My son turns 10 years old this fall. At the start of the summer, I told my husband that before school reconvened, I intended to have the talk with my son about Santa. While my son has never pushed for answers regarding holiday magic, he is in a multi-age program at school with older, brainy kids. My gut has been telling me that this is the year that Santa’s cover would be blown. I also know my son well enough to know I wanted to control the conversation and not have a big talking fifth grader accidentally ruin Christmas at the last minute. I wanted to work through this far enough away from the holiday so we could all get used to the idea. I knew if I framed things the right way, my son would still be able to welcome the upcoming holiday season. I was resigned to move ahead. (more…)
The author and her brother, as children, with their paternal grandmother, Loli.
Among the greatest blessings I have ever had in this life is the time that I have spent with my grandmothers, Loli and Mama. They were two of the greatest women I have ever known.
Loli is my paternal grandmother, and Mama is grandma on my mom’s side of the family. While they are no longer around for me to hug, the lessons and wisdom that both have given me remain in my heart.
Today I share some of these lessons with my fellow world moms:
1. True love DOES exist
My maternal grandparents spent 68 years together before my Mama passed away. Those years of marriage were not perfect, and of course had their share of ups and downs. But on her deathbed, my grandmother opened her eyes and focused on my grandfather, sharing a final moment with him before she left us.
At the end of it all, we knew that there was no one in the world she loved more than him. We could feel that she didn’t want to leave him, and in the end, the assurance that he will be okay was what she needed in order to let go.
I will never forget the way my Mama’s eyes would twinkle each time she looked at my grand dad, how she would laugh at his jokes and hold his hand while they walked. Marriage is hard, but it can be worth it. And true love does exist.
2. Make sure to create memories with your loved ones
In my family, there is no shortage of photographs and stories to turn to when we want to remember fun times. I appreciate these so much more now that I am older.
My grandmothers made sure that we planned something for every occasion, be it Christmas, birthdays, or even random, ordinary Sundays. What mattered was that we made time for each other, and that we made our time together count.
3. Come what may, you can always count on family
There is comfort in knowing that your family will be there for you no matter what happens. We were raised to love one another unconditionally, and to watch each other’s backs. Our grandmothers had our parents make sure that it stayed this way, even as we all grew up.
We now pass these close family ties on to our children, who are not just cousins but also the best of friends. Truth be told, I cannot imagine what life would be like without my siblings and cousins.
4. Allow your children to be spoiled by their grandparents
This one is a tough pill to swallow, and I fought against it for many years with my own son and parents. But looking back, the best memories that I have of my grandmothers were those times I had alone with them, where I was the princess and got whatever I wanted.
When I was pregnant, my Loli would steal extra packs of lunch or save half of her share to bring home to me as treats after her meetings and get-togethers. My Mama indulged me in mini birthday celebrations in her home, complete with spaghetti, ice cream and cake, when I was already in my 30’s!
These are memories that I hold so dear. They have their own happy places in my heart and can never be taken away. Someday, I hope that my son remembers moments with my mom and mom-in-law with the same kind of fondness.
5. At the end of it all, love is what lives on
I’ve had my fair share of scolding and tough love from my grandmothers, but not once in my life did they ever make me feel unloved. I miss them each day, the nagging phone calls, their funny tales from the past, their hugs and kisses.
The love that they left behind lives on in me, and in each of us in the family. It’s what binds us together now and keeps us strong.
Theirs was the kind of motherly love that transcended generations, the kind of love that I, too, hope to give to my family through the years.
The author and her sister with their maternal grandmother, Mama
*In loving memory of Natividad F. “Loli” de Castro (1921-2008) and Presentacion T. “Mama” delos Santos (1929-2015)
This is an original post for World Moms Blog from our contributor in the Philippines, Mrs. C
The images used in this post are attributed to the author.
Two months ago, we had our first experience going to a medical clinic in a foreign country.
Come to think of it, we managed nearly four years in Paris without needing to do so. It helped that we lived across the street from a pharmacy (a distinct Parisian ‘landmark’). Those days, we relied heavily on self-medication and the advice of our friendly pharmacist.
This time around, these options couldn’t cut it. Our 22 month-old daughter had already been ill for a week and wasn’t getting any better.
Having only recently arrived in Abu Dhabi, we had no idea about which pediatrician to consult. Armed with a recommendation from a mum’s group, I called up only to find out with some panic that the earliest appointment was in four days’ time. After some frantic telephone conversations with my husband, we made a dash for a walk-in clinic which closed its doors at 1pm.
While this may be common in many countries, it is not something that we would have encountered back home. In Singapore, we could always see our pediatrician at short notice after a quick phone call. This was always reassuring, especially for first-time parents who made a big deal out of every rise in temperature or unusual cough.
Our experience at the clinic made me a little homesick and left me wishing for many things, big and small, that we often take for granted back in Singapore.
This feeling was further intensified a few days later, when news broke that Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, had passed away.
Amid the numerous news reports and posts on social media from friends and folks back home, I felt a keen sadness for the nation’s loss of the man who made Singapore what she is today.
Countless politicians, heads of state, journalists and media outlets inundated us with statements, commentaries and judgements on the life and impact of our “giant of history”. I leave this to them.
What I’ve been mulling over, what preoccupies me as a parent, is what Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy entails; it’s what he has left Singaporeans, our future generations and my daughter.
Every opportunity is available to my daughter:
- She has access to education from an early age and will never have to struggle for the right to go to school.
- She can run around freely in our neighbourhood and enjoy her childhood innocence in playgrounds.
- She can go out with her mother now, or alone in the future, without restriction or the necessity of being accompanied by a male presence.
- She can travel around our little island on public transport, and see marvellous skyscrapers and iconic buildings, all set amidst verdant flora.
- Her safety outside our home is not an issue that her father or I have to worry our heads about, neither does she need to be anxious over whether her parents will get home safely at the end of the day.
- She will have friends from so many different cultures and nationalities, and she can be proud of being able to claim heritage from multiple cultures.
Every opportunity awaits my daughter, for her to make something out of it.
For these and many other reasons, my heart hangs heavy and yet swells with pride for our tiny island and I long for the next time we arrive again at Changi Airport, to see the sign “Welcome Home”. It is a home and country that a visionary built. It may not be a perfect place but my daughter has so many things to be thankful for.
This is an original, first post to World Moms Blog from KC, who is currently stationed with her family in Abu Dhabi but born and bred in Singapore. This is their first international job posting with their daughter, TT, who is now 22 months old. You can read more about Singaporean-expat life through KC’s eyes on her blog, Mummy In Transit, or through her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mummyintransit .
The image used in this post is credited to the author’s friend, Jacob O’Quinn, and is used here with permission.
Life after witnessing a miracle, is challenging. There other words I am looking for, but ‘challenging‘ is the truest of them all. With it I rank faithful, blissful, hopeful, trusting, invigorating, and inspiring as next in line, on a list of many words. (more…)
The state of the world came sharply into focus after the birth of my first child. I saw it all–good, bad, and ugly–not just as my own habitat, but as the place where I would hand off my son and his generation. This realization lit a fire of motivation in me to do everything possible to ensure that I leave this planet better than I found it.
That’s a tall order to be sure, but I believe that small things eventually add up to big things. I believe that change can, does, and will happen with directed energy and focus. I also believe that mothers are uniquely positioned to effect and create opportunities for change.
Years ago, on my first Mother’s Day as a mother, I was delighted to discover the origins of the holiday are more substantial than the greeting card industry would have us believe. Julia Ward Howe issued this Mother’s Day proclamation back in 1870:
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have of ten forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions.
The great and general interests of peace.
Her proclamation is just as relevant today as it was 145 years ago. We, as mothers, weep with the mothers all over the world who are losing their children to war, poverty, police brutality, and other injustices.
Sitting with all of this anguish, with the pain of these broken-hearted mothers in our hearts, a dear friend and I decided to start a new Mother’s Day tradition in our community. We’ve invited all of the mothers in our area to join together for 30 minutes on Mother’s Day morning–before the brunches, before the (precious and beloved) handmade cards, before the massages–in an inter-spiritual and inter-generational gathering of solidarity with mothers everywhere and to meditate and pray for peace.
We will meet in the park, we will read the original Mother’s Day Proclamation, we will meditate and pray together, and we will commit to doing everything within our power to create a more just and peaceful world.
When I decided that this gathering was something I needed to create, I reached out to Mirabai Starr, who is a mother, author, and poet. I asked her if she would write something for us to read together before we parted ways on Mother’s Day. She directed me to something she’d already written:
“Mother of Mercy, the cries of the world keep me awake at night. I rise from my bed, but I cannot locate the source of the wailing. It is everywhere, Mother coming from all directions, and my heart is shattered by the sheer intensity of suffering.
You of boundless compassion, expand my heart so that I can contain the pain. Focus my mind so that I can arrive at viable solutions, and energize my body so that I can engage in effective action. Give me the courage to follow the crumbs of heartbreak all the way home to the place where I can be of real service. Let me dip my fingers into the dew of your compassion and scatter it now over the fevered brow of this world.”
It is my fervent hope that by gathering together, by joining forces and intentions, we can “arrive at viable solutions,” energized in body, mind, and spirit to courageously go forth as agents of Peace and Justice, not only for our own children, but for the children of mothers the world over.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ms. V.
Image Credit: Google Images
One moment everything seemed fine and the next I was creating a little puddle of tears on my Yogasana mat.
I emerged from the yogasana pose to find unexpected sobs bursting through my throat, catching me completely unawares. A little part of my mind wondered what this was all about. And then I realized this was probably because of a niggling dissonance within, a reaction to a new milestone in my son’s growth that had not yet been completely accepted or acknowledged. This is what had led to the sudden grey cloud near the heart, that burst through as tears.
This morning, as Abhishek, my son, was having his breakfast before leaving for school, he called out to me saying that there seemed to be a gap between his two lower incisors. I touched a tooth and immediately found it was loose. The milk tooth would soon fall. We grinned and Abhi told me about how Kirti, his school mate, already had two teeth missing. I thought of a couple of his other friends, senior to him by a year, wearing gap-toothed smiles with part-embarrassment, part -pride. Now he would be a part of that gang too.
As we waited at the bus-stop for his school bus, we talked of the concept of the tooth-fairy. We both agreed that the concept was “cute”. I bid him bye, returned home and resumed my morning chores.
But somewhere in the heart, deep, deep down, the unarticulated thought had arrived – our little baby is about to lose his baby teeth. How did the years fly by so fast? And that would have been the genesis of the tears.
The innocence and unsullied grace of childhood are truly magical and seem long-lasting. But the pace of change and growth can actually be so rapid, that the heart can seem overwhelmed. Scarcely does a new milestone–a habit, a skill, or a new activity–set in, than the “Finish” line for that zooms forward, and before one knows it, it is time to say goodbye to yet another phase of one’s child’s growing years.
So much to cherish and so little time! It seems like it was only yesterday that I was rhapsodizing over Abhishek’s four new, shiny little teeth and feeling nostalgic about toothless, gummy smiles. And now it’s time for those very teeth to go!
“So what?”, one may wonder. A purely practical approach to this whole thing would be that his physical growth is going on fine and that I ought to be feeling reassured!
But to me it seems to be much more than that. His shaky little tooth tells me a lot of things. It reminds me that he is growing up quickly and that the only mandate I have been given from the Universe is to give him love, pure and unadulterated, intense and in every moment. It shows me the passage of the seasons of time – the travails of toddler-hood have given way to heart-touchingly earnest attempts at responsibility for this sweet-yet-solemn almost-six-year-old.
But most of all, the tooth reminds me that “this too shall pass!”
So must change be heralded by tears? Not at all. Something tells me that some of the tears were tears of regret, for all those “Not now please, I am busy” moments, when I allowed temporary realities to hijack my energies away from the greater priority of sharing my time and care with him.
Those moments are irretrievable and all I can hope is that this tooth has taught me a valuable learning. And then there were a few tears of concerns: am I ready to guide him right as he reaches a new phase of growth? As ready as I will ever be, I guess.
And then there were tears of joy: my little one, darling creature of the Universe, is growing up.
Motherhood seems like a permanent stage of “Work in Progress”. There is no “Finished Product”, just a heart that smiles, cries, is pulled and stretched and learns to give some more.
This is an original guest post from Piya Mukherjee in Mumbai, India; Mother, Corporate Trainer, Director.
The image used in this post is attributed to Stephanie Sicore of Young@Art. It holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.