As a parent you have this overwhelming sense of responsibility to teach your kids the right thing.
Overnight you become this role model, this personification of virtue, put on a pedestal where you can do no wrong. I watch my words, I watch my temper, my table manners and even whether I am enforcing gender stereotypes.
However in this great effort of being a good mom, I realised I was missing out on the little things that my daughter was teaching me. There is so much that one can learn from a little child, one with no inhibitions, no complexes or pre conceived notions.
As an expat and now an expat mom, I have faced my share of challenges settling down into
Singapore. Whether its struggles with finding employment or developing an emotional connect with the place, I still have my good and bad days. I often fretted about being away from home, but then my daughter taught me that home is where her father and I are. It’s where family stays together. I am amazed at how easily she has befriended people with just a genuine smile and a tiny little hand raised to shake another. Of course it helps that she is one and a half and deliciously cute. But as I saw her play the other day I realised, there is so much that we are born with, that we forget as we grow up and become ‘sensible’. How there is so much wonder in the little things around us. An aeroplane flying across the sky, a new flower that just fell off the tree after the rain, a cute dog or cat, the old aunty in a food court or kids thrashing around in the pool.
Each day with her I feel like I am looking at the world all over again, this time with her sense of wonder and excitement. My daughter has taught me that there is nothing that cannot be overcome, especially with a hug and some cuddling. She has the blessed fortune of being young enough to forget and move on in minutes. If only life was that easy for us. Maybe it is, maybe we could be as positive too, just leaving past bitterness behind and looking forward to our next adventure.
Baby Fiona, as I like to call her, lives in the present moment and every moment is something to look forward to. She is slowly building memories and will be scared every time she sees a lizard, but for the most part, she is like that toy slate we had as kids. One little swipe and she has erased the disgruntled moments where she was not allowed to lick the broom and chose to chew on her books like a martyr. My daughter has taught me that when it comes to patience, there is really no limits one can have, it’s up to you to push the boundaries or your self- control and stamina.
However the most important lesson that I have learnt from her is the immense determination we are all born with. When she wants something she can bring the house down till she gets it. Where does that focus go? If we are programmed to survive and get what we want where do we lose the passion to chase our dreams in adulthood? She has given me the strength and confidence to start writing again, and pursue the dreams that got shoved at the back of the closet, behind work pass issues, motherhood, adjustment problems and cultural differences. I want to be what I aspired to be, so that she can believe that her dreams are achievable too. Even if that dream currently is to climb on to the sofa and break all my nice picture frames.
Thank you Baby Fiona.
Sleep deprivation and exhaustion often clouds our vision from being truly amazed by this little person growing up, and becoming an individual with a personality. I am glad I took these moments to write about what a badass, awesome, sweet and confident little girl you are
and how much you have changed my life, and in all ways for the better.
Happy Mother’s day to us… I love you more each day!
This piece is brought to you by Saraswati Datar.
Saraswati studied film making, worked in mainstream television, and now freelances as a writer, putting in double shifts at Mom Inc.
She is passionate about cinema, gender, travel, literature and food.
Though she lives in Singapore her heart has been left behind in the madness of Mumbai.
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