First year home-2009

This is an ongoing story recounting our first year back in America. There are three parts that can be found on my menu page.

Part one:


Fight flight or freeze were words we all knew well. There was never a place to seek refuge in Saudi and fighting might have meant dire circumstances and so the mode of coping was usually freeze. Fighting only ensued when the children were involved and a demeanor of reason, reminders of religious principles and finally a stance of locked rebellion meant that the worst would not come to pass. Battles were picked according to priority which meant safety, basic needs and issues regarding personal liberation but I held firm when it came to my children. I was well versed in the operation of pick and chose, making sure that every decision took its place, stacked upon years of training, seasoned with fear.

The first grade teacher’s voice was no longer sweet and calm but had taken a turn towards dry resolve.  She remarked that my son was clearly not ready for school and that it would be better if he did not return. Her heels clicked on the patterned floor as she marched the other students to the door to line up. We walked to the brightly painted cubby and collected a single backpack, hoodie and lunch bag. No words were spoken and a sense of defeat hung heavy as we unlatched the wooden gate that lead to the apartment parking lot. My three other children who had attended the first day of school also remained silent and the unremarkable yet familiar feeling of dread lagged shortly behind us.

Fattima stood at the ready stirring homemade sauce that bubbled and spattered, leaving red dots on the yellow tinted 70’s stove. She started to ask how it had gone but stopped when she saw my face and instead plated meals and grabbed backpacks. Mom and Dad’s hand me down lake table was opened and chairs positioned near the slider so that the meal could begin. It was a tight fit but the table brought back cheery thoughts of carefree days spent in the paddle boat, laying on the dock and roasting marshmallows.  As each one finished they trudged into the tiny living room and plopped onto the couch.

It was clear that Heme was not going back to school, there was no option given and it was not worth the fight. It was almost a relief to keep him with me as his name had been mentioned and the idea that he should be returned to his father where he belonged. No other child was discussed but a message was clearly sent through a mediator that my youngest child belonged back in Saudi.

45 thoughts on “First year home-2009

  1. Oh my word, as a retired teacher, even though I taught middle school, I can’t imagine saying something like that to a child who just came from another country! When did Heme go back to school? Or did you home school? Thank God he didn’t end up back in Saudi!

    Liked by 1 person

    • She was a first year teacher and I was disappointed, basically she said he could not come back! He sat on the playground crying and cried in class. He did not go back for four years. Each year I tried, went to different schools and was unable to get the help we needed.Each person told me to leave and he would be fine, but he was so afraid and suffered from hypervigilance and most of my kids did and still do in ways. Finally a friend of mine told me her friend was the principal at the local charter school and she knew she would help. She let me stay outside his classroom each day and it took four months for him to agree that I could leave!!!! I moved further away from his room each day and he came out all the time to make sure I was still there. God bless that principal she said no matter what it takes we will help!! Now he is in high school and very social and goes out with friends, feels safe and secure!!! It was a long road but worth the wait!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Lynn, no one knows the journey that another one walks. I am so glad you persisted and that you and your children did not survive but really thrived. Heme looks lie is well adjusted and enjoying life. Although the journey may be long, we can all recover and enjoy life! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You and Heme have come a long way. Some teachers were not and are not cut out for the profession. You know, you rescued your children and yourself from a stressful and more than challenging life. Amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my dear friend, what you and your children have had to endure, you are the best mama bear I have ever met. I am so happy that you have all been able to come through this and are all starting to live your lives as intended !! Marriages, grandbabies, holidays, I can only hope that the fear and trepidation is long behind all of you. Thank goodness for your friend, I am so mad that the teachers didn’t recognize a child’s needs, I have lots of teacher friends and none of them would of turned him away !!! I must say, your all way stronger than I am. xxxxkat

    Liked by 1 person

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