Cutting Off the Umbilical Cord

You think you know yourself…till you hit motherhood.  Motherhood is the ultimate test of your love, patience, wisdom, emotions and of course your sanity.

Eesa was going through a terrible three’s tantrum phase.  He became quite difficult to deal with especially with me being pregnant.  I decided he needed to go to a daycare type program where he can socialize and interact with others.

Since he is a bit behind in speech and comprehension I didn’t think he was quite ready for pre-school.  Daycare seems to be a nice transition from home-to-school. I thought  circle time and play time with snacks in between would prepare him well for pre-K.

The thought of him being gone from anywhere between two to five hours seemed amazing to me.  It would be my break time, my “me” time.  I can concentrate on my part-time job, get my cooking and cleaning done, finish errands here and there and hey maybe even pick up a hobby or two if I managed my time well.

I was drooling thinking about all the time I would have, if you’re a mom then you know how much you can accomplish in a few hours.  The world was waiting for me.

My mother thought it was ironic how ecstatic I was about Eesa starting daycare.  I guess a full time toddler and a rough first trimester really drains you.

The night before his first day of daycare, I was just looking at him sleeping.  When kids are sleeping, they look so innocent.  I instantly started to think, what if the daycare provider didn’t understand him and his own unique language.  She wouldn’t know that “mankin” actually meant “napkin”, “gadget” meant jacket, and “munk” meant kumbul (urdu word for blanket).

I started to get worried and wondered if I was rushing into this. The other part of me told me it is a part of life and this is actually good for him and would give him something to do.

The following morning went by smoothly, he was quite excited to carry heesabackpackis Skip Hop monkey back pack.

As I was driving, I told myself the plan would be to bring him in and stay awhile till he gets settled and then casually leave.  It would be smooth and easy on the both of us, or so I thought.

Well first off, that plan was not how day care protocol worked.  I walked in and the DCP (day care provider) told me that I should make it fast and leave.

I looked at her astonished.  “leave in front of him? just like that?”

I know he’s going to cry a little bit but he’ll be ok, thats the best method,” she exclaimed!

I began to panic, he would cry and I wouldn’t be able to do it.  I desperately began to look around the room and saw ABC magnets, I quickly pointed them out to Eesa.  As soon as he went towards them, I made a run for it.  I could hear him turn around and follow me but I didn’t look back.

One of the most difficult things I have ever done.

I walked out of there extremely upset and could not believe I just left my son like that.  All I could think about is how long he would cry for and would he be ok?

I called my sister for some comfort and of course she didn’t pick up, I call my mother and lo and behold Bob picks up (Side Note: I call my parents Amy and Bob, short for Ammy and Baba).

I told him what happened and his response was

yeah yeah been there done that, what you think we didn’t get upset when we used to drop you guys off? especially your sister, she used to cry and cry, it would break our hearts, but they get over it, its a part of life, you can’t keep him at home.”

Count on Bob to tell it like it is.

I was tempted to text the DCP and ask about Eesa, but I didn’t want to be one of those moms.  Psh, well why not be one of those moms? He’s three for crying out loud!

Needless to say I did end up texting and he was doing fine, he cried for a bit and then started playing–Alhumdulilah.  The DCP was super sweet and understanding.

I, then realized this was the first step to letting go. For two hours that day I did not know what Eesa was doing.  To go from knowing their minute by minute schedule to not knowing what they’re up to for 120 minutes is a pretty big deal. Right now he’s gone for a few hours, then next year it’ll be six hours, then extra-curricular activities, then they might go away for college and you don’t see them for days maybe even weeks.  Lastly, they get married and then you’re officially out of the loop.

At that point, I would like to think I’ll be travelling the world and sipping on some virgin strawberry daiquiris in Sicily, but seeing as how being away two hours is tough, I can’t imagine more than that.

As Bob puts it, it’s a part of life

7 thoughts on “Cutting Off the Umbilical Cord

  1. Loved loved this heartfelt post and it’s something I think many parents can relate to. Your right it seems so awesome when you have free time but it’s such a process to learn to enjoy and fully utilize that time. My son will be starting school and even though I’m ecstatic I’m also a tad bit sad bc like you mentioned it’s the be going of citing of that umbilical cord!

  2. Awwwwww 🙁 Eesa started day care??? I can’t believe how times flies subhanAllah! Can’t imagine what you’re feeling, but thank you for the post! It gives me a look into the lives of a parent. May Allah (swt) make this a great experience for Eesa, and put barakah in the free time you’ll have while he is there (at least, until New Baby arrives, inshaAllah) lol.

    Really makes me understand my parents better, and love them more for all that they do 😉


  3. I know exactly the feeling. Being a working mother, I had to go through this emotional roller coaster ride a few times. First, leaving my 4 month old baby with a total stranger while I went to work was not easy. My heart sunk every time I dropped him off, thankfully it was a home care where I was allowed to visit during lunch time and take my time dropping him off. To this day, my heart overcomes with emotion if I have to leave him at the day care when he is crying to stay with me.

    Then right around when he was about 6 months old, I had to make another hard decision. At 5 months he was growing beautifully Mashallah, since I was working and was tired all the time, his doctor and many of my colleagues told me he doesn’t need nightly feedings anymore and to let him cry if he wakes up, he will learn fast to not wake up as he won’t be fed. I could not wrap my head around making that decision and letting my baby cry when he is hungry. One day, sleep deprived, mentally and physically exhausted with a heavy heart I let him cry at 4am in the morning. I could not bare the pain of him crying so I left the room, he cried for long 25 minutes and then fell asleep. I can’t forget that day. I went to work and cried every time the thought came in my mind of what I had done to my child and what kind of a mother I am to let him cry. That day I picked him up from day care and said SORRY a million times, knowing he probably doesn’t understand anything I am saying. After couple more nights of letting him cry, the duration of crying decreased and sure enough he learned to sleep through the night. Now Mashallah he is 3 yrs. old.

    Then just recently, transitioning him to his own room was one emotional decision that I just had to make. He had been sleeping in our room till now and occasionally in our bed with us. I had gotten so used to him lying next to me, cuddling and giving me unlimited hugs and kisses before he fell asleep and when woke up that I had a really hard time letting him go. So finally it was time, I just had to move him out of our room and into his big boy’s room.

    In each of these decisions I had plenty of time to prepare myself for the changes I had to make to better my child’s development and wellbeing but was still hit with over baring pain of letting my child grow and accomplish another milestone of his life. Some decisions are harder than others but as a parent you have to take those steps, you have to move on and let go of your child and let him/her become the individual you envision them to be. Motherhood is not easy, and I don’t know if I or anyone will ever fully understand a bond between a mother and her child, all I can say is, its beautiful and I am so blessed to be a mother.

    • Thank you for sharing this beautiful thought Madiha, I guess letting go and putting our foot down is something we consistently do through out parenthood for the child’s own well being!

  4. Another wonderful,touching article! Loved reading it and kind of made me sad thinking one day I’ll be having to do that myself but your dad is right, it’s another step on the ladder for them. OMG, when you mentioned the atep to them getting married! Can’t even imagine that, but InshaAllah I know will happen one day. As a previous teacher in a headstart preschool, I can guarantee it’s better to leave right away rather then lingering around, because they get use to it and learn how to use it against you, lol. InshaAllah he will love it and you will have time to get things done! I’ll keep you in my prayers:)

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