From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every single one of you who have been following my posts and commenting regularly. Many of you cried in my grief with me, giggled on my funny incidents with me, and were there for me with all the positivity.
I felt heard and encouraged. It was my first experience to open up to many people I did not know and I felt so much warmed and acceptance.
Ramadan is one of the blessed months in Islam. We fast for 30 days and pray for forgiveness from God. Best training for both body and soul. Intermittent fasting is the best way to maintain a healthy life, and fasting is not only for the body. We keep our minds and hearts away from anything that is against peace. This month trains us to be on the righteous path for the rest of the year. Happy Ramadan to all muslims on this platform!
My friend lost her mother because of Corona this morning. When I met her, we both cried. We both shared how this pain was so immense that it would eat up our appetite, peace of mind and sleep. We both had pouring eyes. There was no way I could calm her. I just told her, “I know how it feels, I know this hollowness.”
Today marks 7 months since I lost my mother. I still feel how fresh this trauma is.
I miss my ami.
Last year, I had a chance to read a book, ‘Permission to Feel’ by Marc Brackett in a book club. It was a great experience as we talked about how important it is to open up and feel and be able to identify how you feel. The book is a great gift for many in the present world.
A club member shared that, “I do not feel like asking anyone how are you’re feeling today, because I will feel guilty if I cannot have the time to listen to that person.”
I still remember my thoughts: we MUST still ask our friends and family, even workmates how they are feeling. You never know when someone needs that and can be saved from a nervous breakdown or committing suicide.
Last year, it was a virtual school. I asked this as a question assignment on FlipGrid. The response from my 11th graders was heartmoving. I am glad I had this openness with them. They shared personal experiences and struggles with me. It was so heartbreaking to see how these kids were breaking due to the pandemic and how their social life and mental health was scared. This made me believe that in order to get the best learning out of your students, you must build a good relationship with them. They must feel safe with you before you want them to walk with you and learn. You have to be their leader, walk with them, never instruct them. At the end of the day, they are still kids and are learning through falling and standing up for themselves.
My ami was alive then. I could feel for the kids who had lost their loved ones due to CORONA. Today, after losing my own mother due to this pandemic,I appreciate when someone comes and asks me how I feel. My students come and ask me how I feel. I ended up receiving a warm hug from a student once when she saw me breaking down while walking towards the mosque to pray. I am still coping with the emptiness ami’s passing away left with me.The impact that we leave on these young minds always comes back to you as a boomerang.
So, do share in the comment box, how are YOU feeling today?
After setting everything up, I went to bed early to get a good night’s sleep. I was not able to sleep the whole night! My body is so deceptive sometimes that the minute I hit the bed, my eyes open up as if I just took a cup of coffee. In my service of 15 years, this has never changed. The first working day is always hard, red eyes, tired body but high spirited mind! As weird as it sounds, I have not been able to get out of this habit.
I think it is the overly enthusiastic mind that doesn’t let me rest. I get all sorts of awesome ideas, strategies for my dealing with students, and setting up my classroom tables… I just cannot shush the self conversation.
Today was a fruitful day. So many things brought joy to me. Seeing my students’ eyes shine with pride while they presented their hard work to their school was so rewarding. They controlled their own learning, paced it, decided their own goals after unpacking their standards, they knew the WHY of their work!
I will sleep peacefully tonight Inshallah (With God’s will).
Last night before the spring break gets over, I slept with full satisfaction that I will have a deep undisturbed slumber. It was the perfect temperature in the room. All of us slept together and we all hugged our warm cozy blankets and went into deep sleep. At 3:30 am, my 3 years old daughter woke up and started crying at the top of her lungs. It was her ‘choochoo’ (pacifier) that was lost somewhere under the pillows. It took us 10-15 minutes to realize where it was. The panic this little angel created was enough to wake us up. We had to turn the lights on, shake the blankets…the pressure was so immense that we looked for this little CHOOCHOO just like it was the only hope to survive. The tragedy is that this toddler is so bossy that we cannot even share the indignation we can have sometimes and it would only worsen the situation.
I wonder what she will do to us when we try to wean her off.
“I bet this story will scare the life out of you!” Nasirah exclaimed with joy. My two younger sisters and I sank deep into the soft, warm blanket that winter night. Nasirah was very crafty when it came to storytelling. I was only nine! Kids of my age could believe anything and everything narrated by elderly peeps! It was ridiculous how my older cousins always told us these weird supernatural incidents and made it nearly impossible for us to use the washroom during nights.Who wanted to get possessed by those demons out there in the dark! No matter how scared it would make us, we would still want to delve into those atrocious tales!
Winter vacations were always our favorite, as we used to travel back to Pakistan to spend some fun times and have interesting experiences! Nasirah was my first cousin and very dear to us. She would never say ‘no’ to bedtime stories. Besides, it was purely our choice to have horror ones!
I still remember how we used to talk about myths and some real supernatural stuff!
“ Nasirah baji (sister), can you please continue the story of that wicked witch you told about last night?”, I was ready to know more about that wicked woman who was a witch wearing those jangling anklets and roamed around the town to suck human blood in the dark cold nights.
“No! that woman is too scary”, my younger sister interrupted with a tremulous voice.”Why don’t you just say your prayers and hug your teddy. If you won’t sleep, the zombies will come and take you away.” This dismayed her even more and she hid her afeard face under the pillow and didn’t interrupt again.
As the darkness of the night deepened, my other sister,too tired to enjoy the story, was already deep into a slumber.
My being the eldest justified that I was the boss!
Nasirah started the story about the wicked woman who survived the the massacre that was a result of WW1 and kept herself young for centuries on fresh flesh and blood of young children. In that dim light of that dark room, I actually deluded her face changing into having ugly features. Uttering nothing, I kept quiet, but with a dearth of courage.
It was just as if every single word tongued by her ‘not so pink lips’ was absorbing into my soul and I was taking it pertinent to my life!
After an intensive two hours story time, we were finally going to sleep. The beds were all aligned on the floor next to the terrace. Soon, I heard their silent snores! Everyone was asleep except me.
I was starring in the dark as if something unseen was staring back at me. It was just not a good feeling. After about an hour of trying to relax myself and thinking not to try ‘thinking’ too much, I decided that: “There is no such thing as witches.”
The minute I shut my eyes, I heard a chiming sound and footsteps soft and then louder and louder and louder!
“It is just not possible, I am just over thinking!”, trying to ignore my fear for what I was actually hearing, I turned my side and wrapped my both ears with my comforter almost suffocating myself.
I could clearly hear that for about two minutes and then it subsided.
Boy! what a harrowing experience it was. The following morning, I was agitated as to if I should share that experience with my mom and everyone else or not. Finally, I did. To my utter disappointment, no one believed me.Poor Nasirah received a scold and grouch from my mom for sharing such fictional stories and scaring the innocent children, US! Well, it was our own choice; However, Nasirah remained silent on this part. I was in a very weird state.I envied my younger siblings’ sweet slumber! I knew I wasn’t just hallucinating stuff, I had heard real footsteps with that tintinnabulation!
The day passed swiftly leaving the cold dark night behind to haunt me again. Unsurprisingly, there were no stories from anyone that night. My mom’s terror worked here too! The night was extra silent. My unresting mind wasn’t letting me sleep.I glinted every nook and corner of the ceiling in that dim light of the side lamp, just to make sure that there was no one waiting to eat me! Sharp at 2am, I heard the same jingling footsteps again. I almost passed away! Thinking that if I didn’t take action right then, the wicked witch would come and kill me, I mustered up my courage and woke up Nasirah.
It was hard to believe that Nasirah would be reluctant to wake up. I realized when I grew up and was of her age that hormones interfere with our sleeping habits… how no alarm can wake you up at times! But, she finally did respond when I promised her that I won’t steal her ‘goodies’ from her personal cabinet next time. Well, yes! I was a bit cheeky at times. Thankfully, she heard the footsteps too. Being a young adult, she was a bit skeptical about what she heard. I was impressed to see that she actually opened the window and looked outside from down the terrace, but the jingling had faded away by that time.
A chill of horror ran through my spine. It was confirmed that there was such a crone and ‘now’ she wanted my life! It was hard to hold but I decided not to leave my bed and go to the toilet that night.
It was yet another day, I was just not interested in playing with the rest of the children. It was better to stay closer to my mom. For me, my mom was a “super woman”, who could kill any scary thing like: bugs! With each passing hour, my anxiety was killing me. I refused to eat that night. My mom tried to pacify me and promised me that she would let me sleep with her. It was a serious matter and no longer a mere after-effect of some silly fictional tale. I could feel that the ghastly hag was stalking at me the whole day cladded in some invisible robe. Even thinking about that gives me goosebumps till the date!
That night my mom and I stayed awake. I can never forget how my mom supported me morally that night. ‘Girls power’ worked as a beacon of hope for me. Sharp at 2am, I heard the same gait with the ding-a-ling. This turned me as white as a sheet. My mom heard them too. She immediately went and opened the window.“Sweets, there is nothing such as witches!” Keeping myself away from the window, I was too scared to gawk down at the road. “May be that sight would freeze me to death” I prated to myself. Just kept reading my mom’s face while she finally saw what it was.
On the spur of the moment, the whole situation changed! In the struggle to control her laughter, my mother pulled me towards the window to let me face the horror of my life…Panting heavily I finally opened to see a…
Yes! It was this donkey cart that crossed my house every single midnight scaring me to death! After exploring the unexpected, I had a very mixed feeling of embarrassment and relief! The whole house laughed at this anomalous experience the other day. The experience that left me with awe!
Honestly, that was the last time I ever heard horror stories. I still hate them. It has been more than two decades since this experience. Yet, I wish my husband never finds it out or else he will open another Pandora’s box for me!
One fun fact about having all girls in a house is that they love dressing up. My 3 years old daughter wanted only a ‘rainbow’ nail paint. It took me a while to figure out what she actually wanted.
On asking my 5 years old daughter what she wants to be when she grows up, she said she wants to be a princess. Last year, she wanted to be a dinosaur when she grew up. I hope she aims for something better next year!
My 10 years old girl wants to be just like me. I wish she could be better than me. It makes me feel special though when my own daughter idealizes me as her role model. I wish I can be a good mother and raise these little angels to become princesses of their own families one day.
Out of all the plans I made on my list, I am halfway done, yayyy! Mothers of young children never get a break! In fact, I long to return back to work as my kids will get busy and someone will take care of them while I can be ME again!
Last 4 chapters to read for our book club, I already feel nostalgic. We learned so much through these meetings. Laundry is a never ending issue at my house. I have finally slowed down. Tonight, I am going to prepare Henna paste for my daughters. They love this temporary dye on their hands. Seeing my little dolls smile revives my energy and fulfills the day!
Finally, after 8 months, I finally went to a friend’s house for tea time. I was happy to get some time to pamper myself before we left. My daughters had a funny reaction to seeing me in face scrubs and face masks. My 3 years old girl asked me why I was wearing ‘powder’ on my face. Then she repeated when I changed my mask that why was I wearing ‘sand’ on my face and that I must wash my face and it is not good to stay like this. My 5 year old daughter comments that I looked like a ‘mommy skeleton’ and a ‘mummy’ mom!
It definitely was something new to see their mother like this!