Aziz as My Babysitter
As far back as my memory registers, Aziz, my father’s old aunt, had been living with us in grandpa’s house.
Aziz helped with varieties of chores and household duties. She shopped daily for bread, meat, vegetables and dairy products. She also helped my mother in the kitchen. Our house was within a short distance from the “Bazaarche” – the little bazaar. Sometimes I pestered her to take me along, but she knew I would slow her down and preferred to go alone.
In addition to her daily chores and breaking an egg when I was sick, Aziz also served as my babysitter. When I began to understand that my parents left me at home with Aziz to go out and have fun, I started fussing and throwing tantrums.
At the age of five, my resentment took a serious turn.
How dare they go out without me!
On those occasions when I was determined to throw a tantrum in order to get my way, Mother casually would ask me to run an errand for her.
“Would you go to Aziz and bring back my special box?”
“What special box?” I would ask with a tinge of curiosity.
“Oh, ask her for my Sitandhold
box. She borrowed it last week and hasn’t returned it yet,” Mother would reply. “Do tell her I need it urgently.”
With brisk, quick steps I would run over to Aziz’s room, located at the other end of the courtyard.
“My mom wants her Sitandhold
box immediately,” I would demand, with a tinge of childish arrogance and authority.
Aziz would scratch her head, pretend she was thinking, and then she would say, “Come on inside. I have it somewhere here. Let me look for it.” She would smile and let me into her room.
More than ever, I would be curious and anxious to see this special box.
Aziz would start pulling out drawers of her tiny dresser.
No box there!
She would search under the bed and quietly mumble, “Whatever happened to the Sitandhold
box.” She would talk to herself and I would listen carefully to find out where she would search next.
The pantry adjacent to her room had a curtain drawn in front of it. I was not allowed to go in there – and frankly I didn’t have any desire to enter it either. It was dark and spooky.
Aziz would disappear in the dark pantry, still talking to herself and making noise. While I patiently waited for her, I would see an assortment of interesting stuff – toys and pieces of clothing that had been spilled out of her drawer onto the floor while she was looking for my mother’s special box. I would sit down and start examining those interesting items while she was still in the pantry.
It was much later in life when suddenly I recognized the significance and function of the Sit and Hold