Children don’t come with operating manuals, how often have we heard that? I often wonder if I have gotten it right in how I love, guide and discipline my children. And the worry that one would only really know the answer many years later does keep me awake at night, especially after I have had to make some tough choices to dole out tough love.
On the Sunday that just passed, some of the seeds of parenting sown over the years sprouted and early buds revealed of the young woman that my eldest daughter might eventually become.
We were walking from the church to the food centre across the road. It was raining and I had only a small umbrella, so I put my arm around my 15 year old and huddled close to her so that we would both stay dry. Unlike how some teenagers are known to behave with their parents, she did not push me away embarrassed of my affection. Instead she laughed and joked that we must just look like a parody of a scene from a popular Korean drama called Descendants of the Sun (according to her it’s called the “Umbrella scene” – duh!).
And when we got to shelter and were walking around looking for a quick snack, she slipped her arm around my arm and we walked arm in arm along the corridor of the shop houses. She told me then that she had been worried about me for a few weeks now as she has noticed that I have been working very hard and keeping late nights whilst taking care of her, her sisters and my mother, all the while nursing a cold.
My heart swelled with such pride, joy and love in that instance and I was close to tears. I was hugely comforted in the knowledge that all those hours of care and love, discipline, nagging, chiding, coaching, guiding, sacrifice over the years have been worthwhile. She will be ok, nay, not just ok. She will grow up to be a wonderful young lady with much goodness to share with the world.
I can’t wait for her to turn 18, when I have promised her to go clubbing with her. That’s less than 3 years away. I hope that her arm will still be linked around mine then as it was on that rainy Sunday as she walks arm in arm with me proudly onto the dance floor to boogie the night away.