Yesterday afternoon, while I was sweating my ass off in the kitchen making dinner and washing up the dishes that the kids had stacked up to just under the spigot so that I had to lift it up in order to unwedge the large pot from between it and every dish I own under it, my mobile phone rang. (Okay, it didn’t actually ring. It played some bizarre ass Portuguese song called ‘O Sol’ that I don’t understand because, even though I speak 5 languages, Portuguese is not one of them.) I squeezed the excess water (2/3 of which was probably just sweat) from my t-shirt and answered the phone. It was my husband’s cousin.
She called to offer my son, Ismail, a job. She’s working at a bakery now and in need of someone to work with her selling bread, breadsticks, cookies, muffins, zweiback toast and this awesome, flaky Egyptian pastry thing called FATEER. Anyway, she had heard me talking about how he was on my last nerve and in need of a job to keep him busy and to help him to learn responsibility. I could hear Ismail and his older brother starting to argue, so I told her I’d stop over at her place after I fed them.
Fast forward through the next 3 hours of my typical, only-boring-because-of -the-repetition-and-not-because-my-kids-don’t-try-to-kill-each-other kind of day and I sent Samiya (nearly 13) to her French lesson at the lecture center, Randa (16) was taking a nap, Mohamed (17) was at the cyber-cafe and Ismail (14) and Aiman (11) were just chilling out watching television. I quickly got dressed and ran over to Abir’s house. She looked completely knackered. Poor thing.
She’d been at work from 7am until 2pm. She stopped to buy food on her way home and ran home to cook, fed the boys (ages 5, 6, 9 and 10) and then hustled the three oldest out the door to the lecture center (where my daughter goes.) The water had been shut off in their building all day long and she couldn’t do the dishes or wash the mountain of clothes that 4 young boys will go through playing soccer in the dirt all day while she was at work. I could totally feel her pain.
So, she started talking to me about the job and explained that because he is strong, he would help her to lift the trays in and out of the ovens. Also, she knows that he is trustworthy. She knows he’s ornery as hell but that he doesn’t steal and that he has a good work ethic. I was honored that she offered him the position before her own siblings. Anyway, I texted his father and let him know what was going on. He said, COOL. So the boy began work this morning at 7 a.m.
He was up and dressed by 6:45 and out the door to meet Abir just seconds after I insisted he wait until I unlock the door. (We can’t have an Ismail-shaped hole in the door, now can we?) I went back to bed. HE got the job not me.
I called him around 12:30 to see how he was doing. He really liked it. He asked if he could stay until 3 if they needed him and I said yes. He came through the door at 2:30pm, happy as a clam with his daily pay in his pocket.
He had his dinner and we started his English lesson. About 30 minutes into it, I could see his eyelids fighting to stay open. I told him to take a shower and hit the sack. In all the excitement about starting work, he couldn’t fall asleep until nearly 3 in the morning. He was out like a light by 6pm.
I am so happy. That old phrase “busy hands are happy hands” could not be more appropriate. When he doesn’t have something to occupy his time, he gets creative…usually in a very ornery sort of way. I just can’t wait until Saturday. Samiya and Aiman will be heading back to school then and I may have peace in my household again by October. WOOHOO. Can’t wait.