By Kamilia Morkanty – Casablanca
The first child always has a special influence on a couple’s relationship. This small creature has the ability to brighten one’s life and fill one’s heart with love and happiness. A child is a gift given by Allah to make one’s life happier, more meaningful and beautiful. Like any couple that is waiting for the birth of its first baby, my wife and I were consumed in dreams and impatient to see his eyes, smile, and to hear his laughter, first cry and first words. He would look like both of us, we thought; he would have the eyes and the smile of his mother and be tall like me. We would see him grow and give him a good education in order to be a good citizen, respected by everybody he would come into contact with. He would marry the most beautiful girl and live a happy life. We would live to see his kids, all of whom would be as cute as him. We dreamt of all these things every moment of each day and night.
We eagerly prepared everything in order to welcome our beloved baby home. We painted his room, bought him a bed, toys, clothes, and a bath. We did not forget any single detail. My wife was in her ninth month and we were counting down every day to the moment that we would hear his first cry. My wife’s due date came and went, but the nurses said that she must first have a pregnancy pain indicating labor. However, my wife did not have any kind of this pain until the tenth day after the due date. I took her to the hospital begging God that she and the baby would live. What if they were in risk? What if one of them died? How could I continue to live my life? Seconds felt like hours that refused to move. I could not bear waiting; I smoked three cigarettes and still no news arrived.
Suddenly, the doctor came out. I ran to ask about my wife’s health. He said she was fine but there was a problem with the baby. My child was not born on his due date and consequently his brain was affected as it lacked oxygen during his extra days in the womb. As a result he would not be like other normal babies; he would suffer all his life. He would be handicapped, physically and mentally. I was unable to accept the truth at first. I accused the doctor, the hospital and any person I deemed responsible for this accident. I used the word accident because I was convinced that this could have been prevented if people had done their job well, if the doctor had paid attention to our case as it should have been paid attention to, if the nurses and doctor in the hospital had done completed a cesarean operation instead of just waiting the birth pain to happen. In these moments, I desired to kill any irresponsible and uncaring person associated with the birth of my son. However, the big question was whether I could and would accept this creature as my son.
Surprisingly, my wife was the first to answer this question. She asked for a divorce and rejected her own baby. I found myself alone in this world with this poor creature. The dearest person in our lives rejected us, the person who was supposed to be the first to give us love, affection and protection. How could a mother, a woman, Eve that God created to give life and happiness to Man, be the first to burn my heart and to abandon her baby? I thought and thought and re-thought until my head ached and I became unable to think further.
My memories took me back to my past mistakes, which some of them I remembered and others I had forgotten. I thought that this might be a punishment from God. I read books on the subjects of philosophy, history, and religion in order to give meaning to my life with my son. After all, he was my son and if I did not take care of him, who would?
I decided to devote my life to my child. I have taken care of him in the best way I possibly could. I have taken him to the doctor regularly. I have always prepared him healthy food, rich in vitamins. He knows what time he is supposed to eat, and reminds me by screaming, tapping the floor, and looking towards the kitchen. I taught him how to walk as a child but I later realized that his legs could not support his body because his bones are so weak. I have given him as much calcium as I can afford in order to help him build a strong body. I have also learnt his body language, since he cannot talk, until I succeeded to communicate with him.
My son is now fifteen, very cheerful, and strong. He has the same baby laughter and childish smile that he always had. I have spent my life taking care of him and I realized that he is the love of Allah, an angel that God sent me to give meaning to my life. He has given me love that no other child in this world is capable of giving. With him, I feel peace that ten Eves cannot provide. He is my companion, my joy, my pain and laughter. Simply said, he is my life.
We enjoy our time together; we go out to the beach, camp in the forest, travel by car, and go shopping. We become the center of attention in each community we enter. People look at us as though we were stars of a serial TV show. Their interest is out of sympathy and out of curiosity of seeing something uncommon and new to them.
The only question that bothers me now is who will take care of my son if I pass away, if I become sick and weak in my old age, or if something bad happens to me? He has nobody in this world to serve him except for me. Unfortunately, my country still lacks enough centers made for people with special needs. In my country, disabled people are generally protected by their families. However, in my case, I am the only person who takes care of this child. I sometimes wish that I would not die before him so that I would not leave him alone in a world where he is an alien.
Remark: This story is illustrated from a true one. It sheds light on people with specific needs living in remote or small areas of Morocco. What these people need is to be accepted and integrated in their communities through access to education and good welfare.
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