Vera recently celebrated her fourth birthday. As she was blowing out her candles on the princess cake we got her for her celebration at school, it hit me. I’ve also just turned 4 years old.
“I” as in the mummy-me.
Now I don’t know about you but I think that calls for some devil’s chocolate cake topped with brandied cherries and butterscotch ice-cream.
4 years may seem short, but it feels like I’ve scaled the Himalayas during the period. Okay, I exaggerate, maybe Mount Kinabalu, but throw in some white water rafting and sky-diving along the way. Sounds like an adventure? Indeed. 4 years ago, my identity was changed. I earned a new name – “mama-ya” (which is a hybrid between mama and papaya, coined by Vera who loves the fruit) and along with that, new responsibilities and new challenges.
Plus some new discoveries along the way.
Parenthood is such a paradox.
Just a few days ago, JJ was turning on the waterworks and throwing a nasty tantrum. Needless to say, I got worked up as well. Everything I tried was thrown back at me and so I entered fight-or-flight mode. I felt like running away from this mucus-mashed tomato-faced little boy, whose screams were ringing in my ears. He wanted this and that, and in a feeble attempt to gain world peace, we tried that and this.
Finally, we trooped down to the playground and tried to calm him down, with promises of playground time if he would just do so.
(This is a whooping reminder that the les terribles deux has begun, and we’re in the thick of it already it seems. Nightmares of what we went through with Vera pounds at my head. I can see a sign that says “More tears ahead.”)
I clambered up the little slide and sat atop, with JJ glued to my lap, tears and mucus streaming down his face. After some 10 minutes of cooling down and muffled sobs, he finally got up, ready to take on the playground. A smile even escaped his lips when daddy did the peek-a-boo.
After another 5 minutes, daddy asked him to say “sorry” to mama. He turned to me, and said “shaw-ree.” Complete with sad albeit still-cheeky eyes.
That little word uttered by my one-point-something boy. Everything in me, every horrid thought and additional cortisol was rounded up and dissolved into the air. What power he wields in his currently limited but growing vocabulary. I suppose this is the power of love.
By some grace bigger than my own, my heart has found space to accommodate our two crazy funny kids. Perhaps, love means moving ourselves aside, so that the ones we love have room to grow and thrive.
Love has never felt so delicious and yet so painful. Sometimes, I wonder how love can possibly be so difficult, and how it can bring out the ugliest in me. Their “little-people” antics that either drive me up the wall or to seventh heaven never fail to make me smile or tear or do both.
Sometimes, hubs and I will recount funny moments and spend half our date-nights laughing away at them, even after swearing that we will NOT talk about the kids on date night.
I guess the fact that we still laugh means that there’s a pot of honey waiting at the end of the rainbow.
I haven’t arrived there yet, but I’m thankful for the little glimpses of gold that I catch each day.
I don’t think I’ve ever laughed and experienced such delight before becoming a mother. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such wretched hair-tearing frustration too.
While friends may tease me about having a third one, I somehow feel like life is complete where I am now. There’s so much I wanna explore with them, that I can’t quite bear the thought of having to go through the cycle again, baby bonus or no baby bonus. (I know parents of three or more kids would frown at that statement…but still, it’s how I really feel.)
On the flipside, I fear that they’re growing up too fast. Just look at this portrait of the little lady, taken when she was just past three, trying to look all grown up. And now she’s four, and loves playing with pink plastic make-up toys that the grandparents bought for her. Soon it’ll be primary school. And then teenagehood and boys. (Shudder.)
Some days I wish they would just grow up already. And then there are days I wish time would just wait a moment so I just can take in all their babyness, child-beauty-ness, and let the day’s stresses past me by.
I’m so glad that God gave us our children.
To have and to hold
To enjoy and to cherish
To teach and to learn from
Till death do us part.
Four years down the road, and I still have much to learn, much to explore, much to muse. My simple wish is that we will keep depending on God for the love, wisdom, patience, and grace that’s so needed to run this parenting journey, and to leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.
How many years have you had in your parenting journey? How do you feel right where you are now?