When I first started working, Abbas took care of getting Mantam ready, dropping them to school, picking them up, washing utensils, washing and drying the laundry, vacuum cleaning the house – pretty much everything except for cooking. Life was so easy for me then, I would get a cup of tea in my hand after coming back from work. I would luxuriously sip it, freshen up and then start preparing dinner. He had an interview to attend one day at 2 PM, so we thought he might not be able to make it in time to pick Mantam from the bus station at 3:15 PM. We asked a mommy friend M (the one I wrote about in Abbas’s bday party post) to ask if she could take Mantam to her home and that Abbas would reach by 4 and pick them up. She was more than happy to help and even told us that if we require any help from her, we must never hesitate to ask. M is a SAHM and a mother of twins too.
Once we got the confirmation that Abbas had grabbed the job, we were thinking about getting them admitted to the after school care. But we had a lot of other parameters to consider before taking the decision. First being Abbas’s office was in a remote suburb and there was no direct public transport to reach there. By car it would actually take 40 minutes but he had to change two trains, then ride on a bus and then walk for 10-15 mins which led the total travel time one way to 1.5 hours. That meant that he had to leave home early and would reach back late. Secondly, the day care is open till 6.30 PM and it is a 20 mins walk from the station. I would reach station everyday by 6 anyway, if I would walk to their day care I would reach by 6.20, on the way back Mantam would be too tired to walk as it is 20 mins to station and a further 15 mins to our home. The buses from day care plied every half hour, one at 6.25 which I couldn’t get and next one would be at 6.55. So, if I opt for that I would reach the station at 7 and then walk home and reach by 7.15 We thought that it was 1.30 hours of precious time in the evening that would get wasted. But that was the only option in sight though and life would only get easier when Abbas would be able to drive to work so he could come early and pick them up.
Abbas’s joining date was not confirmed, so we were thinking about all the aspects and I told him how awesome it would be if M could take Mantam to her home like she did on the interview day. Since her home was very close to the station, I could easily pick from her home. “Wishful thinking” – I told Abbas and left it there. One day when Abbas met M while picking kids, he told her what we were thinking and she actually seemed interested in the idea. Since she was a good friend, both of us felt somewhat awkward in discussing the cost. We thought that it would be fair to pay her what the day care charges for the evening session. Although, if we would opt for day care we would’ve got a 30% rebate from the govt, we thought we could trade it off for time and convenience. So the evening bit was settled with M.
Now for mornings, the school bus picked them at 8.45 AM from the station. Abbas would leave home at 7.15 for him to reach office at 9. The onus of dropping them now fell on my shoulders. I thought that if I had to get them boarded on the bus then the next train I could take would be at 9 AM and I would reach office at around 9.45 which was extremely late for a workplace where most people came by 8.30. We thought that the best idea is to drop them at the station at 8.25 and I could take the 8.30 train and reach by 9.10. I was a bit skeptical and Abbas was too upset with the idea of leaving Mantam at the station on their own to wait for 20 mins and hop on the bus. M assured me that many parents leave the kids at the station and by 8.30 many parents arrive. She told that she would reach by 8.40 and ensure that they are boarded on the bus and message me. That was a relief to hear. We broke the news to Mantam and they agreed without any issues. These are times when my heart feels heavy when they happily accept whatever we hurl on to them without any resistance.
The first day that Abbas joined work, Mantam and I left home by 8.10 and we reached the station by 8.25 as expected. I stayed with them for a couple of mins, made them sit in a safe place, talked to them about not leaving the seat until they saw their bus and other kids boarding it. They obediently nodded and I walked away. Tears already started dripping from my eyes when I saw their innocent faces trusting their parents’ decision blindly once again. I cried like a child in the train, tears wouldn’t stop at all. I kept checking the phone to see M’s message. It felt like a lifetime!!! Once I saw her message, I consoled myself. I messaged Abbas. I couldn’t wait to see Mantam in the evening and just wanted to hug them tighter than ever before. I told them I felt terrible for leaving them alone in the train station but I didn’t have another option. Abbas told them that their Mumma had cried in the train. They consoled me and told me that they would be just fine. Next morning when I bid them goodbye at the station, they made me promise that I wouldn’t cry in the train again.
That’s how it has been since the end of August. They would hop the bus on their own in the morning, M would pick both set of twins from school and take them home. I would pick them from her home around 6 in the evening.
Will write more about their experience at M’s home soon.