Friday, January 29, 2010

Blue and purple polka dot pajamas, at the pool


When I was six, I used to wear a homemade bathing suit to the pool.

At age seven Muslim kids are required to start practicing rules they must abide to after hitting puberty. Covering up was one of them.

The apartment pool rules were, “Only bathing suits allowed.” Therefore my mother got to work.

My ballerina-looking swimsuit was getting too small and my legs needed to be covered.

She bought colorful blue and purple polka-dotted nylon and spandex fabric. She bought just enough to make sleeves and long pants. It was baggy.

I was proud of my mother’s stitch work. I wasn’t too happy about the bathing suit but I understood it was something I had to do, otherwise, no more going to the pool.

It was a glistening beautiful day in Florida. The sun warmed the chlorine-filled blueish-green water. Everything seemed perfect except, the kids were quite mean.

“Why are you wearing your pajamas to the pool?,” they screamed. They shouted, pointed and laughed. They followed me around.

Again and again the repeated the menacing question. Twice to me, then to my parents.

I felt afraid. Embarrassed.

I kept saying, “I have to. It’s a part of my religion.” (As far as I remember).

My mother looked uncomfortable. She told me to ignore them.

We were the only ones – Muslims – at the pool. We were the only ones who cared to cover.

I think it was the same day my sister almost drowned in the pool. She was 2 1’2 years old.

Forgetting the pool rules, my mom jumped in the 3-feet end to save her 2-foot child. Clothes, shoes and all.



Anonymous said...

Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy I'm so glad you posted!

And I am so glad Muslims invented THE BURQINI! (for those that dont know what a burqini is: ) Now our kids will be harassed for looking like scuba divers at the pool, LOL.

somebody out there said...

Swimming while Muslim!

Here's also a website for Ahida Burqini's:

Artistic Logic said...

you and your mom are so cute

Fatima said...

I can really relate to this! Thank you so much for sharing!

Kate said...

This is such a moving story. I never thought of how swimsuits only would affect other people. I hope this was never done intentionally to discriminate against Muslims.

How hard it must have been for you to be teased. And thank goodness for your mom's good sense and bravery jumping in after your sister. The story would be horrible if it turned out the other way!

Youthful Wisdom said...

I lovee swimming!!! I used to go swimming at the high school when I was 6. My mom used to take me. Then we stopped for a while because I never got a proper bathing suit. I went to Egypt and got a burqini though so I'm all good to go now :)

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

This is a wonderful story. Kids can be so mean.