Thursday, October 3, 2013

a mother's blog post on her son's 1st day of school


so THIS is how it really feels like on your son's 1st day of school... actually there wasn't much drama this morning because i had a strong enough dose yesterday...

we get to have two first days of school, yesterday and today, the very first one was more like an orientation day for parents and students, to get familiar with the school and the class teachers, to get done with photos and photos and some more photos, to get to meet other parents even if we haven't had a real conversation with any couple in particular.

i started the day happy and excited, helped my son put on his clean and ironed new uniform, there was no drama when i helped him get dressed because i was already picturing how cute he'll look in the pictures i'll take of him throughout the short school day. Our car was broken and spent the night at the mechanics so we took a taxi. i was glad that my husband wanted to come with us without even me having to ask him, he was as excited and it really meant a lot for our boy.

some photos at home, one in the taxi, a few at the school's front gate, more in the playground, then the meeting started in the auditorium, oh and why not take a photo of the school principal and the head of the Kinder Garten department as they addressed us... then something happened, i was taken off guard, i started to choke and tears welled up in my eyes... "my son is starting his academic journey today"... "what did i do to deserve this much joy and content"... "how bitter mothers just like me must feel because they crave the honor of sending their sons to school"... "if i were in Syria..." then i realized that things might get a bit messy and out of control and i needed an emergency plan to put in immediate action... "SHUT UP and STOP THINKING"... no these weren't the principal's words but my own while he was still speaking.... then the KG head of department started talking and none of her words were supposed to trigger this much tears, fears and hopes... it turned out that all of these strong emotions were hibernating in my head and heart, latent, waiting for a day such as this to wake up and attack me when my defenses were down and the only thing i held was a camera.

so today i've decided to capture here what the camera couldn't capture yesterday at school. school shootings are not familiar in the MENA region, maybe school bombing or shelling can make the headlines, or a number of different other disasters that happen in schools, but mothers in the MENA region pray for their kids' safety at school just as hard if not more than mothers around the world. it was yesterday that i knew deep down in my heart how precious "a mother's prayer on her child's first day of school" is... not just the first day, but every single day as she entrusts her jewel to teachers, administrators, workers, other than HER, it doesn't matter how much she knows or doesn't know them, it's not about trust and optimism, it's nothing personal against any specific person, it's just that this precious child is not any more in the safety of the comfort zone land marked by her arms... this is a dangerous enough territory in a mama's map for her children... you go to extremes during the long process of selecting a school to your children then you're too afraid to send them there!!!!

today is the actual 1st day of school for my son as he is now at school, all by himself, on his own, can i stress it enough that i'm not with him? and i can't stop praying for him and wondering.... are  you having a good time? did you meet new friends? what did you do when you needed to go to the toilet? are you enjoying the food i put in your lunch box? are you having fun in the playground? how do you feel about being with older kids in the same place? did you like your teachers? and a zillion other questions ....
i wish i could see him, like on a screen with a live-broadcast from inside his classroom, Class B, like reality T.V... i wish i could visit him, just for a while, to give him a hug in his now dusty uniform and give him a kiss on his now sweaty face, to hand him his water bottle and remind him to drink because the sun is too heavy... he's a big boy and for years i've taught him how to be independent, but now i feel as if he shrank again as he looks too little to do this on his own.


this morning i took a few minutes to talk to him about being kind, enjoying his first day, i asked him to learn as many new names of his classmates as possible, if he sees a boy crying to go give him a pat on the back and tell him "not to be afraid" as if i'm saying these very same words to my boy himself or maybe saying them to my son's mother!!! i also gave him a name tag that i made to replace the one we received yesterday with his name misspelled hoping that the teacher will remember to correct his school name tag and give it to him today, i know he knows his name very well but i didn't want him to go without this identification card pinned to his uniform shirt, i could've just ignored the misspelling yesterday and received the school name tag as it is but i wanted everything to be just perfect, fix the collar of his shirt, wipe his new black shoes till it shines brighter than his teeth, do anything to defuse the tension and convince myself that i'm in control, and nothing can go wrong as long as i'm capable of doing this or that, while the truth is that i'm only this much capable of protecting my son, so it's about time i gave up and handed him to the safety of the God who made him in the first place, who honored us to be his parents, and who is ALMIGHTY...

حبيبي إنت... i love you so much my big boy, my little munchkin, i pray that you'll have a safe and enjoyable day today and throughout this school year... wish you many many great school years to come...

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