She came bearing gifts: some outfits for the kids, some Michealangelo inspired bath soaps, a gawdy bedazzled jewelry box, chocolates, and a brand-spankin’ new Qu’ran and some educational literature on the Muslim faith. Once again, I was struck with an overwhelming need to let my neighbor know that her religious beliefs were quite alright with me. I even read through all the pamphlets, just so we could talk about them later. (In all honesty I find the whole thing kind of fascinating and it makes me feel very sophisticated to have a moderate, modern Muslim friend. For the same reason I like listening to world music and reading Amy Tan novels. So I can pretend to be very cultured and well-travelled in my suburban SAHM existence).
Mom, do not worry. I am not becoming a Muslim.
But this gift thing came out of left field. I have talked to this woman maybe 10 times in the last five years. It was so sweet . . . but so random. In case you cannot see clearly, the outfit for India is a shocking pink Dora dress that has DORA written in sequins, and an embroidered Dora cartoon on the attached jean skirt. This is the very kind of outfit I try to avoid my children ever laying their eyes on, because of incidences like this. I. Hate. Character. Clothes. India took one look at this at was naked in about two seconds flat, begging me to put the Dora dress on. I have never seen a one-year-old undress so fast.
Now, as my neighbor leaves – I am not joking, as she walked across the street – India ran to the door and yelled, “I love you! I love you! I love you” at the top of her lungs. Over and over again. She has never said this to anyone but me without prompting. I about peed myself from laughter. But judging by the way India reacted to her Dora dress and the chocolate I let her try, I think she is a convert. If she were pressed right now, I think she’d proclaim her devotion to Allah. Sweets and cartoon branding made a Muslim out of my daughter.