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Don’t listen to mama

School came to a close and the lazy days of summer gently crept in. Life on the compound slowed down as most residents packed their bags and made their way home for break. The British family next door did not care for life in Saudi, and so the revolving door began. Workers delivered boxes that would later be carted onto large trucks and hauled away. Teary goodbyes were uttered, children hugged and laughed until a driver came to collect them and deposit them at the airport. Staying in Saudi each summer, first in the villa and then in the apartment, had not been easy. With no furniture and at times no electricity, the relentless hot days drug on, making the arrival of Arabic school seem like a welcome visitor. Compound life had changed all of that and summer meant leisurely days at the pool, riding bikes on the deserted loop and running on the expansive grass near our home. Thoughts of the coming academic year were easily pushed aside to be addressed at another time.

 

The loop where people walked, biked and played was now abandoned and all signs of life were absent. Swimming at the pool, playing games, building large pad houses and sliding down the stairs had now commenced. When the desert sun dipped behind the compound walls and finally gave in to night, we sat at home watching the forbidden satellite t.v. Deemed inappropriate, the television channels had been disconnected upon arrival to the compound almost a year before. Boredom had now quickly set in and my oldest son was determined to solve the mystery. After asking compound technicians and looking at the cables, he spotted a tiny piece of paper lodged between the connector prongs which had disrupted the signal. This new addition to summer was a welcome relief, watching news and current events that had unfolded in the past year, cartoons and crafting programs. He was shocked to see the t.v. back on, but gave only an admonishing glance that was silently known and accepted. The t.v. was to be turned off before he appeared at the front door and even children’s shows marked G were very suspect and kept to a minimum.

 

The summer months drifted past and the children became intrigued with making pinatas and paper mache projects which would continue well into their adult life. A sort of summer camp had formed and taken shape in an accidental manner. The morning meal was served and then it was time for swimming lessons at the pool. I stood in my black abaya and scarf, baby Soos attached to my hip, calling out orders and making motions with my arms and legs until the two older boys were able to swim proficiently. We headed home at noon where happy meals were dreamed up out of favorite foods, followed by t.v. programming and art projects. It was a carefree summer where the children and I took delight in the simple things that life now afforded us.

The summer months wore down and I could no longer avoid the issue of getting my daughters into Arabic school. I called for transportation and made my way to the large girls school that stood a block behind the boys facility. I carted the girls and little ones and sat in the office filling out paper work. The feeling that we were once again somehow invisible and at the same time an anomaly, took hold. The principal was not available and the secretary had little grasp on the English language and so I decided to return the next day. I needed to make my position clear on corporal punishment and find a teacher that would be patient with my girls. I put the papers in and returned to the compound, secretly wishing that the girls could continue at American school. The children chattered about our trip to the school and about the Arab ladies that did not speak English. See See and Foof  then asked him why they could not return to the American school, after all they were American. I sat, holding my breath, dreading the inevitable response that usually followed. Their father grimaced when he heard these words and loudly pronounced as he regularly did, “Do not not not listen to mama”  and he added in you are not American”

 

165 Comments Post a comment
  1. Argh!!! They are exactly as much American culture as they are anything else. They are half you and were influenced by your upbringing. His dominance is infuriating!

    Love your makeshift summer camp!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 14, 2016
  2. I’ve said it before but I need to say it again … Thank you so much for sharing these stories from your life with us. They hook me from the first line! I find it incredible, I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been. You’re one strong woman, Lyn. xx

    Liked by 6 people

    April 14, 2016
    • thank you so very much for reading Kim! It has become harder to write but I am trying to keep moving along. It’s hard to explain the insidious nature of this kind of situation. xx

      Liked by 2 people

      April 14, 2016
      • I can only imagine! I’m just amazed by it all. I think maybe some things in this world defy logical explanation and this certainly qualifies. The fact that you manage to so vividly bring it to light is testament to your writing skills. Keep up the good work and I hope it proves to be a cathartic process xx

        Liked by 3 people

        April 14, 2016
  3. That must have been terribly confusing for your children. 😦

    Like

    April 14, 2016
  4. Reading this Lynz.. I feel the cold hearted shadow of your X affected every member of the family.. So controlling and little thought for any ones feelings but his own. After the boys experiences at School, and can only imagine your trepidation on the treatment of the girls..

    ( I remember my Dad although loving often could often be volatile if crossed.. As children we defied him one time by putting the TV back on when he had said it was to be turned off.. He pulled the plug socket out of the wall and ripped of the plug so bare wires were exposed..
    We had to wait till he put the plug back on again before we watched it again.. )

    Love and Hugs and huge respect to you Lynz

    Like

    April 14, 2016
  5. Lynz, unbelievable experiences living in SA as an American, not recognized as such. Luckily my sons lived abroad in Europe and Asia due to oversees work assignments and have mostly good memories of their experiences. Hopefully, there were some for you and your children about SA. 💛Elizabeth

    Like

    April 14, 2016
  6. Ha-yes the children are very American! Fool that he is! What an idiot! They do listen to their Mama-their Mama always has their best interests at heart and always will…That’s what we do! Hats off to you my Bestie…xoxoxoxo b-2

    Liked by 3 people

    April 14, 2016
  7. He must have had a bad memory. So sad that he forgot that they have been American….

    Liked by 3 people

    April 14, 2016
  8. I read through all your responses….and agree he is an idiot….and oh yes don’t forget – an ass!!! OF course the kids are American, did he forget who he married??? and to tell the kids not to listen to their mama, his arrogance, aghhh don’t get me started……your a lucky mom to have such a great group of kids who love you without question……kat

    Liked by 4 people

    April 14, 2016
  9. Were you a

    Liked by 2 people

    April 14, 2016
  10. Were you and the children happy?

    Liked by 2 people

    April 14, 2016
    • At the time I thought we were, the kids started growing upset as they got older and insisting on things that were normal! I guess survival mode. I look back and think those were happy times, my older kids tell me, no way, we were trying but always on guard and worried! The kids and I had fun in our own way!

      Liked by 4 people

      April 14, 2016
  11. Wow, he really was a tyrannt! I loved the story about your eldest troubleshooting the problem with the T.V. and fixing it! How old was he then? Did he pursue a career in engineering?

    Liked by 4 people

    April 14, 2016
  12. I know this is stating the obvious but you must by now realise that he had a total power craze and was/is hugely sexist in tne way he abused you. You never did anything wrong. Nasty man. Seriously.

    Liked by 2 people

    April 14, 2016
  13. You are incredible. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and also your children’s. Clearly you were and still are an amazing team – thank goodness you had the inner strength to survive this.

    Liked by 2 people

    April 14, 2016
  14. I am so glad to read about the joy and fun you and your kids made in your lives. That says such wonderful, and powerful, things about you Lynn. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    April 14, 2016
    • Thanks so much Colleen! As always you are a ray of sunshine to me! We tried our best and the kids still remember and my son who is a 28 year old engineer still makes pinatas!!

      Like

      April 14, 2016
  15. He sure was wrong!! They are American!

    Liked by 2 people

    April 14, 2016
  16. Well we all know what an ignorant fool he is. And look what fine AMERICANS your children have turned out to be! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    April 14, 2016
  17. I wanted to write here that he is a bastard! But that is not very nice, so I want. Thanks Lynn, appreciate these posts. Tell your dad I said Happy Birthday! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    April 14, 2016
  18. Is being American like being a leper or something, It seems that there was a tremendous amount of disdain and hatred and prejudice on his part. Is he brainwashed or something. Unbelievable, like American is a dirty word. How he said that just shows how little respect and regard he had for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    April 14, 2016
  19. Anita Kushwaha #

    Another gripping post, Lynn, thank you! I missed reading them and learning more of your story while I was away. Catching up now! 🙂 Hope all is well on your side. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    April 14, 2016
    • Are u back??

      Liked by 1 person

      April 14, 2016
      • Anita Kushwaha #

        Hi Lynn! Yes, we got back on Tuesday evening. The trip flew by and it went well but it’s always nice to be home. The rainy weather was starting to get me down a bit, ha ha. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        April 15, 2016
  20. I love following your stories even though they are sometimes difficult to read. Horrid man…

    Liked by 1 person

    April 14, 2016
  21. This is just terrible Lynn. I am glad you had the TV that summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 14, 2016
  22. I just found you and I enjoyed your blog very much. I will be back. Hugs, Barbara

    Liked by 1 person

    April 14, 2016
  23. Anonymous #

    Thanks for sharing your stories Lynn. It must have been hard to sit and listen to him say things like that to your kids. But you and your kids have such a good relationship, they knew that mama’s always right!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 14, 2016
    • It was hard and was a strange alternate world. Now it sounds ridiculous. Thanks for reading!

      Like

      April 14, 2016
  24. Thank you for sharing another piece of your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 14, 2016
  25. This does make me chuckle, he so wanted the badge of being American, he held it up like a prize in public, but then switched between Arabic and American in private for his own purposes…such a self serving man…

    Liked by 1 person

    April 14, 2016
  26. Hahaha! Good one. Don’t listen to mama! He didn’t knew that mama means everything for her kids? And if she says you’re american then you’re american. Or if she says you’re jamaican then you’re jamaican 🙂
    Another incredible story, Lynz
    xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    April 15, 2016
  27. You convey the insidious nature so well. That is what is so eerily frightening

    Liked by 1 person

    April 15, 2016
    • Thanks for reading derrick. People ask if I had a journal or how I remember events. No way could I have a journal that would be very scary but these events happened daily, it is just how life was each day. You are so right, insidious!

      Liked by 1 person

      April 15, 2016
  28. Asshole.
    That’s all I can bring myself to say.
    It is ridiculous that an entire nation believe it is okay to behave like this.
    Neanderthals.

    Liked by 2 people

    April 15, 2016
  29. You are a pillar of strength, my dear.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 15, 2016
  30. Do not listen to mama!!! If he had issuesvwith Americans why did he persue and marry American. The children couldn’t be mixed.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 15, 2016
  31. So, he never saw the children as being both American and Arabic? Why couldn’t they appreciate and respect both cultures? Ugh, I wish my son’s father would tell my son something like that. I carried him in my womb. You are just the donor dude. Yeah Lynz, this post is hitting home.

    Liked by 2 people

    April 15, 2016
    • Ok in Saudi and the middle east being american is your ticket, big money and respect! So, he told people outside friends and the store, any where , MY KIDS are american, foreign! My kids heard him all the time speaking in Arabic! But inside the home he said no no no. ??? who knows?

      Liked by 2 people

      April 15, 2016
  32. I liked the bit where your son figured out how to get the TV to work. He is definitely an American child. Thanks as always for telling your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 15, 2016
  33. Pan #

    Insidious is a very appropriate description.. He makes men worldwide, look bad.. No matter the culture, the socially accepted idea of what a man is, isn’t him.. If he has “friends” I can’t imagine them to be any better.. and they certainly wouldn’t be loyal under pressure..
    I believe you when you say it gets harder to write.. But you are free to write, I believe that exercising that freedom to write him as he is, does matter.. just my two cents on that..

    Liked by 1 person

    April 15, 2016
  34. Your stories are wonderful!!! And you are an amazing mother, a real hero for your children!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 15, 2016
  35. Just look where you are now, dear Lynn 😀
    You proved to your kids, that you are Americans and the right to listen to for all their lives.
    So good to know, that you are home to live again.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 15, 2016
  36. Lynn you now have so many faithful blogger friends that I cannot help but wonder what would transpire if we were all in the same room with him….you are an amazing person and wonderful mother and he cannot take that away from you😘 HUGS

    Liked by 1 person

    April 16, 2016
  37. Heh, heh. Obviously, he did not get in the last word on that!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 16, 2016
  38. Seriously did ‘he’ really think ‘he’ had full control of ‘that’ issue? Did ‘he’ seriously think the kids were solely from ‘him’ and all ‘his’ doing??? What a controlling pig-headed thing to say !

    Liked by 1 person

    April 17, 2016
  39. Bless your sweet & strong heart, Lynn xx ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    April 17, 2016
  40. Lynn,
    As always a very provoking post- makes us think and be thankful for what we have compared to others who have so little and yet are happy. Amazed at how much your family within your family ( you and your children- The Little but not so little family of 10) all stood together and escaped together( something like the Von Trapp family escaping Nazi Austria) and also managed to have fun and music and entertainment in between. Maybe sometime your story will be made into a movie- of love, hope, inspiration and the spirit of never-give-up.
    Are you and your children still practicing their religion ? Glad you had a wonderful baby shower.
    Your babies are your assets- your nine gems- each is marvellous on his or her own.
    God bless !
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    April 18, 2016
    • Thanks so much Susie! To be honest it is hard, he used religion as a huge weapon! It was hard to even hear a religious term used in the last year without becoming so angry, religion was thrown at us and then not followed. We were held to a high standard and he did not follow basic things. So, it still hurts and has left me confused and feeling like I have no direction. I think it is the same for all of us! We lived in a strict household as you might have surmised from my posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      April 18, 2016
      • I understand and I can totally relate that you are confused and maybe sometimes wondering if there is a God( who let so many of these things happen to you).

        Like

        April 18, 2016
        • I just feel blank which makes me feel guilty and lost. He asked God to destroy me as well so I now just feel nothing. Being close to God has always been part of my life, so now I am just out there alone!

          Liked by 1 person

          April 18, 2016
  41. Ugh!!! But of course they are! Ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2016

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