Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Misperception...

Today after Eid prayer, I made my way through a sea of hundreds down a narrow hallway towards the courtyard and heard the sound of a child crying. I turned to my left to see a young blonde boy of about three, his blue eyes filled with tears shivering in the corner amongst shoes, crying for his mother.

I made my way towards him, leaned down, and asked if he was lost. He nodded, his breathing growing more ragged. I looked around to see if we could find his mother from where we stood but we were engulfed by the crowd pushing into us on either side. I asked him to hold my hand and walk with me outside into the courtyard where we could stand on a bench and look for his mother. He gripped my hand and we walked down the hall. Finally, I saw the exit but as I took a step I felt my hand jerk roughly. I turned around and saw a woman in dark abaya and a red flower on her lapel yank the young boy and hold him tightly to her chest. Her eyes were swollen red from crying. She looked at me with fear and confusion and she gripped her son tighter. I tried to explain to her, as the sea of women trickled outside, but she seemed to not understand me. I wanted to tell her that I was just trying to help, that her son was panicked and I wanted him to feel safe and that my intentions were not evil. She stared at me for a moment and then walked away.

As I saw her leave I wondered: Did she think I snatched him away from her? Did she think I was making off with him? Will she now be frightened of her son at the Masjid or standing near desis? Or was the look of fear that I saw not about me at all, but her own private thoughts as she searched for her briefly missing son? I wish I could tell her that I meant no harm. That I just wanted to treat this child as I would want to have been treated in his shoes frightened and scared as he was. I hope she knows I did not mean him harm.

3 comments:

Tee said...

I have been on both sides of this situation before. I have been the mother of the lost child and I have been the one who has found a child. As the one who has found the child I have been met with both gratitude and suspicion. (I've also been the lost child - what a panic you feel! Poor kid!)

Don't feel badly, Aisha. Whether this woman knows it or not, you protected her child. He was separated from his mother at a Masjid, which is a safer place than many, but all it takes is one sick individual to take advantage of the "opportunity".

I read a story about a woman who took her little boy to the public library. While she browsed books just an aisle or two away, a man raped her son in plain view. You can only imagine the fear these types of stories put into a mother's heart. Before hearing that story I naively felt the library was a safe place to let my kids explore.

I have lost sight of my kids before. Ten seconds feels like an eternity. Both my children went through a phase where they thought it was hilarious to hide from Mommy inside a clothes rack at department stores. I used to scold them harshly for doing that to me because these horrific images enter your head - you literally feel as if you'll be sick.

I know it hurts in a way for anyone to look at you with even the slightest idea that you'd steal their child. You feel wrongly accused and with no way to prove your innocence... Also, in your case you don't want the woman to have bad feelings about the Masjid.

Maybe if you ever see her there again you can simply smile and say "Hi" - without mentioning what happened. I'm sure her adrenaline was running high and maybe she'll be able to see you in a kinder light when she's calmed down.

Either way - the world needs more people like you who take the time to make sure a child is safely reunited with their Mom. {hugs}

Chorna said...

I concur - don't think about the misapprehensions of the mother.

Think about your good intentions.

You're a good person and you did the right thing, even though it may not have been as good a feeling as you'd have liked - the right thing doesn't always feel good, if that makes sense.

I feel the same way though, often wondering if people are mocking me or afraid of me because I look different to the vast majority of people around me. But I shrug it off because ultimately I know I don't mean anyone harm.

Well done, Aisha and Eid Mubarak - even though it was yesterday.

mystic said...

I think,Tee described it so well.....

God bless your golden heart !!

Post a Comment

I love to hear from you!