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: https://lynzrealcooking.com/2018/11/09/first-year-2009/
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.
Fall 2009, just 4 months after relocating to the U.S. midnight paper route A single stream of light blanketed the room and served as a reminder to quietly roll off the mattress that mom and dad had purchased from the thrift store and rise to prepare for the morning route. A faded diploma in Speech comm. and years of being a stay at home mom made options limited when searching for employment. The two youngest children suffered from extreme separation anxiety and even a simple trip to the restroom required promises to never leave and assurances that I would return within minutes. They accompanied me to my job as a cook for a girl’s co-op on campus and so the supplemental income of a paper route or perhaps two, seemed logical and almost easy. The older kids would be in the next room sleeping and I would slip in and out without notice. Each of my two older girls agreed to help take turns and so our little adventure began.
The stack grew wider and taller and was finally deposited on the back seat of the Suburban. Cuts on fingers from winding and wrapping rubber bands had now turned to hard rough scars, resistant to further damage or pain. Small town lights flashed yellow and red, a signal only surpassed by the harvest moon that illuminated our usual routine through darkened country roads. At first it had been tough remembering the various homes that took one of three newspapers but soon it became automatic and something that would be recalled for years to come. It seemed like a good idea at the time, an easy way to help support my family and our new life back in the States. I would be home by 5 a.m. just in time to get breakfast on and wake the two boys who attended public school. The youngest children would not be panicked by my absence and their siblings were there in case they woke. But now it had become a burden, gas for mom and dad’s vehicle was not worth the money made delivering the morning news. Just one more week and it would be over and back to what had become our new normal.
My new career is that of being an author! I have been a cleaner, cook and newspaper lady in addition to my favorite career-MOM! I self published my first poetry book a week ago! Thanks for your support and love!
I will be giving away a book each week for a month starting next week. My e-book can also be purchased for a fairly low price on Amazon.
Seven days in the life of a large household can be chaotic, stressful and of course joyful. This past week was no different and included last minute preparations for the bridal shower, a trip to the lake for the fourth of July and an extended visit from the middle child.
Soos with the fan wall she created that will hang above the check in area where I will greet guests and guide them to the photo booth.
Games and decorations have been finalized and as always the kids are willing to test new ideas!
A break from planning meant big sister taking little brother out for cinnamon roll French toast. As you can see this was a highlight of his week!
Mid week it was time to head to the lake for the traditional fourth of July celebration. Things are much quieter these days with fewer guests and simple food. It is always a great time and as usual one of my favorite people was present, KK. When asked how long we had known each other she said it was 1975. She was hired by mom and they became best friends and have been ever since! She and her husband John are truly family.
Fattima decorated the brownie cake mom makes every year, the kids swam and played basketball and then we made our way back to town.
It is basically countdown week for the shower and I will be sharing more throughout the week. As always blessings are numerous along with the many freedoms that our family holds dear!