Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's time I apologized to my son

Wow, my son, B, turns 30 today. While I’m extremely happy to see him at this milestone, it also makes me feel positively ancient. I still remember the day he was born as though it was just yesterday, and am bursting with pride that he’s become a fine, young man – smart and strong, yet possessing a kind, sweet spirit.

I just read a blog where a young mother posts apologies to her young child for the many times (and all mothers can relate) when she wishes the child would eat faster or go to bed earlier just so that she can have a little me time. She would check the diaper and close it back up when it’s only pee. Or let her child go to bed with avocado in her hair. I think it’s struck a chord among mothers who can relate to all the times when they are less than perfect mums.

I’m certainly guilty of all kinds of crimes against B when he was little. I managed to record about 30 minutes worth of TV commercials (on VHS) and would stick him in front of the TV to watch them. He was mesmerized by the fast changing images and catchy jingles of the commercials, and I could dash around to do some laundry, cook dinner or just clean up while he was watching TV. Is it any wonder that he has followed me into the advertising industry in where he himself is creating TV spots?

My litany of crimes only gets worse. When he woke up for his night feeds, it would take forever to get him to finish his bottle, burp him and then lull him back to sleep. I had a “eureka” moment and cut off the top of bottle teat so that he could suck the milk faster. And hey, it worked. He finished his bottle in record time. And then threw up the contents of the entire bottle in no time at all also.

When B was 8 or 9, we went on holiday to the States, and during another school break, to England. While we were in New York, I wanted to hit the department stores, of course, but it was hard to keep the youngster quiet while I was browsing through the women’s department. So I brought him to the toy department and told him to stay put for about half an hour while I zipped around getting my own shopping done. Of course, my admonitions were accompanied by bribes of toys and books. I did the same thing again in London, this time, sticking him in Hamleys while I trawled through Bond Street.

Now, this was before the advent of mobile phones, so if I had lost him, it would have been horrifically difficult to find him. Thank goodness he never wandered off or worse yet, was abducted. I shudder just thinking about what mishap might have happened.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the statutes of limitations have run out for the child welfare people to come after me. Undoubtedly I have blocked other instances of child neglect and/or abuse. I’m sure B will be more than happy to remind me of them.

Mothers face all kind of worries and challenges over their children. When B was little, I agonized over whether he would learn to read, ride a bicycle without the training wheels, button his shirt or tie his shoelaces by himself. As he headed into puberty and had to deal with his parents’ divorce, I spent sleepless nights over his emotional stability. In the last ten years or so, it’s been worry over concerns such as university, job, girlfriend.

I guess I’ll never stop worrying. But the joy of being a mother, and especially B’s mother, is truly blessed. So B, I’m sorry for all my crimes against you. I promise not to commit them against any of your children when the time comes. Happy Birthday! Love and God bless you!

For those of you who think, like I do, that kids these days are far too protected and don’t have a chance to grow, experiment and spread their wings on their own, here’s some advice from America’s Worst Mom:

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