For the longest time, despite how rough things have been at the homefront, I have managed to overcome them as they flooded me from time to time. If I could survive the last tsunami, I thought I was definitely strong enough… like they say, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. But truth is, I am exhausted. I have come to the point where I have given everything of myself and I don’t think I have any more to give…
That’s what I thought, until the children spoke. Through their innocent words, I found a wee bit more of myself to hold out.
I have always been the calm one and have always maintained that any troubling affairs of the adults should not be in their presence or within radar of their little innocent ears. I am not sure how many times I have reproached myself (this last two weeks) for how I succumbed to my anger and worse, allowed it overcome me, before I could get the situation out of the children’s sight and of course their listening ears. I lost control. In the last 13 years, I never had.
I’ve lost count the number of times, he made me cry and the times he hurt me so bad I thought my heart literally bled out of my chest. I try to always confine my sadness within the privacy of the late nights or during the occasional long hot showers, when I do have the luxury of time for myself. I made it a point to emerge more stable and poised to re-join my children and if or when they do ask why I seemed sad or if they caught me crying by chance, I would reply.. “It happens to everyone. We feel sad sometimes when things happen, but after a good one (cry) we can feel slightly better to face a new day to reflect, to do things differently, try to make things better.” Kids being the curious cats they are, will ask, “Is it daddy again, mom? Did he make you sad?”
Now this. This is tricky because if handled in anger will result in future yet-to-be-seen repercussions of the subconscious minds of the children.
My way of dealing with this tricky bit is to first, acknowledge the sadness. That is the truth. By saying I was not sad, would be, lying. “Yes, he did sweetie but it’s over now.”
“Did he say he was sorry?” This is the next tricky one. Again, if he did apologise I will acknowledge that he did and if he didn’t, I would say it as it was. “Nope, he didn’t. Perhaps he needed more time.. when he is less angry.. but I did say I was sorry, if I was the one who made him angry first even if I knew that I actually did not really do anything wrong. I just want us to stop being angry at each other.”
I remember once when during a major fall-out, DD2 (then about 6yrs) went to him and talked for a bit.. later on.. she held her little fingers in mine and led me to the room.. She said, “Daddy said he was the one at fault, but he was angry and he lost his temper, as usual… *she rolled her eyes* (LOL!) But you left the room before he could say he was sorry because you were angry too and sad as well, uhmmm more sad than angry. But so, now you are both here so you can settle with each other. I will cover my ears and try not to listen. *evil twinkle in her eye* But before I do that, remember what you told me, Mom.. that even God accepts prayers and all sorry-s from his people, so if he THE God, can do that… we humans…. should be able to forgive as well. I’m closing my ears now..”
It is magical how children can be our best mirrors of the reflections of our actions in the most simplest ways that we never realised was possible, until it surfaced, just like that.
Even as sisters, DD1 and DD2 fights.. friends squabble and of course, couples quarrel… it happens. We all know how after any argument, there’s this lingering feeling of anger and that little feeling called hate. God knows how I have to keep reminding myself not to ever ever do that. Not to instill hatred.
A child knows no malice. We should never teach or show children how to hate, especially not towards either parent, no matter what the extensity of the issue at hand is. The adult problems and issues are ours, not theirs. Regardless of the arguments we had, I reminded myself not to speak in condescending terms with reference to him when conversing with the children. They never knew how to hate him even when he too was mean to them, well… when his temper got the better of him. In DDs words, as usual.. They will use “dislike” but never; hate.
He went away some time ago and I am left to fend the fort with my four little imp-ish ones, after a really big blast between us… I couldn’t shield them this time for it came fast and definitely furious… However this time, even though the kids saw through everything and heard every word… I still didn’t want them to hate. Definitely not now, definitely not ever. He IS their father. I never want that (their love for him) taken away from them, regardless what happens to us eventually.
I had to counsel the children after what happened that few weeks ago and gave them all tighter cuddles than I have ever given so they know that whatever it is, they are always loved. It helped that he too said his piece(s) before he left and the kids especially the elder ones were kept sated, for awhile. I wanted the children to remember the good times.. the good things.. the best times we all had. So we reminisced about the good ol’ days together and I tucked them off to bed.
Three of my children came down with very high fever (viral) and also the flu about a week ago. They barely ate much the whole week, so I whipped up a big breakfast to welcome the weekend.
When I went into the room to ask them out for breakfast, I saw some post-it notes on their bedroom wall…
The girls told me that he left a note on their wall before he left… (which I have already seen)…
But only then, I saw the replies DD2 made to his note. She said she pasted it up on the wall too, so that if he came home, he would be able to see them the minute he came in…
Here are the close-ups..
I (now) believe, we CAN guide our children to love even in moments of adversity and that is how it should be. A child’s love and innocence should be preserved in the hope that not only can they face harsh times in a more positive light but, I pray that when it comes to matters of the heart, hopefully they can overcome their issues (in future) in good stead and spend less time consumed with sadness, no matter what their low might be.
I confided in them how they shouldn’t have witnessed what they did the other time and that I was sorry, but they said after that good cry I should be able to move on better than the day before. It helped that they whispered, “We know it wasn’t your fault, mom.. You tried.”