Liam has been on holiday in KZN with my sister and her family. I was grateful for this opportunity for a number of reasons:
- He loves his aunty, uncle and cousins and I know how much fun they have together.
- He gets to sleep in a bit, as compared to getting up at 5h30am for school every day.
- He gets to enjoy the open spaces, fresh air and laid back living – something us city slickers aren’t accustomed to.
Moreover, I was looking forward to giving Hannah my utter and total attention because she really does deserve it, she has become a bad sharer and I guess this is because she has become somewhat annoyed at having to share EVERYTHING with Liam, including my attention. This week has been enlightening to say the least. It’s funny how you become “OK” with your routine, and by “OK” I mean we settle for, and accept a situation that was supposed to be temporary but has now become the norm, to the point where we forget what life was like before…
I have learned that my husband and I still have a life outside of our children. I’ve learned that we can still engage each other and enjoy each other’s company and laugh at each other’s dry jokes; that we still love each other as intensely as we did all those years ago. The problem is that everything else becomes somewhat jaded when you have kids, especially more than one – they require your full and total attention ALL the time, your focus tends to shift away from your partner and your marriage and becomes children centred – and this is not a good thing. All you talk about are the kids and their well being and their needs. You fight about everything and you disagree on almost everything – how to discipline, how to reward, what they wear, what they eat, their MEDICAL BILLS (OMW!), their school fees, how darn expensive they are; you can find a fight-a-minute when you have kids. You can become so absorbed in your parenting, that your marriage starts to take strain due to neglect, and you don’t even realise the cracks are there, until you have your light bulb moment, which in our case was Liam leaving home! What about those marriages who don’t experience their light bulb moment until it’s too late? It’s a bittersweet contradiction that kids complete a marriage by creating a family, yet their existence can lead to the downfall of that marriage if we, as parents, are not maintaining and nurturing our marriage, as we raise our babies.
I’ve learned that I don’t miss my kid as much as I thought I would and that a break from each other is probably beneficial for us both. Now before you call the welfare on me.. I do believe that mothers love their sons differently, just as fathers love their daughters differently. Not more or less – just differently! That said, I’m beginning to think that I may be slightly OCD when it comes to my son, HENCE the reason my hubby and I bump heads often over Liam. So here it is in writing, I admit that I may be just a litte, just a tad, just a drop, over protective over Liam. I think that my great love for him leads me to overlook many things, makes me cover up for him even when he deserves to be disciplined, makes me fall under his eye lash batting spell every time. During this time apart, I’ve learned that he is growing, he is a big boy now, he can be away from mommy for many sleeps and consequently, I need to start letting go. Now hold back, I don’t mean I must let my two year old fly the nest, grow a beard and drink beer. I mean letting go in small ways and granting him that independence that he so craves. With independence, comes responsibility and accountability and I have to learn to let Liam deal with these, even in little things like: you wanted to paint, you made a mess, you clean it up. And if you cry, I can’t jump to your rescue and clean up your mess, because this is how we build character and these small lessons will carry you way further, than my mollycoddling will. OH IT’S SO HARD EVEN TO TALK ABOUT IT!
I’ve also learned that Liam can survive without me. The harsh, harsh reality about life is that we never know when our time is going to be up. When I consider my mortality, I am more afraid of what will happen to my kids if and when I die, than I am about actually dying. But I’ve learned that Liam would be just fine, he would miss me no doubt, but he would be alright, and that gives me a sense of peace. And not only in terms of life and death, but this time apart has shown me that he is a confident, self assured little boy, who can deal with being away from his mom, and that his emotional capabilities are developing well. There’s nothing wrong with being shy or timid, but I think every parent worries about a child who seems introverted, who can’t seem to function without his/her mom right by their side, who pulls back in fear at the thought of being the centre of attention. I think it’s every parents fear, that their kid could possibly be a target for a big nasty bully.
I’ve learned that Hannah is really and truly the easiest, most lovable creature who is happy to go with the flow, who rolls with the punches and who just needs to be watered and fed occasionally. I am well blessed to have such a gem, as compared to Liam who was a high maintenance baby! I feel bad to admit that I have missed out on many of Hannah’s milestones because I was too preoccupied with life, and work and her brother.. but I’ve learned during our time alone together to appreciate her for being so incredibly, edibly sweet like chocolate. Yes, she is a diva who can throw a tantrum that will bounce clear off the Richter Scale, yes she has her days when she can whine and cry for seemingly no reason – which women doesn’t? But most times, Hannah is happy to just chill, she likes to dance and clap hands, she likes it when you “act a fool” and do silly things that make her giggle. She likes to follow her dad around the house, she is quite happy to play alone with her toys or watch Disney Junior, especially Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She eats whatever you put in front of her, she sleeps all night and has a good long nap in the day, she adapts well to change and she doesn’t care that I have to split my time between her, Liam, the house, work, her dad, LIFE. She’s just cool like that.
So this week has been an eye opener. God uses all types of situations to talk to us, to teach and correct us, to speak to our hearts and to let us know if we’re doing it right or if we need to check ourselves and I do believe that I’ve learned some important lessons from my God this week..