It was a day of two halves… Continue reading
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. As we grow older, the memories of our youth jade ever so slightly, giving us that rosy vision of what has been.
As my eldest sprog prepares to fly the nest to University, I get the feeling I’m reliving my youth through him. Of course, one cannot avoid the pangs of heartache at the thought of said sprog leaving. He’s my eldest, the one I devoted unlimited time to and energy to; the one that resembles me the most personality-wise – so yes, we get on like fire and ice most days.
This doesn’t stop me from pulling out the memories of me at his age and how I felt about leaving home. I couldn’t wait! Home equalled a prison with burglar bars and ridiculous rules set to break even the sweetest and most obedient child in creation (that I was not). My parents’ loved us like anacondas love their food: suffocated and crushed.
My years spent mothering my sprogs should have given me a better perspective on my own parents and hindsight of my behaviour as a youth should soften my jaded perspective of their parenting skills. Instead, all I seem to do is fluctuate between mourning the loss of presence of my eldest before he goes and celebrating his freedom from our parenting shackles. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and I am far from out of the woods because my next sprog will be journeying forth at the same time next year on her own adventure too.
My rosy reminiscence of my past definitely affects my present and I feel the need to go all out to make sure my sprog has a soft landing in the big ugly world – unlike my first experience. Deep down I know that no matter what I do, he will have his own vision of life and what it should offer and when he grows to into a ripe old prune like me, his rose-tinted perspective will shape how he waves good-bye to his offspring. And so the loop continues.
Therefore, no matter what we go through, our pasts will always affect our reactions to the present. I just hope I do enough today to ensure my sprogs’ opinions of me tomorrow leads to happier memories.
I hate my son. No, I’m not being rhetorical or metaphorical; I literally hate him. I love him too, but probably not enough to rub out the hate. Here’s why…
Have you ever, as a mum or dad, dedicated your life, hope and dreams to a child’s development and wellbeing? Ever spent sleepless nights thinking the worst, wiping your tears away and getting up to check on said sprog, just in case they stopped breathing in their sleep? Well, I have. I am the tiger mom, the infernal nuisance at schools for all teachers and teaching assistants – I am the complainer that worries whether he received his coat on time for breaktime, his forgotten lunch box before lunch or his meds if he’s had to go back to school before I think he’s well enough. I’m your worst nightmare as an educator. At least, I was. I have changed as my sprog has gotten older. I’ve lost my sense of purpose, my fight, my passion.
Instead, I’ve been introduced to my worst nightmare, a creation of my own volition: a free thinking individual who has the intelligence to question me and my morals and call my up for my shortcomings. I have a person who refuses to be dominated by others, who does not buckle under peer pressure and who assumes authority in the household – my household – anytime I’m not around to rule the roost. I hate him!
He is the epitomy of everything I am not; he has the capability to stay true to his course when I flail about, thinking I should give up. He shows strengths in my weaknesses and makes me feel incompetent in my education. In other words, I feel dumb around him. Yet, I created this wonderful monster.
So, what do I do?
Is it a case of inflating his ego further and telling him I am proud of his existence? Or do I belittle every little fault I find, exploding at every mistake made and celebrating every time he doesn’t reach a goal? What would you do with something like this living in your house, eating your food and making you feel inadequate?
Anyone else here hear my ego taking a beating?
Well, I do what I assume every other mom does, I just give up! I take a step back and let him lead when he needs to. Right now, he is standing over my two other sprogs, perfecting their piano pieces so that they don’t embarrass us (the family) at their next piano lesson. He walks into the kitchen and mutters a belittling remark about the curry I’ve cooked because he doesn’t like curry anymore. His personal beliefs refute the fact that he is part Goan. In his mind, he is British.
I ignore the remark and think of how he is helping the other sprogs, what an inspiration he is getting all A’s and finding maths easy at A level, unlike me. But, as a parent, I can’t ignore the snarky remarks that make my older daughter cry, the continuous abuse of power because he is the eldest, the strongest and the most likely to outhink all of us who are too tired to fight. I think of the days when he disappears into his cave (bedroom) and refuses to eat family meals. And I hate him.
As a mother, it is hard to admit that the child who makes you feel the most is the one that hurts you the most. I’m hoping, no I’m praying that, in the future, he will return to the sweet little boy I protected and nurtured many years ago.
But, am I hoping for the right thing? Am I actually celebrating the fact that my child does not do drugs, has a good sense of what’s right and wrong, and abuses it at home, but is there for us when we need him. Am I hating him for all the wrong reasons?
What do you think?
I still miss you so,
It may only be six months,
But I miss you more
Time has given no comfort
I may smile and play
Laugh all day
But I still miss you so.
Now that you’ve gone
All the memories
Fights we’ve lost and won
Happy games we played
The children have grown
And my heart still groans
Because I still miss you so.
Special days, like anniversaries
And your birthday, don’t forget Christmas
As I plan each day, I pause to say
How Mum would have loved
Each of these moments
And I still miss you so.
My tears still fall on the inside
There’s no time to stall in this busy hive
So I move along and hum your favourite songs
Thinking of your smile, your jokes and wicked humour
The way you riled me so easily and we’d knock heads
No-one’s there to fill me with dread and laughter
So I still miss you so.
I’m closing another chapter. No, not one of my books, but life itself. It’s a pleasant yet somewhat scary feeling of moving forward and stepping over the tragedies of the past. My focus is still unclear and wavering, but the intention to move towards clarity is getting stronger. That’s excitement right there!
At the end of this chapter, the feeling of overcoming so much which seemed little at the time makes me question my inner strength. Knowing that life’s book is unpredictable and sketchy at best, I’m trying to implement changes to make me happier. Not much time left if you think about it.
Now I have to tackle big projects that have been placed on hold for far too long. I’m clearing out my bat cave, ready for the future. Dreams might just become a reality with the right amount of effort. So, as I close off my Tuesday, thinking about books and life, I wonder, what would you change in your life to make your dreams come true?
Good-bye my pretty Bird,
Fly away free
Never mind the tears
They’re not for you, but for me.
Good-bye my golden friend
The one who drives me mad
Even now I smile at memories
That share my life with you, making me glad.
Good-bye our precious grandmother
The children loved you a tonne
I told them when I came home
You gave me the last touch
So the game continues on!
Good-bye my pretty little bird
Death has collected you at a young age
How peacefully you left us
To say farewell to your empty cage.
RIP Mum 11/12/1944 – 25/04/2015
Copyright Eloise De Sousa (2015).
Today is the second week anniversary of the flight of my little bird. I am caught in an emotional trap. I am nervous as I set about putting together the playlist for her wake. In my hand I nurse a brandy and coke, my father’s drink. In my head I spin the songs that I will play for my little bird.
My Saturday night confession: I hate crying. I don’t do crying unless someone opens that ridiculous door and allows the little crybaby inside me to escape. In the deepest, darkest catacombs of my mind there are very few opportunities to escape, but once in a blue moon a little bugger of a crybaby escapes.
Tonight my mind is on high alert. One of those little crybabies has escaped. So, to distract the escapee those little people who live in my head have decided to make a playlist. It isn’t possible to be sad when you’re listening to a good playlist. I’d like to share the torment with the little people who live inside in your head.
Who said I wasn’t a caring, sharing, giving person?!
So here goes. Get ready to sing along, and to dance when the moment takes you.
Tonight, I present to you, for your pleasure and mine, my playlist for my mum, my little bird, who escaped her cage and flew away. She is happy now, I know, but please share my songs and my tears.
I will close this playlist with yet another Deep Purple song, which just seems right for the moment,
I could go on adding more superb songs right through the night, but I am going to leave it there for now. What one song would you add to my playlist for my little bird?
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