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growing up

Fathers have a heart too

October 27, 2017
fathers

A few days ago, I took my daughter to a birthday party of a boy who was going to the same daycare center for a while when they were both four.

God works in strange ways. I became friends with his mom when we learnt that her son had a crush on my daughter. They later moved to another place, and changed the daycare center. She and I kept in touch, as we were brought together by children’s love and the fact that we both bring up our children on our own.

From one birthday to the next, we exchanged experiences and watched our children grow.

Just like me, my friend Supermom had separated from the boy’s father before he was born. Maybe she did it out of pride, maybe she had no choice, or maybe love simply vanished.

Anyhow, the boy hadn’t seen his dad much until recently.

I never commented her decisions. I don’t judge other people and I expect them not to judge me. Everybody knows what’s best for them.

I was delighted when she told me that the father and the son had finally established contact. It won’t be easy to make up for all the years gone by. It will take time to build the relationship based on trust and intimacy. That might never even happen. My opinion is that children should meet and see the parents they don’t share their house with, provided of course that at least the basic conditions for this are in place.

My daughter sees her father regularly, and that has always been the case. Not because I’ve managed to discover all secrets of parenthood or because I’m this noble person who places her child’s interest before conflicts and ugly situations that have come up from time to time. The reason is that her father has been persistent enough despite the fact that I condemn his way of life.

Our characters, habits and principles are completely opposite. We have confronted each other about many issues countless times. I disapprove of many aspects of his life, and that is unlikely ever to change.

However, he once said something that left a strong impression on me. We quarreled about where our daughter’s scooter would be stored in the future (oh yeah, a scooter can also be a good reason for an argument). When I told him that she didn’t live with him (and therefore the scooter should be kept at my place), he replied:

In my mind, all my children live with me.

What he said really made me stop and think.

Fathers have a heart, too

They are often selfish, like men are due to a lack of responsibility. They lie and cheat. They rarely manage to understand the children’s interests and daily needs the way we do. But in that fragment of a second, this admission that came directly from his soul really got to me. I realized that his lack of commitment and responsibility, which I always tried to neutralize by lavishing care and attention upon her, didn’t necessarily mean the lack of love.

Fathers can love, too

Is that the consequence of the established tradition and norms? Do mothers simply carry a gene that makes us act the way we do?

I don’t know, and I don’t care anymore.

My daughter is six. I’m not sure time really heals everything, but the years I’ve spent raising her alone have helped me learn plenty.

Nothing is just black or white,

To forgive is divine, as some say, but I’d also add – it is often the only thing we can do if we wish to be in peace.

Answers sometimes literally fall from the sky. All we have to do is remember to look up.

I wanted to tell the friend I mentioned at the beginning all about it, but I haven’t had the chance. One of the reasons why I’m writing this post is so that she can read and understand it.

 

She’ll soon let go of my hand

October 6, 2017
hand

This is more than a photo. A mother and a child, hand in hand, a symbol of love, of parenthood.
It’s an everyday occurrence, a part of our routine. But I know it will soon end.
A little longer, and it will all be over.

Hand in hand means so much more.
Love.
A reminder that time passes, inevitably and quickly.

A shiver went down my spine when I realized that I had no idea for how much longer my daughter would want to hold my hand.

And only a few years ago…

I wasn’t one of those mothers who make their children start to walk as soon as possible, who hold their little hands and encourage them: Come on, you can do it, there you goooo…. I let her crawl for as long as she wanted. I’m surprised her knees didn’t leave a permanent imprint on the nursery floor.

I just let her do thing at her own pace. After all, nobody crawls forever.

One day, she just stood up. She made a few unsteady steps in my direction before she fell in my arms. She started walking at 13 months of age. I wrote down the exact date in a colored notebook I will keep with me forever.

Since then, the two of us have always walked together, hand in hand.

I admit I hate to let go of that little hand.

What if she falls? What if she gets hurt? What if she runs into the street?

The symbol of parenthood, of growing up, of love.

My daughter has recently invented a new game.

The idea came out of the blue. “Mom, let’s pretend we don’t know each other. Like, I’m a grown-up, taking a walk on my own.”

My baby is growing. She is still a small, insecure child, she gets scared sometimes, but she’s also increasingly curious about what it’s like to be a little more independent. Even walking a few meters away from her mom counts as an adventure.

So we walked, side by side at first, and then she suddenly moved away and pretended to be a big girl who walked alone. She wanted to feel what it was like when she no longer needed her mom’s hand. A few minutes later, the game ended abruptly when a car or something else passed and the big girl got frightened, grabbed my hand and said: “Mom, let’s know each other again…”

I admit I was eager to squeeze those tiny fingers that had found their way back to me. I was happy.

And I already know that the whole point of our most important task – the parenthood – is to eventually let them:

fall because they have to learn to get up,
fly using their own wings,
taste and grasp life on their own.

I know that the day will come, maybe soon, when we will stop hugging before we say goodbye. And I know that the day will come when her small hand will stop looking for mine and the game will become reality.

 

I’m just not ready for it yet.

The joys of growing up and clothing battles

January 21, 2017
growing up

Some time ago, I had a good laugh when I saw a cartoon of a mother squabbling with her daughter over her clothes. And then I read loads of related comments on the FB which made me realise that it is a real-life situation, the one I still haven’t faced, but that will inevitably come.

My daughter is very young and I’m still in charge. I understand, though, that the status quo won’t last forever.  One mother complained that her daughter only wore leggings and hooded sweatshirts! Others struggle with teenagers changing their outfit several times before going to school. Me, I’m a disciplined person and I prepare each evening the clothes my child and I would wear the next day. The worst thing is to improvise in the morning when you’re in a hurry. For now, my attempts to keep my daughter’s fashion ideas under control have been successful. I don’t approve of kids having painted nails (actually, I’ve seen them on a 3-year old in her kindergarten) or wearing too much zazzy stuff. A plastic necklace, a bracelet or a ring is ok. But, no more than that. My daughter likes leggings because they’re comfy, but she prefers dresses. I don’t mind her wearing them when it’s warm, but in the winters it takes some special skills to explain to her that the cute little backless dress is not for snow (even if she puts on her boots and her warmest jacket).

I’m convinced that I’ll manage to stand my ground, at least for a while, except on special occasions, such as birthdays or mask balls. 

As I’m rather inexperienced in this field, all your tips and comments will be much appreciated. Still, I don’t think a child should be under too much parental control when it comes to their clothing, as long as their choices are reasonable. Is setting a personal example the right way to go about it? I’m not sure my daughter will ever be too enthusiastic about my classical, no-nonsense taste in clothes. And that’s perfectly all right; I mean, each generation is supposed to be different from the previous one. I can only hope that the forthcoming battles over clothes won’t be too harsh.