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Letter to my Children: Staying Connected

Dear children

Many years ago, I remembered there was a week I had to attend a seminar and I was totally ‘not in touch’ with you both. I was exhausted by the time I came back every day and I felt mentally drained and all I could think of was ‘I have another long day tomorrow and I must prepare for that’.-.

By the time the seminar ended (just five days), it seemed like 5 years had flown by, and I found myself having ‘lost touch’ with you- what seemed easy to communicate to you before then seemed suddenly and strangely awkward when I sounded it out. For e.g. like asking you what you wished to eat …it was like asking a stranger. How could it be? It had merely been 5 days!! I now understand why some working parents get estranged from their teenage children as the latter get older.

I have never told you (both) this but for the first time since I raised you from birth, I did not feel confident …I realised not being physically present could distance you and us (papa and me). And yes, I realised never to take my connectivity with you for granted and I now understand why some parents say one should be still physically present before one can build any bonds…

Ah…but then, just the other day, you took me by surprise (again) – I am getting used to that, not liking it much, but adapting to your roller coaster moods and upheavals and mood shifts – You…said… you… were… Lonely…

At any one time, even though one of us would usually be around, at home, to instill a certain sense of predictability, routine, stability or just plain reassurance, with our physical presence, you said you were Lonely…ok… you did not feel connected…ok got that…

Hence, Dad and I decided to spend some ‘one-to-one’ time, and you all said, ‘No, we can’t, we made plans..we are going out with friends’..

I am beginning to  realise parenting is a lifelong affair and until I drop dead 6 feet underground I will still be your parent trying my ‘best-est’ to understand you .-.

So how do we stay connected.to you. Or at least we continue to try?

By now you know we always have a family lunch at a designated time which we established as a tradition since you both led even busier lives than us – we stubbornly upheld it. Hailstorm or school deadlines or ‘Mum, my friend has a birthday party and I must attend’: if an excuse holds its significant weight, we would shift the timing of our ‘family date’ around, no problem. It was a way to connect – all of us – to chat and rant and banter. and for the parent who was not good at ‘talking’ – we had that covered too. To stay ‘connected’ to the children, to each other, the ‘quiet’ parent would offer car rides, chauffeuring, buy ice cream , buy food that both of you liked, as well as what the parent liked (lesson reminder: a parent’s needs should never be neglected at the expense of the children…remember that, when you become parents yourself…heh).

I still think it gets more challenging to stay ‘connected’ to both of you. I realized that in the face of rapid changes all around us, every bond I had tried to create with you could disappear in the blink of an eye, just like that, in an instant, because life is in some sense fragile and unanticipative…

Since then, we have learnt to let go. We determined that as parents one should respect you as the adult you were becoming, and we listened to you as intently as we listened to our colleague at work when you have something to say.

You also know I ‘stalk’ you all a lot right? Don’t ‘b.s., you know I do. I am glad you all know I do and I just want to say I am glad for your ‘communications’ you relay to me on these social media platforms because it allows your father and me and your aunt and your uncle (who stay overseas) to stay ‘connected’ to you:)

Just to share how much of a priority family is to me, I even subscribed to the ‘5 Languages of Love’ email so that I could get further ideas on how one can show love … you know your papa and I show love to you and each other in such different ways ..in great respect of that, I relay it to daddy and I try some of it out sometimes and I begin to be more empathetic and loving..I improve.

Hence, next time you need someone to show a little love, a little more attention or just that opportunity for you to ‘make some contact’ with someone else when you are feeling lonely at home. let us know…express your needs!

I am glad you did express that day…, if not we would never know, and yes..point acknowledged, it is possible to feel lonely even if someone is staying with you at home.

I just realised..as an afterthought, as I and papa get older, the advice I just recommended would apply to us too yes?

Your loving mum

 

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