven years ago, I received a sweet submission email to my old blog. Back then, Hijabs High was a hive of activity – on the bleeding edge of street-style blogging and cited in the mainstream media – it celebrated Muslim women far in advance of the juggernaut that was to become Modest Fashion. I received many great submissions but never forgot that particularly thoughtful message — so positive and encouraging — that the sender ended with by quoting this hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him):
God will say on the Day of Resurrection, “Where are those who have mutual love for My (sake)? Today I shall shelter them in my shadow.”
Those words struck a powerful chord with me. I felt in my heart that whoever this person was, I knew that they were a kindred soul, and I loved them for the sake of Allah.
And you know what? Fast forward over seven years of correspondence, and rewind to exactly three months ago, the sender of that email and I started a new blog, this blog.
The one you are reading right at this very moment. And we did it without any major hesitation, without ever meeting – in fact, without even exchanging phone numbers.
Wait, what? How did that happen?!
The truth is, I can’t tell you exactly, because I don’t really know myself – it just did. But the thing I can tell you is that I doubt it could have ever happened at any other moment in history.
If this all sounds a bit magical, well… that’s because it is a bit magical. Despite geography and time zones, work and children, our desire to share experiences honestly and celebrate our evolving identities has compelled us to seek one another repeatedly throughout the years in a way which simply would not have been possible before the internet. We are completely and proudly a product of our time.
If Mamanushka was a baby, she would be twelve weeks old today – still sweet and tiny but with distinct features emerging and a real personality beginning to come through. And what is a baby without a host of well-wishers surrounding it? From Denmark to South Africa to Canada to Malaysia and countless countries in between, this little blog has been blessed with the warmest of welcomes from around the world.
And in this way, you, our lovely readers, are the newest part of this old-fashioned, modern day friendship. When else in the history of all the world would we have ever been able to know and share all of this with all of you? With such ease and positivity? Such hope and joy? We love you for the best of reasons.
Here are some snap shots from our very first ‘Mamanushka Meets’, if you’d like to see:
Look at how giddy we are – we can’t even be bothered to manage a more stylised selfie, let alone figure out where the camera is! This is after a cross country drive for me and a packed day with the kids for Sumaya.
Escape to the local park so everyone can run around and we are greeted by this amazing sky.
All Mininushkas agree, there is only one way to get to the top of the slide.
While the mothers were having a meeting, these little mothers were discussing their babies too! Our girls love these dolls, both from Corolle.
Partners In Joy:
These two greeted each other like lifelong friends and immediately set to work adventuring. A glance out the window found them hard at work… what is going on over there?
Ah, it’s a “bird’s nest”! Complete with comfy padding and boundaries, of course.
Same same but diffirent indeed! We both gifted each other books!
From me to Sumaya, this gorgeous book which features saffron, spices and tea – all things that remind me of her!
From Sumaya to I, this gem of a book packed with ideas to make and do – we have already started collecting cardboard for these houses.
A House for All Seasons :
I have a feeling this is a door which is always open. We met at Sumaya’s parents home – a 19th century Victorian town house straight out of a C.S. Lewis novel! (Thank you Mama & Papa Teli!)
If you have any questions for us about blogging or Mamanushka, feel free to send us an email or write them directly in the comments – we would be happy to pick a few and answer them in a future blog post! And as always, thank you for reading and we hope you will connect with us on facebook, instagram or twitter.