September this year arrived with a mixture of feelings and anxieties. After 6 weeks of summer break, the children are due back to school today. And in 4 days' time, Eid will be knocking on our doors.
A few weeks ahead I rummaged through their wardrobes to look for their school uniforms, baju kurungs and baju melayus. The sinking truth cannot be denied. Everyone but one has outgrown their clothes. Well, I know I kept on persuading my Princess to keep on wearing her school shirt last summer term despite the fact that the sleeves had shrunk by one to two inches, so that was not a surprise at all. But don't tell me Little D's grown an inch too?? And Abang Z is already catching up on Abang H's size?! Well, at least Abang H seems to have gone down a little - all his trousers seem to fit, and the few inches we had to fold are now falling into place. Phew...
Abang H can even fit in the baju melayu I bought 2 years ago (which was undeniably one size bigger - LOL!)!! Isn't that great news as everyone else can't seem to fit in theirs? Previously, it was Abang H that worried me most; 'Ma, I don't have any shirt to wear!' or 'Ma, have you washed the only jeans I can fit into?'. So, of course Abang Z was blessed to have more clothes to choose from, since his twin had outgrown them.
Obviously, that was a tale told 6 months ago. Today it's a different story. After some careful hunting, shopping, cleaning and polishing, the children are all back to school in their proper attires, Alhamdulillah. Well, I never got to fix Abang H's bicycle which required some professional attention, so he walked to school instead. I'll see what I can do today. After all, it is their 13th birthday. I'm sure the least I can do is to make him happier.
I'm most certain that every parent has the same anxieties I have when a new academic year begins, or when the festive season approaches. I know that back in Malaysia it might be multiplied by two or three folds, if not more. At least here in the UK, we need not worry about books and bags. Primary school children don't even have to bring in their own stationery!
I know that if their late father was here, he'd say the same thing he used to say, 'Can you believe that they've all grown so much?' He used to speak as if time froze, denying to accept the truth that lay ahead of us. 'Remember how small they used to be?'
How can I forget being woken up by an Indian nurse who called my name repeatedly, 'Awak dapat anak kembar lelaki' ('You've got twin boys'). I gave a slow nod, relieved that the babies were finally delivered and that I had two boys (throughout my pregnancy, I refused to be told the genders of the babies). I was heavily sedated with drugs - a dose of general anaesthetic, after being so high inhaling the laughing gas while in labour. So, surely I can't recall what they looked like, other than the two blue bundles in the nurses' arms. Yet, my late husband related how the boys, wide-eyed and alert, appeared so eager and curious!
13 years later, they have grown into teenagers with raging hormones which sometimes drives me crazy. The twins I had last year are definitely not the same ones I have this year. I don't know what the obsession is with technological gadgets or the physique but oh boy, oh boy, oh boy...
May Allah bless them all and give me strength to bring them up into good Muslims.