This is the last Friday we have off and in about 2 weeks, it’ll all be over. I know that sounds depressing. Yesterday we had our last day with Ustaadh Adam. Next week, we’ll be having Sh Yasir B teaching us Fiqh of Fasting in Arabic, and the last week, we’ll have Ustaadh Nouman. So yesterday, we had a surprise for Ustaadh Adam and waited and waited and waited for him to come, to the point that Ustaadh Nouman suddenly showed up much to our protest. The only time Ustaadh Adam had been that late or almost that late to class was when he thought we had a quiz. Otherwise, he was on time. So it was strange that he didn’t turn up. I figured he was too sad to come because the day before, he did look sad about it being almost at the end of the whole 9 months experience.
To be honest, I wasn’t really feeling melancholic about ending Dream before that day. In fact, I was looking forward to it ending, because I just feel like I’ve been neglecting my kids too long and the family’s getting tired of not having me in my normal role and we’ve been having some outbursts at home, so it’s been stressful and I just wanted it to be over as soon as possible. I knew I’d be sorry Dream is over, but I wasn’t really feeling any sort of sadness like most of the other younger students are feeling. But the day that Ustaadh Adam sounded and looked sad, it suddenly hit me. Him being sad made me sad. Yesterday the reality struck me even more and penetrated my heart, and I actually burst into tears uncontrollably. The catalyst were written words given to me by a fellow classmate. Yesterday was also the due date for our final project, which was painstaking for me and the whole family, because it ended up being a family project. All the kids were involved in the making of it, and I guess even hubs was involved in the form of making sure we had our priorities right. Making minor changes on it necessitated hours of rendering because the computer we have is old. The kids and I were consumed with excitement at seeing our hard work ‘come to life’ on the screen, and at some point we spent too much time on some aspects of it that hubs had to tell us, “That’s enough! You’re spending too much time on it. It’s good enough!” Then he told me, “Go do your homework.” I was postponing working on my composition on those days we were working on tweaking the project. What was also difficult about this project was that I had started it was back during spring break because that was the only time my son H was free to help me do it. He’s the tech guy. N was the illustrator. S was the calligrapher. I was the one who wrote the script, and we used Z too. Having the script edited for grammatical mistakes was the hard part. I had it checked bit by bit with the TAs, and then a full blown editing but towards the deadline, when we put the script together with the animation (and this was hard because H was finishing his hifdh and I didn’t want to bother him with the project then, so I had to wait till he was done with his hifdh and this was only recently), I realized I had to add more scripts to make the length of the spoken script match the length of animation in the video. This was the part I didn’t have time to check with the TAs, and so, there’s probably going to be mistakes either in my usage of words or in my sentence structure or in my grammar, though I shouldn’t be making technical grammatical mistakes at this point (I still do though). Mistakes in word usage and sentence structure should improve with more practice and this is something that should continue even after Dream. In sha Allah.
Anyway, I just realized why this day was the deadline for the final project. It was Ustaadh Adam’s last day teaching us.
During the time we were waiting for Ustaadh Adam to arrive, Ustaadh Nouman gave us golden advice for how we should continue learning after Dream is over. One golden advice that I especially took to heart is,
[Not exactly his words, but just a recollection of the gist of the advice]
“In terms of Quran, memorize it. You should at least aim to memorize it. It doesn’t befit someone who learns the Quran, wanting to understand the Quran, and then not want to memorize it.”
To be honest, I was starting to feel mixed emotions about my own aspiration of wanting to memorize Quran to the point that I doubted myself because I look at other people and I see others who have a deep understanding of it and act upon its understanding and I don’t see them being enthusiastic about wanting to memorize it. Ustaadh Nouman always says that one extreme breeds the other extreme. In the case of memorization, people have bashed memorizing Quran (one extreme) and advocates only understanding it due to the prevalent reality of memorizers of Quran not acting upon the Quran because they don’t understand what they memorized. I’ve always felt this bias in people towards memorizers of Quran in this sense and when I myself want to memorize Quran, this bias would at times creep in my mind and I would wonder if maybe I should not focus so much on memorizing even though my heart is burning with the desire to meet Allah having memorized His speech. So when Ustaadh Nouman mentioned this to us yesterday, it was as if a huge burden was lifted off my heart. That was why this was the advice I especially personally took to heart for my self.
Dream has been a rewardingly exhausting journey. So far, I find myself more motivated to further my studies on my own if I have no imposed homework placed upon me. I’m growing weary of the daily composition even though I really loved and looked forward to it when we started doing it. After a while it feels like a chore because you’re required to do it everyday. Though I also understand the need and wisdom of having it that way. I also noticed that you don’t get to see your own progress if you’re doing something back to back continuously. It’s when you get a break, no matter how short the break is, that you get to see any progress. For example, listening comprehension. I only saw my own progress when I listened to lectures or even the Omar series after taking a break from listening to it on a daily basis. Same with reading. Though, of course, what led to that progress, after Allah’s taufeeq, is the fact that we are engaged in the practice of working on it rigorously on a daily basis. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just tired. But it’s days like today, (Friday off) that I feel energized and enthusiastically motivated to actually work on reading and listening comprehension on my own. Just the thought of working on it excites me, yes, on a day off. When our schedule was heavier, whenever we got a day off, I’d actually splurge in doing things that has nothing whatsoever to do with Arabic. But when our schedule is lighter, I actually feel like I want to work on Arabic and I feel, after contemplating on it for a while, that it’s probably because this is closer to real life.
The Dream schedule is not real life. Before Dream, my daily schedule was full of activities revolving around homeschooling the kids, household chores, and continuing my own learning and my hifdh. The schedule was realistic. Life was going on, nothing was put on hold for something intensive. With Dream, a lot of stuff was put on hold, which is basically my role as a mother and wife. I find that it depletes my energy and it makes me yearn to return to real life especially when things at home begin to become somewhat chaotic and the family’s worn out from supporting me in this journey. In real life, there is more balance, especially in fulfilling the rights of others upon you especially when you have multiple responsibilities on your shoulder. Alhamdulillah Dream is needed. You have to sacrifice in order to gain something. As a mother, something full time like this was very hard, but alhamdulillah Allah had made it easy and possible and that is more than enough. I only pray that Allah gives us all the energy and enthusiasm and taufeeq to have istiqaamah in continuing in this journey even after Dream is over.
2 more weeks….