Skimming through my previous post, the 2012 holidays seem like a lifetime ago. I had prepared further posts (which are now just lying in my Drafts folder), but could not focus. As the end of the school holidays drew closer, my anxiety levels rose. Until I could focus on nothing else.
Sadly I think that my kids picked up on my anxiety and stress - and it affected the way they handled the beginning of the new school year.
On the morning of 15 January I attended Aisha (3)'s Orientation Day for the daycare she was to attend. I was scheduled to attend Shakeel (13)'s high school Orientation programme the afternoon.
At the creche, Aisha spent the morning clinging to me; refusing to interact with anyone else. I told my older kids, who were forced to accompany me to her school, to stay out of her sight as she cried after them each time she saw them.
Later the afternoon Tharaa (11), Nuha (8) and Aisha stayed home with my mum-in-law while I dropped Shakeel off at his Orientation programme. He was nervous, since there were no other boys from his primary school attending his new high school. I tried to calm him down; to convince him that everything was going to be fine, while feeling like a total hypocrite - completely ill-equipped to offer reassurances and comfort while I suppressed my own silent panic.
Since then we've had bad days and not-so-bad days. As is to be expected, Aisha still cries a bit each morning as I hand her over to her teacher. If offered the choice, she still would prefer to remain home with me instead of going to school. But at the end of her school day, she acknowledges that school was fun. And that makes me feel less heartbroken about leaving her there.
Shakeel's time at high school varies from day to day - from being okay on some days to being absolutely awful on others. Every morning I pray that he will adjust easily, that he'll find a good friend or two and that he'll start to appreciate the amazing opportunities with which he is being blessed.
Thankfully Tharaa and Nuha are enjoying school. They are both happy with their new teachers and their old friends. I am so grateful for that.
I, too, am slowly starting to adjust to the uncomfortable changes in my life - to new routines, duties and relationships - while trying to overcome my longing for what was , i.e. my older kids happily at school and spending long days at home with my baby.
But I must look forward. And deal with the sadness, the loneliness and my own feelings of directionlessness and purposelessness.
I will elaborate more in future. Right now it's time to pick up Shakeel from school. I say a fervent prayer that he had a better day today than he did yesterday.