Beginnings to Freedom Can Be Scary

This should be a happy morning. I remember all those promises I made to myself while slaving over stinky diapers and shaking boiling hot milk over my wrists at 2 A.M. just six short years ago. "Just wait," I told myself. "When this whole mess is behind me I'll go back to bed in the mornings, have lunch with someone who doesn't eat his meat with a spoon, finish writing the novel I started before I took on the "Mommy" title, shed fifteen pounds, finally get my degree, learn how to send text messages while driving, and blow this firetrap called home that has held me a virtual prisoner."
I nurtured this dream through chicken pox, fractures, flu shots, sibling traumas, Oprah, Dr. Phil, Super Nanny and rooms covered with "English sight words" and Arabic Alphabets. And now that I am so close to realization, I feel guilty. What am I doing? Sending this "baby" off to learn calculus before the cord is healed. How can I possibly think of my own comforts when he is harboring all those insecurities? Indeed, how does the State of Maryland know my son is ready for the first grade? They look at him and what do they see? A birth certificate and a record of immunizations.
I look at him and I see a he just let out a silent stinky. I see two skinny legs that won't get him through the day without a bandage on one of them. I see two fidgety hands that can't work together to hold a slippery bar of soap. I see a shock of curly black hair that only just reaches below his father's ribcage when he hugs him. I see a little boy who never went to the restroom all during Summer Day Camp because he didn't want to admit he couldn't spell the difference between B-O-Y-S from G-I-R-L-S on the door.
I should have prepared him more. I piffed away all that time on consonants and vowels, basic addition and subtraction, days of the week and months of the year. I should've dealt more with the basic realities like Tawheed, Taqwa, The Sirah of the Prophet Muhammad (saws), tolerance, forgiveness, compassion, and honesty. For from this day forward his world can only widen. And existence that began in a crib, grew to a house, and extends over a two-block bicycle ride will now go even beyond that. I will share him with another woman, other adults, other children, other opinions, other points of view. I am no longer leading. I am standing behind him ready to guide from a new position. Who is this woman who will spend more daylight hours with him than I? Please, Miss Chalkdust or whatever, show him the patience and gentleness he needs. Please have a soft voice and a warm smile. Please don't be too pretty or too smart, lest I suffer from the comparison.
A note. Maybe I should pin a note on his kufi to make sure she understands. I could say, "Dear Miss Chalkdust or whatever: I submit to your tender, loving care my son who is a little shy and a lot stubborn. Who can't cope yet with zippers that stick or buttons on sweaters that don't come out even. One who makes his 5's and S's identical but works seriously and in earnest. I may sue you for alienation of affection, but for the moment, Thank You!"

*This is an exert from a book I've been enjoying by Erma Bombeck called "At Wit's End." I've adjusted much of the content to apply to my lifestyle. But I feel she sometimes hits the trials of motherhood and family right on the nail.*


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