May 11 1999 My oldest son, Bilal was born, May 10 2002, exactly 3 years later, my youngest and third son, Eman was born. Now for those of you with kids placed so closely in birth dates, I dont exactly know how you go around making them feel special ! Well, in a way, I’m saved from all those complications coz we dont celebrate birthdays, well atleast not in the traditional way carried out, all over the world ~ Cake, song, birthday bumbs and whats worse is this new ‘thing” about smashing chunks of cake over the birthday persons face, clothes etc, which is not only disgusting but also being ungrateful to the food and the many bounties of the Almighty (cake in this case).
When the kids were smaller, I would send some goody bags with them to school for their classmates and take them out for a “MOVIE” which we generally watch only on special occasions or visit their favorite activity parks like kidzania, lou lou al dagongs, magic planet etc. Now that Bilal is just entering his teens, its really difficult coz Eman being 9 still wants to do the same things while Bilal would prefer paint ball park or the bowling alley ! Now thats really a row between the two birthday boys.
Truth be told, its a celebration for me. I turned mom for the first time. All those beautiful and traumatic memories of their pregnancy and delivery come, flooding back on these days. Its really all too special for me coz these guys are exceptionally understanding, well behaved and just a whole bunch of fun to be around with. Ofcourse, there is that one guy who feels totally out of place coz his birthday falls in July ~ he is not made to feel special by his friends becoz schools out for summer holidays. And you see “FRIENDS” is what its all about !!!
Well, for Eman, these are the goody bags I made for his school.
For a couple of years, after Eman was born, when they didnt understand the concept of birthdays and such, I used to take the guys to meet this particularly special little chap who has been in Dubai Hospital from alittle after he was born and probably will stay there for the rest of his life. His name was Aboudi.
I was having a very complicated pregnancy with Eman. I was in my 6th month when they admitted me much against my wishes, for severe bleeding. Sawaab was just 9 months old while Bilal was around 3 years. Even now as I pass Dubai Hospital, I watch the 5th floor visitors lounge window and remember how helpless, I used to feel, knowing that both my babies were miles apart in the day and were having such a disturbed time in the evening. Those were such desperate times. Sam would struggle to keep some order in our lives between visiting me in the hospital and managing the babies. And then just as things could’nt have gone worse, Sawaab’s bronchitis devoloped into pneumonia. I remember being on the 5th floor pre-delivery ward while my baby was admitted on the second floor. What a rucous I created when I found out that evening !!! Inspite of my state, nothing in the world could hold me back from being with him. I suppose you call that a “maternal thing” but at that point, I just knew I wanted him just as much as he wanted me. What a huge fight I had with my consulting gyne to release me and release I did get !!!!!!
It was at that time, when I shifted on the 2nd floor to look after Sawaab that I saw little Aboudi. At that time, he must ave been around 3 years. Cerebral palsy. He was tied with bandages to the cot lest he harm himself. A fair child, drooling away with eyes that I felt were imploring. The nurses communicated with him and somehow he did make some movements to respond. A large part of the day we was sitting by the corner of his cot, watching and sometimes even made to sit of the stroller. He was a futile cause … he was another one of those, children of a lesser God. My heart ached when I saw him for the first time, I remember, hugging him and later crying away when I saw my own child. No one ever gave away any of this background until one day, one of Aboudi’s favorite attendents, who had become very attached to me told me that he was dropped off at the hospital emergency department by a driver late in the night. What a heartless mother or did I speak too soon ? No . . . . She was a heartless woman. To dump a 10 day old baby just becoz he was probably never going to be like all the other kids !!!!! Nobody claimed him. He was a waif. It breaks my heart to think, that no one in this whole world loves that little tiny boy with such a huge disease. No one even knew of his existence. No mother to comfort him, no one to hug him, embrace him with kisses upon kisses, no one to wipe his tears and fears. How cruel.
Aboudi made me realize that I had no pain at all. Aboudi gave me that first time feeling of what it feels like, to be in this world ALL ALONE with a huge handicap. The sisters in the ward treated him with affection and dignity and I am so grateful that they did not do it as a part of their job but for humanity.
For the next 3 years, I kept visiting Aboudi with my boys and some toys in hand. Until we moved to the Ranches and life took on a different pace all together. Often I have seen in documentaries and movies about orphans, abused children or such and my heart goes out to each one of them but Aboudi was the child who actually made me come face to face with that situation and I realized I was really no match for his spirit and resilience. I believe he has suffered tremendously but as if it is some solace, in the hereafter, he will be one of Allah swts blessed ones. Inshallah.
Amongst the many many things that Aboudi made me realize long back was also that birthdays, anniversaries are not for spending lavishly on parties but on fullfilling small and big dreams with those who matter the most to us. Spending in the way of the less fortunate, a hospital visit, a trip to the home of seniors and yes, also creating special memories with near and dear ones. Bilal has has only three friends through out the year and he wishes for them to somehow be a part of “his” day while Eman has an entire school which has been his “BEST” friend. Now isnt “that” a task !!
If you are interested in knowing about Aboudi’s present state, please do comment and I shall reply.