It is interesting that after many years of arriving late at a loved one’s place for the festive season, being married; I was early at the loved one’s place this year, being single – and yet what impacted me was the loved one’s constant comments on how badly I had brought up the little one. If I am observing truly, it must be the little one’s reluctance to greet a person as openly as how a parent or in this case, a very prone-to-entertaining-people-loved-one would like it.
Time and time again, the loved one repeatedly says, “teach her!” and time and time again, I ponder how to… do I teach her when the situation has not arise and merely feed her information when her interest at that moment is clearly something else, or simply play time with me; or do I take the opportunity to share with her when the situation arise, and that may mean the delayed greeting response to another which can be for a few hours, a few months, or perhaps a lifetime? In my own observation and experience with the little one, ‘teaching’ and ‘guiding’ a child is not a one-day or one-night thing and has much to do with appropriate timing and conditions.
I am prone to allowing my daughter to be as she is as I do not believe that she is rude or badly brought up as how the old school society would label a child if she has not achieved the minimum standard of manners. Having multiple conversations with her before, she has shared with me her shyness and her uneasiness in relating to someone whom she is not closed to or hardly knows. I can understand that sentiment and found her rather wise being able to express truthfully what is in her heart at such a tender age. As a mom, all I can do is to assure her that it is safe, or that it is okay whenever mommy is around (at least, for now); but it still boils to her whether she wishes to make that move or not. As I trust the pace of her own growth, she has shown me again and again that without my interference coupled with her openness to my constant impromptu sharing, she simply blossoms. As a parent, my job is to guide her to her own being, not to mould her into what other people expect her to be; yet strangely enough, the constant pressure from what is being measured as ‘old enough’ especially from a loved one can be pretty daunting. The tug of war within is really pretty hard to ignore.
It is interesting that when I share with friends who are on the journey about the experiences of the little one and I, the comments I’d receive are that if ever I come back the next life, they would like to be my child. And here, the loved one, who is one of my closest mirrors, reflects my being a not-so-good mom. It is funny how perhaps if those friends who had expressed that they wanted me to be their mom the next life might change their minds if they were in the loved one’s shoes and the loved one might very well be very proud of me for my way of ‘bringing up’ the little one if the loved one was one of my friends on the journey.
I am definitely not a good mom by society’s standards or by anyone’s standards. And thank goodness, I myself do not have standards on how to be or what is a good mom. I do not need to teach my little one how to be a good person, for she is already one; I do not need to teach my little one how to be a useful person in the community, for she is already one; I do not need to teach her how to make other people like her because people already like her; I do not need to teach my little one how to make people happy because she already knows how to in her own creative ways and is wise enough to know that after she tries her best, she keeps to her business knowing that there is nothing she can do if the other chooses to remain in the experience of being unhappy.
My role as a mom, other than the usual requirement of nurturing, caring, loving is to highlight to her areas of concerns relating to her being-ness and it will have nothing to do with others’ or my expectations of how she should be, or even how I should be bringing her up with my role as a mom.
In truth, being a mom to the little one has nothing much to do with her but rather, with my own being-ness i.e. with what I am. She learns what she observes in me, and if she likes what she sees, she will be that; likewise if she doesn’t like what she sees, she will be the opposite of it. Other than that, in momentary differing moments, my job is to share with her with the intent to uplift her and to expand her views of her experiences as I would with anybody that crosses my path.
Good mom or not; seriously, how would I do? and why would I care? Without the incessant expectations of being a mom, wouldn’t I be better off just being the best of me, in every moment?