I was doing my usual morning rush routine this morning with the two boys this morning when something happened that crushed my heart momentarily.
We were walking towards the entrance of the school when we stopped in our tracks hearing excited screams and joyful laughter by the older K1 and K2 classes out in the field. They were having a little carnival celebrating Father’s Day – doing a relay run with bean bags, throwing balls and playing games with their dads.
As the principal received Liam, she asked him if his daddy was going to join in the Father’s Day celebrations later in the afternoon (for the nursery classes). Before I could reply, Liam said enthusiastically “Yes! My papa is coming! Papa is coming for me right, Mummy?”. My heart CRUSHED. Any witty reply that was in midst of being formulated in my mind as a response to the principal disappeared in an instant.
“Hooray! My papa is coming to celebrate Father’s Day”, I could hear Liam say as he skipped his way to the classroom. I couldn’t bear to break this child’s heart. I quickly texted the husband to check if there was any way he could clear his schedule at very last minute’s notice but no. There was an important work meeting that was scheduled in advance and as much as it broke the husband’s heart too knowing how much Liam wanted him to be there, he couldn’t.
And so the next best thing I’m probably going to do is to get Liam out early before Father’s Day celebrations start this afternoon and have some fun together instead. I haven’t been spending much time with the boy this week due to my badly swollen leg (thankfully it’s recovering) so perhaps this served as a timely opportunity to do so.
Feeling horrible, I did a little emotional rant about this incident on Facebook. It was funny when this mum said that if it had happened to us, we would probably still be left in school by our mums and have to deal with it. I couldn’t help but agree. Have we turned into such sensitive and new age mums that can’t bear to let our kids deal with disappointments that we try to mollycoddle?
Another mum shared, the kids can and will manage if their parents can’t be there for some reason. It’s a good way to toughen them up and also a good learning that we can’t always be there. Perhaps it’s time for our kids to start learning how to cope with disappointments while it is still manageable.
Through this sharing, I’ve also realised that I forgot to participate in Liam’s school Chinese New Year ‘Yuan Siao’ celebrations earlier this year. When I turned up to pick him up after the event ended, it didn’t seem to affect him. He was just happy to see me and get my full attention while sharing with me what he did in school for the day. Maybe I’m the one who needs to learn to let go and quit sheltering too much.
There will be always be other issues that will surface as my boys grow up. Bullying, peer pressure, comparison, disappointments to name a few. And one of the best things I can do is to help them build their social and problem-solving skills and grow up as responsible individuals. I wouldn’t want my kids growing up avoiding challenges instead of facing them. Or begin to doubt themselves just because their mum is the fixer. I now understand why the husband sometimes stop me from going to Liam’s aid whenever he gets frustrated with his lego not fitting properly. I need to learn to trust Liam more too, and eventually Ollie too.
Anyway, happy celebrating Father’s Day this weekend. We don’t have anything special planned yet save for simple dinner with another family. And Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads & godpapas out there!