It was a sunny morning as it is everyday in Sunny Singapore. But it felt heavy. Haven’t figured out yet if it was a happy happy heaviness or a sad sad heaviness or may be happy sad. But it does look like a bright morning promising a better future for him. As today happens to be my 18 month’s first day at his play school. As much as I am proud of the fact that in the world of helps (read pseudo mothers) I have raised my son singlehandedly (sacrificing a lot of me in between) but I am also equally guilty of never trusting anyone (not even my mother) to baby sit our son even if it was for a few hours. This makes both him and me dependent on each other a lot for our emotional wellbeing & happiness.
And now after 18 months, it felt like I was leaving my heart outside my body in someone's hands, the warmth of which was unknown to both me and my little baby. This was difficult. Excruciatingly difficult for me to imagine that Abbir would be as safe & happy as he was around me. My little chubby polar bear. I feel like a culprit on a trip ridden with guilt. But since this was the decision I had taken myself, execution was as important as planning it. And so we dressed up, did our morning prayers and wave "bye bye” to everyone and off we went to school.
As we reach the school premises, my little boy is smiling, laughing, not at all aware of the storm that is waiting for him. We carefully sanitise our hands at the gates and take off our shoes whilst putting them away in Abbir’s personalised shoe rack. And we are received by the most beaming happy people on earth, the Teachers at his School. While we all are very excited and happy, Suddenly realizing the mayhem and unfamiliarity of the place, Abbir starts crying loud and this was loudest cry I have ever heard from him. Tears start rolling down his eyes and without realising they are rollicking hard from my eyes too. And I decide to go back on my words and take Abbir back in the comfort of his house, his play zone, the place where this dove of mine turns into a cuddly monster just because he is comfortable in that place and he can be his true self.
But for the professionals that his teachers are, their words of comfort and reassurance and 'how every child goes through this cycle' definitely makes me give this another shot. It felt like a shot we both would fail at. But the teachers coax him away with all the things interesting for a toddler of that age. And that was the first time I left him alone, the first 5 minutes of my life where I felt EMPTY. While teachers tell me to go home and relax and come after a while, I anxiously wait outside his school premises, not even the reception so that I could keep a check on my boy without becoming visible, to keep fighting my internal demons of Abbir not being safe enough without me. And there I peek a boo my boy playing with a ball, stacking up bricks though still whining away at times. His glimpse comforts me in a way which I never felt before, or may be I have felt it before, felt it every time I saw him happy, smiling. My little polar bear. And this was among the many first’s that gave me a joy beyond measure.