Keep Calm and Dream On

We’ve just started the third quarter after spending the second quarter Sarfing our hearts out. I was talking to Fuseina last Friday, and she said,

 

“If you’ve passed Sarf, the rest are easy.”

 

“Really? Sarf is the hardest part?”

 

“Yeah, especially the irregular sarf,” she replied.

 

I remember another past student whom I had been asking advice of another nature from saying to me,

 

“If you’ve gone through the first 3-4 months of Dream, the rest is a breeze.”

 

Then again, I learned later on that she’s one of the top students.

 

To be honest, nahw scares and intimidates me. That was how I started Dream; intimidated by nahw. So, my coping technique was to read ahead a week’s worth of lesson, and come to class having some semblance of what was going to be covered for the week, on a day to day basis. Considering that I’m a homeschooling mother, I also have to give myself some buffer back up in case something happens through which I’d be behind in class. That buffer is to stay a few steps ahead as much as I am able to.

 

To hear that sarf was the hardest part was hard to believe. Sarf for me, was easier than nahw. My Al Huda background made it easier for me to deal with root letters, recognition and so sarf was truly an amazing experience for me.

 

But nahw, nahw is a different ball game. I somehow survived it in the first quarter. To be fair, I actually liked it. It was intimidating at first, and that was the attitude I came with, but the way it was taught, made it so much less intimidating. To me, it was also like math, a lot like algebra, and even though I hated math as a subject, I loved the detailed investigative robotic problem solving work in Algebra. So I grew to love nahw too, in my own demented way. Bracketing things in I’raab and figuring out the relationship of words to each other was and is still in a way, exhilirating! Yikes! I never thought I’d ever say that about grammar! Let alone Arabic grammar!

So this quarter, I began it with that same sense of apprehension, especially as they termed it Advanced Grammar. So far, it’s been good and manageable, but I do worry that I am getting lax about my coping technique.

 

For readers, we have started to be given texts for which we are to find the vocabulary ourselves. We used to be given the list of new vocab, but now, we have to find them ourselves. For this, I prepare all three readers a week ahead of time. In fact, I prepare four readers the week before. I figured that since I was already sitting at the computer, looking for the meaning of new vocabulary for the three readers, I might as well do extra. So far, it has given me a sense that I’m on top of things. That’s the psychological aspect I direly need to stay sane and focused in this intensive program.

 

Allah has made it easy alhamdulillah. My husband and three teenagers are doing most if not all of the household chores; cooking, cleaning, laundry and even homeschooling my 7 year old. I merely exist, leave in the morning, drop two of them off, go to campus myself, come back from class and dinner would have been ready most of the time. They are the strongest supporter in all of this and for that I am extremely grateful, but with that also comes the fear of becoming lax and becoming ungrateful.

 

What does stress me out to the point of sickness is when my 7 year old gets sick. In all three quarters of Dream so far, I’ve gotten sick such that I’d have to miss class, once each quarter. That is actually good considering the amount of stress one would expect to be at in such a program. Each time I got sick, I have to say, it was because I was stressed out that my kids were sick. I could actually feel the headache and stress in my neck as I listened to my youngest cough in the middle of the night. Worries would creep in my head and the trail of thoughts just turns ugly from there. My immune system took the toll and I became sick too.

 

Recently, I told my husband,

 

“I feel like quitting Bayyinah!”

 

He said, “Most of your classmates probably felt that way two months ago.”

 

“Well, with the kids being sick and all…”

 

“Ok, yeah sure. So if you quit Bayyinah, all of them will get better.”

 

That shut me up.

 

My husband has always been supportive of my endeavors alhamdulillah. We’ve lived a lifestyle where at a certain point in time, we were both studying at the same time, with young kids, and so he doesn’t insist on a typical husband-wife role in the house. Whatever needs to be done, will and should be done by whoever can do it. In fact, me doing Dream was his idea, not mine. I wanted to learn Arabic, but I always foresaw myself doing something part time. Not Dream. He was the one who pushed me to do it, and I only did it once I was sure I had his full support.

 

It’s now February. Time flies by so quickly. Before we know it, Dream will be over. I both anticipate and dread that moment.

 

I anticipate it because at times, I feel overwhelmed by my currently passive role as a wife and mother. I feel like I’m torn in so many different directions. Sure, they do everything so I can focus on Dream. But that doesn’t quite release me from my role as a homeschooling mother. I still have to keep up with planning for their next high school year, applying for this and that. This is pretty challenging to do while having to worry about keeping up with Dream daily homework and staying ahead of the game. Then there is my youngest son. When he’s sick, I worry and kick myself for not being able to be home with him all the time to make sure he’s getting the best care possible. Yes the older kids help, but a mother’s care is not the same as anyone else’s.

 

I dread the moment Dream will end, because I look forward each day to go to class and learn something new. If every child looks forward to going to school like this, learning would be such a joy. I never thought I’d enjoy learning Arabic grammar. It’s a blessing from Allah that I actually enjoy and love it, subhaanallah. My main motivation is the Quran. I’m not a grammar geek, and I’m not a language person, but the love of the Quran made me do it. I’ve been avoiding Arabic grammar for a long time, but I reached a point where I knew I had to do it if I was going to go

further. Allah gave me Dream.

 

As a Mommy Dreamer, I feel out of place most of the time, in a class of vibrant young people with in sha Allah bright futures. I have to admit that every now and again, I think to myself,

 

“My daughter should have been here, not me.”

 

For some reason though, Allah has put me here. He has made it super easy. I should not be complaining about anything. I don’t know exactly what to do after Dream is over. It’s a super tough decision to make, knowing the options I have laid out before me right now. I trust that Allah will show me the way and open doors for me. He has already opened amazing doors subhaanallah.

 

So, I have yet to see if Sarf really is the hardest part of Dream. If that is true, well, alhamdulillah! I have a feeling like this quarter will go by pretty quickly too. I just have to remind myself in times of stress,
“Keep calm and dream on.”

 

 

 

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