Just One Tub of Toys

hamzahbompWhen I read Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids by Joshua Becker, I couldn’t help but nod in agreement. Which means, I really need to get down to decluttering Z’s toys.

Back in the days, when the 3 older kids were younger, all they had of toys was 1 plastic tub of toys, which they had to clean up before nap and bed time everyday. We were poorer then, but now that I think about it, we were actually rich in non-financial ways.

When we were living in Ohio, we lived in the university family housing where the yard was a public yard shared by the family housing community. This however was taken pretty ‘literally’ by the east Asians whom we had as our neighbors. Whatever you leave on your front or back porch is considered public property. *chuckle* Let’s just say it’s the eastern culture or concept of communal living.

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whitehouseBut, I do love our life there. Because it was pretty safe, the kids could just dash out the front or back door and play outside. ‘Outside’ is pretty vast too. I trusted them enough to let them go all the way to the playground without me.They played with the neighbors’ children, had their adventures, and came home once with news of an injured opossum. We took it home and due to my daftness, didn’t give it water.

opossuminboxWhen we finally took it to the animal shelter, it was dehydrated too severely that it didn’t make it. S still feels guilty for not thinking of giving it water on top of keeping it warm.

2008Sep29 041They played around at what they called the ‘White House’ which was a recreation center, and found a whole community of wild cats underneath. This was part of their daily adventures in spring, summer, fall and basically when it was fine to play outside.2008Sep29 063

Once, they came home with a kitten who had infection in her eyes. We had a friend who took it to the vet, and thus the kitten was ‘saved’ by the kids.CIMG6027

We didn’t have too much toys at the time, because I partly realized that I want the kids to explore their surroundings and come up with their own inventions. That they did alhamdulillah. In fact, Allah really blessed them with creative juices alhamdulillah!

monstoiletviewtopI still fondly remember the Uglies they had made, complete with a house, and a winter sport!

monssled We baked, crocheted, explored, went on flower and tree hunts in spring, as well as the library, and had lunch picnics. I loved having these lunch picnics with them even when we were in Iowa. Especially in spring. I miss the midwest spring. Here in the Southwest, it’s a little different. We no longer go for lunch picnics, though we did try once. It isn’t as feasible here.

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They made a lot of things with their hands. Of some that stuck out in my memory are these:

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This was after we had just moved to the Southwest.

This was after we had just moved to the Southwest.

My kids have a sense of humor. This is 'Clean Bot'. Look at the expression on Clean Bot's face.

My kids have quite a sense of humor. This is ‘Clean Bot’. Look at the expression on Clean Bot’s face.

In fact, it was then that we ever got to go to an amusement park. How? Well, every summer, the kids would participate in the local library summer reading programs, and one year, S won 4 tickets to Cedar Point! To this day, that is the only time we ever went to an amusement park.

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Alhamdulillah subhanallah, Allah is the one who gives us rizq. Rizq is not limited to money. Back then, we were not so well off as I wasn’t working, and hubs was a student. He was a student for 10 years and for about 8 years we lived on one income of a graduate student. Now, hubs works a proper job, and we can afford  more things alhamdulillah.

However, when I look back, subhanallah, both lives are rich alhamdulillah! When we weren’t that well off financially, Allah blessed us with rich experiences through exploring what was around us, without having to spend a dime. Those 3 kids, Allah has decreed that part of their rizq is to experience their childhood in such an environment and manner, even if financially, we weren’t able to give them much.

Z lives in a different ‘era’ altogether. Well, he was able to partake of that part of our life when he was a baby and a toddler, but our life changed soon after when hubs got a job. His rizq is more in financial terms. With his multiple food allergies, Allah has given us financial means to cater to it, and Allah has given us financial means to travel out of town as hubs attends conferences, and for attending classes out of town, without having to worry about paying for the motel or eating out, like we did for about 10 years.

Alhamdulillah…our rizq are one of those things that are pre-determined. Whatever it is, Allah is Ar-razzaaq. He is the one who gives, and He gives to whomsoever He wills, and He gives to believers and non believers. He gives to all, even if they are ungrateful to Him. Financial wealth is not a sign of Allah’s love. It is in fact a test, and it can be a harder test than a test of hardship, because, it’s so easy for human being to become ungrateful and consider it his right instead of a privilege.

May Allah make us of the shakireen. Ameen!

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