Protect Me

Tonight, was an overwhelming night. A night where I truly realized I could not protect my daughter forever. As much as I was furious for how some people have no respect for young children, I cannot imagine worse things that could happen if I wasn’y beside my daughter when this happened. 

Emma was standing right beside me. Close to me. Yet, a relative of mine (male and senior) managed to pick her up and carry her into his arms. She didn’t say a word, she was already on the verge of tears and gestured for me to take her back. Of course, I did right away. After that, she couldn’t let go of me and cried on my shoulder. My heart broke. I was right there beside her and I still couldn’t protect her. 

We may think we know how to raise children well until we become mothers ourselves. We have a whole wealth of information and avenues for people to share experiences and opinions across cultures, but we will never know how to make the right decision until we come bare face to face with it in reality. And once we become mothers,  we will constantly question our judgement and parenting methods. Because every reaction we make, and every word we say to the child, moulds his or her perception and experience of the situation. Every emotion the child goes through, whether validated or not, whether abused or not, becomes a permanent imprint in the child’s life journey. 

As she was crying on my shoulder, I explained to her that she needs to say no and push away firmly if she doesn’t want the stranger to touch or carry her. I’m puzzled how she can fight back so strongly with us at home … but with strangers, she would just stand there, contemplating, maybe trying to figure it out until it’s too late. Have I been too hard on her during naptimes? Locking her down in my grip when she refuses to sleep? Has this caused an adverse effect? Or is she still developing her maturity and understanding of interacting with strangers? What can I do to make her tougher with more grit? What am I doing wrong? What am I not doing right?

Sometimes, I marvel at this miracle baby the heavens have bestowed upon me. Yet at times, I feel guilty of bringing her into this cruel and sinful world … filled with so much suffering and danger which she has to go through. 

Having attended my cousin’s wedding recently, and seeing how the newlyweds disrespect their parents during the event again, has made me wonder what is the reason for having children. Not a single gratefulness for appreciating your parents in bringing you to this very moment where you achieve your wedded bliss with the love of your life. It is very difficult to be good parents, and I believe the truth is, like they say “no one is perfect in this world”, there is no such thing as perfect parents too. The hardship we face not only to work and earn enough for the children to enjoy the very best of the best, is only a minute sacrifice of what parents do. A child will never know how much thought a parent puts into every decision-making process until they become parents themselves. From disciplining, food, school, experiences, holidays, gifts, money … . We as children only know how to take and take and still question why things are still not perfect. But we forget who made all the decisions that brought us to this very successful point in life here and now. We always forget. And keep wanting more perfect. More change. Because we are spoiled rotten brats who know nothing about gratitude.

I hope to be able to teach Emma what gratitude and kindness is, but in my strong quest to do so, sometimes I feel like I’ve left out on the grit part. Now I worry. And I will never stop worrying until the day I die. This is the suffering of motherhood, but we bite our lip and keep it in so that nobody knows the tears we shed alone from the heartaches of parenting. Oh, whatever is the right or wrong answer to everything?

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