My son asked me a question this morning that shook me out of my complacency that I was doing a semi decent job of parenting. This morning, between ‘Ryan, hurry up and eat’ and ‘you will miss the bus today’ he asked me, ‘ What is the most difficult decision you ever made in your life, Mom? Was it having us?’ That question stopped me in my tracks. It may not have all the implications that I am projecting on it, but it shook me to the core and made me see myself through my children’s eyes.
I am their anchor, their stability and the constant right now. And I know they love me. But they also see me stressed, angry, harried, tired, not in my best state. They have heard me groan when I see a school holiday on the calendar. They have heard me complain that the kids were driving me up the wall. They have experienced me yelling at them, nagging them to change their behavior, clean their rooms, pick up after them.
It is not unusual, therefore, for Ryan to infer that maybe having them was the most difficult decision that I ever made. That was my performance evaluation right there and I was graded poorly. It was a shock because parenting is my primary job at the moment and this is the impression I was creating.
He couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sean and I decided to see the world and travel together before starting a family. But when we decided to raise a family we were absolutely ready. Of course, when Sahana came along, we didn’t have any idea how or what we should do with her. See, she didn’t come with a manual! But we figured it out eventually. By the time Ryan made his appearance, we were pros. Having them was truly the easiest, the most natural decision we ever made. I had just mentioned to a friend, not too long ago, that I have found the calling in my life, being a mother! I enjoy it the most! Then….this!
After searching around for a few minutes for the perfect response to reassure my boy that they were the best things that happened to me, I apologized. I apologized to him for making him feel that way. I said everybody needs to work on their shortcomings, my shortcoming was my impatience. I try hard to be patient with them and I will continue to try harder. That opened up a floodgate of meaningful conversation. Sahana admitted she pushes my buttons sometimes and aggravates Ryan knowing it will end up in a fight. Ryan said he will work on focussing more on his school work. Distraction is his shortcoming, and that is a new word he learnt. Then our seven year old theologist went on to share his idea on the life we lead. He said life is a walk. Mom and dad have started walking early, Sahana started walking a little later, Ryan, even later than Sahana. Everybody starts their walk when they are born. The unborn babies are still at the starting line. Mom and dad will probably reach the finish line first, before them. With that thought, he asked me to please turn on the radio to his favorite station. The house filled up with music, the conversation ended. My mind filled up with the depth of his thoughts and the feeling of being extremely lucky and blessed to be nurturing two precious beings and seeing them bloom.
But his question did disturb me. I don’t want to behave in a way where my children feel having them was the most difficult decision. A lesson learnt, time to take stock and focus on that personal growth, mama!