Every year the 3 senior grades at my kids' primary school venture out into the world, leaving their yearning, aching, grieving mommies behind. Or perhaps that's just my reaction to my kids going on school camp.
Today was, once again, Tharaa (11)'s turn. She had been talking about it for the past 2 weeks - though not as happily as one might expect, because unfortunately she seems to take after her clingy mother and was therefore dreading leaving the family behind.
So, selfishly, I left her to make her own arrangements while I carried on, happily in denial.
Until yesterday, when I realised that the day I'd been dreading was nearly upon us and that I'd been so wrapped up in my own issues that I'd left my poor baby to do her own planning and packing. So, to assuage my guilt, I set about baking cupcakes - loads and loads of them, as if burying her in cupcakes would compensate for my selfishness.
So, as expected, this morning was a crazy rush. The bus was due to leave at 07:30 a.m. , which meant that we had to leave here by 07:10. But, by 07:20 I was still, after 30 minutes of negotiating, screaming and yelling, trying to get Aisha (3) dressed. It was also round about that time that I discovered that Tharaa had only packed one pair of shoes, no long sleeved tops, no socks and neither a toothbrush nor soap.
And then, as we headed out the door, Nuha (8) spotted Shakeel (14)'s Social Science (History and Geography) notebook on the table along with his pencil case. I felt ill - my son had forgotten his study notes and stationery on the morning of such an important exam!! I debated whether I should greet Tharaa there and then (sending her off with her dad) and then rush off to Shakeel's school OR just let him suffer the consequences of his negligence.
But I had no time to waste by thinking about it - so I packed his stuff into the car and undertook to deal with that (or not) once Tharaa was safely on the bus.
The drive to the school was torturous, with Aisha screaming and yelling that she did not want to be strapped into the car seat. Despite the fact that I'd conceded to her wearing her tattered (and I mean completely punctured with holes) pink tights to school, she remained in a bad mood because of the stressful start to the day.
I felt sorry for Tharaa. Before we left home, she'd walked into our room and then become all teary as she embraced Mo and me. In the car, she sat worrying about the very real possibility that she might miss the bus. Then, to make matters worse, just as we headed into town, a bus - exactly like the one they were to take - drove toward us in the opposite direction. I silently prayed that we had not caused her to miss her camp. Instead of the takeaway meal Mo promised he'd buy for her on our way to school, he only had time to grab a small pie. But I don't think she'll starve - although she only took half the cupcakes, she still has enough with her to feed a small army.
The goodbyes were not as difficult this year. I promised her that I would not embarrass her by crying and I hardly shed a tear, but focused on being happy for her instead. Maybe I'm growing up. Even she seemed happy and excited. Maybe she's happy that I'm growing up.
|Tharaa - right in front wearing the pink scarf|
And then I was left with the decision as to what to do about Shakeel's notebook and pencil case. Mo felt that I should just leave him to suffer the consequences of his negligence, which I would probably have done had the consequences been him having to suffer punishment by missing a break or detention. But, what if the notebook meant the difference between him getting 70% or 80% or, heaven forbid, passing or failing! And with that thought, I jumped into the car and dashed to school to ensure that my child got his hands on this potentially life-changing notebook.
Arriving at the school, I wondered whether this was really necessary or if I was just making an arse of myself - after all, the notebook contained very few pages of written work, since most of his studying was probably done from his textbook, which I was certain he had with him. But, then deciding that there might just be a vitally important paragraph in the notebook which could make all the difference, I headed into the school.
When I got back home, I heaved a huge sigh of relief as I walked through the door. I was alone, with a stressful morning of averted crises safely behind me. I started to tidy up, when - on Shakeel's bed - I saw his Social Science text book.
" #$%^ it, " I told myself, " that kid's on his own."
And I sat down to enjoy the remaining pile of cupcakes.