This morning I awoke acutely aware of my first-born’s imminent departure from the childish realm of single-digits and ‘childhood’ into double digits and everything that lies in store for him during the next decade of his life in this Dunya in sha Allah. I look forward, with trepidation, to the time… to entering a new era together… a sense of optimism that is tinged with fear, that I may not rise to the challenge and ever truly become the mother I thought I would be to him; and sadness and regret, at the ways and numerous times that I have undoubtedly failed him.
In many ways it feels like a fresh start and in others like the loss of the baby that I’ve loved so much and erroneously thought I’d always have to hold; the gift and blessing of whom I often took for granted… and now he’s half-way grown… and I feel like I’m watching sand running through an hourglass. I want the time back. I want to do every moment over. I want to cradle him in my arms again for the very first time, skin-to-skin; brand-new, warm, trusting and wise, and to gaze again for the very first time into his beautiful baby face and soulful, knowing eyes. I want to go back to when I had never wronged him or let him down and bask in the unspoiled beauty of that indescribable encounter once again, unblighted by my perpetual guilt and the pain of perceived loss, his and mine.
It is as though in his reaching this milestone I have caught my first real glimpse of the terrible truth I had previously been willfully blind to… that we must one day take leave of one another… and the stark reality is that I have foolishly wasted countless precious moments, locked in the depths of my own fears and frustrations, sombre moods and pensive mind… when instead I could have been rejoicing in his company. These realisations make my heart ache but equally fill me with determination not to waste another minute… not to allow those past years to have been in vain but rather to learn from the irrevocable and this near anguish within me; to take it as a lesson, hard-learned, and to let it serve as a powerful reminder of the temporality of life and the finite nature of our time.