My mother happened to be in Riyadh on Mother’s Day last year. I didn’t know whether to think it was funny or sad that she and her lady friends, whose kids are of my generation, gathered one another and “invited each other out” for a Mother’s Day brunch, complete with gifts and all.
Cute, I guess, but this little incident reflects the ultimate truth about life in the Palestinian world of Saudi Arabia; there always comes a time when an entire generation goes away to college. This truth is so sharp and so severe that I really do not have the words to describe it. You just have to live through these cycles of change to really appreciate it’s importance; you have to grow up watching the older generations of kids disappear one at a time. You have to learn to classify families under labels pertaining to whether the kids of the family are at home or away, and live through dreading September when depressed parents would return from the summer holidays alone.
Most of the time, the generations get their degrees and return to work in Saudi Arabia. They usually stay with their families for a few years, then these kids would get married, usually to one another.
I spent most of my life watching these cycles go round and round. The internet makes it easy to track these cycles even as I participate in the “away” part; every day when I open Facebook, I see pictures of my friends in colleges and universities all across the world. I see the generation right above mine putting pictures of themselves getting married off to each other. I see pictures of the younger generation standing right where I stood, learning the dabkeh just like I learned it.
The latter pictures (one of which is above, I can’t believe those kids are old enough to remember routines) triggered this post. I miss the dabkeh days. Life was all about putting on the dabkeh shoes and dancing.
I miss that simplicity. I miss living in that tailor-made, perfect little universe where everyone is a cookie-cutter copy of everyone else. I miss the world where there are no misunderstandings, where everyone loves one another, and where there are never any ulterior motives. I miss the people I grew up with. I miss my dad’s Friday outings. I miss weekends by the pool. I miss the Ramadan tents. I miss shopping for the heck of it. I miss the first 18 years of my life.
I miss them a lot, but as my generation boots up to dive headfirst back into the cycle (I just discovered that a dabkeh person who was also my schoolmate is getting married), I know that I do not miss it enough to dive along, as tailor-made and as appealing as it may be.
We always laugh at how young we were when we look at the old Arabian Sunshine pictures.
I’m still really happy to know that’s there’s still a Lawee7 (below, check out his shoes). Let’s hope he’s as shater as Sami :)