So, I Managed to get in a bonus post..
Enjoy, much love
Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
His voice was deep and stern and I felt slightly uncomfortable as he stood and watched us. I could tell that he was probably a few years older than us. Maybe around eighteen. To me, he looked old.
Nusaybah’s mouth opened and then closed almost immediately. I wasn’t sure if she was shocked or if she just didn’t know what to say. Whatever the case, it was the first time in a few months that I had seen my friend at a loss for words. Just a few minutes ago she was talking non-stop about how this will be the perfect job opportunity for me.
Amidst it all, I could hear childish shrieks and laughter in the background.
I looked up again at the new stranger, but all I saw was biceps and styled hair. The boy who answered the door was still staring at us questionably, and my heart was beating that much faster because I wasnt sure how to act. It was the first time I had been confronted with a strange boy. My friend was at a loss for words and I wasn’t quite sure what we were here for either. Someone had to do a little bit of explaining.
“Um,” I said, knowing that someone had to talk. “I… err… we here about the babysitting… ”
I wasn’t sure exactly where I had got that from but the words just tumbled out of my mouth. Nusaybah whipped her head around and widened her eyes at me, obviously appalled at my statement.
I was sure that I heard her say that…. it was her intention for me here. We just didn’t expect what happened next.
The boy’s expression changed almost immediately, and now, instead of the stern and intimidating expression he had been wearing, he narrowed his eyes and looked at us with interest, his dark lashes making me feel just a little disorientated. I could see Nusaybah staring too.
I pinched her discreetly as we walked, hoping she would get the hint and quit it. Boys didn’t interest me, but Nusaybah seemed like she was on a different wavelength.
“Yoh… I’m so glad,” he suddenly said, now in a kinder voice. He was shaking his head and turning to go back into the house.
He gestured for us to follow.
“These brats are making me crazy,” he complained to no-one in particular, gesturing to a room where all the shrieking could be heard. “And they don’t stop with the food! I don’t know what the hell to do with them and I need to leave. My sister needs to wake up and see to her own kids… dammit, I have people waiting for me!”
He dug his hand in his pocket and took out a phone and some keys. Barely looking at us, he thrust the key into my hand, and started dialling something on his iPhone as he turned away from us, already halfway to the door. His shoes were in his hand and he paused to slip them on, glancing at us one more time before he left for good.
Gosh. He didn’t even ask our names. We could have been murderers.
“What on earth just happened?” Nusaybah almost shrieked, as soon as he left. “And who in the world was that?”
I looked at my friend, and for the first time I noticed a glazed look in her eyes. She was very obviously charmed by the boy we had just met … and she needed to snap out of it.
“He’s just a guy,” I said obviously, clicking my fingers in front of her face and trying to get her out of her silliness. “Let’s get on with it and do our job. Babysitting? Remember?”
We had just come to see the lady and thisbhaponed. I wasn’t sure if we really had a job, but since we were here we couldn’t just leave these kids on their own. I ventured towards the room that the noise was coming from, taking in the glossy cupboards and natural décor in the passage area. I quite liked the feel of this house. It was slightly warmer and welcoming, compared to other modern houses I had seen. And of course, the best part was the gorgeous garden that I yearned to get my hands into. Maybe I had ulterior motives, but if Nusaybah was suggesting I work here, I would be over the moon.
“Go in,” Nusaybah said, nudging me as we reached the door of what looked like a playroom.
I took a small step forward and peeped in, catching sight of a pair of kids jumpibng from a table to a single seater couch and back. Another kid was scribbling fiercely on a corner of a kiddies wooden table, determined to cover up every patch of that table with crayon marks. There were crayon markings all over. On the floor. On the chairs. Even on every wall.
And just as I was about to turn around and get out of there, I spotted him. My heart melted in my chest as I spotted a little baby boy in the corner of the room, stuffing a crayon into his mouth. He had the fluffiest cheeks and podgiest nose. He must have been about eight months or so. Maybe a little bigger.
Maternal instinct took over and I lunged forward, grabbing the crayon out of his mouth, already expecting the complaint that came in the form of a huge howl thereafter.
Four boys. Gosh. No wonder they were going crazy this house.
“Who are you?”
The little baby was still shrieking uncontrollably, and I thrust him into Nusaybah’s hands, even though she wasn’t looking very happy about it.
I knelt down next to the biggest boy who was looking at us questionably, placing my hand lightly on his shoulder.
“I’m Khawlah,” I said, looking at the little boy with a smile. He had light brown hair, dark lashes and the cutest little nose. “And what’s your name?”
“I’m Danyaal,” he said, with a serious look. “Do you know Mummy?”
Before I could answer, another kid came up to us, without even halting. He found a gap in between, and raced out, mumbling something about being hungry.
I could already see yoghurt containers, chocolate wrappers and chips packets all over. It looked like their uncle was stuffing their mouths with junk to pacify them.
My heart burned.
These poor kids were unbelievably cute and innocent, and they were being subjected to this probably daily. And okay, maybe they weren’t being abused, but it was obvious from the messy mouths and stained clothes that was an issue of neglect. From what Nusaybah had said, the lady’s helper had just left, and she was a little desperate. I could see why now.
There were so many people who couldn’t have kids, and we call that a test. But the truth is, having kids too was also a test.
Kids were gifts. Precious gifts that needed love, care and nurturing. You can’t just have them and expect them to grow up and survive on fresh air. They needed time. Attention. Maybe some TLC.
Kids also had their own rights over their parents. Islam gives children many rights and is concerned with their spiritual, physical, and emotional well being.
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar RA said: “Allaah has called them abraar (righteous) because they honoured (barru) their fathers and children. Just as your father has rights over you, so too your child has rights over you. “
Al-Adab al-Mufrad, 94.
I almost wanted to take them home with me, because my heart felt so overwhelmed with all these emotions.
It wasn’t because they were orphans. They obviously weren’t. They looked a little neglected, with overgrown nails and in need of some attention… but what caught me was that look in their eyes. The hollowness. It made my throat dry and my eyes burn. It was the same look I had worn as a child, after Mama had died. Myself and my siblings, alike… and now I saw it again.
Like a stabbing in my chest, it was the exact same look this little boy was staring at me with, and I couldn’t help but feel it too. First the garden. Now this. I simply could not control my heart.
I wanted to help. I wasn’t sure how this was all going to fall into place, but now I understood that truly, everything does happen for a reason. Allah’s plan always had a way out… and there was always an ultimate plan that may exceed our expectation. We just needed to have the patience to wait for it, and truly, our chests will swell out of sheer amazement at its perfection.
Without realizing it, a huge smile crept on my face and I suddenly felt elated. The outdoors was a simple beauty. I could imagine being there and loving every minute. Instead of being trapped in this playroom, I pictured soil stained fingers beautiful gardening retreats. I pictured digging into the dewy earth and planting all the hope that these kids could bring. I may have been getting ahead of myself but I was already blown away.
“Nusaybah,” I said excitedly, looking at my friend. I wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude. This was a haven for me.
But as I looked at my friend, I could see her brow furrowed and concern on her face. The baby’s nose was snotty and I paused as I took him, grabbing Abba’s Old handkerchief from my pocket and tried to pacify his whimpers. Nusaybah obviously thought that we were in over our heads. I didn’t.
“You were right!” I continued, ignoring her looks of disdain and bobbing the little boy around as I tried to shush him. “This is just what I needed… and if I could earn some money and help Abba too… why not?”
Nusaybah was looking at me sceptically. I didn’t think she pictured this when she first brought me here, and Nusaybah didn’t seem to have much patience with kids.
It didn’t matter though. I was already smitten.
Before she could even try to voice her fears, a voice from down the passage stopped us both in our tracks.
“Adam, are you’ll there?” It said. It sounded like the mother, and we looked at each other, slightly relieved. “Why is everything in the kitchen left open? Did my kids actually eat anything besides junk?”
We didn’t have a chance to answer, because the scrunching of her training shoes could be heard already a few feet from us in the bedroom passage.
She immediately rounded the corner, and I could see her let out a stifled gasp as she saw us. She wore gym clothes and her hair was bunched up at the top. She was attractive, young but slightly overweight. On top of it all, she was probably wondering what on earth was going on. I would have been wondering too.
I handed the sleeping baby to Nusaybah, gave her a huge smile, and started our story. I wasn’t sure how this would all turn out, but my hopes were high and my spirits were already at their peak. I really wanted this job.
First things first…. we just had a little bit of explaining to do.