I have a lot that I want to share but I did not make time for this. Every time, I made a mental note that I would jot down the little things that my children did but I didn’t. And I’m forgetful. When the night comes, I forgot what are the things that I want to write.
This time, I told myself I would. As it came as a little surprise that my 4 years old would say this to me. Even though I know deep in my heart, she would probably know but I never expect it to really come out from her mouth.
Let me rewind it to a few weeks ago. I started working till 10pm about a month ago. Things got busy at work. To be honest, I love my job and I’m a workaholic by nature. I know that many full time mothers will still go back on time for their children, so I have no excuse. But I am the kind of person who cannot let go of my work. I want to finish my day stuff as much as possible, provide speedy service for my clients on the expense of my family time and health. I fell sick and could not fully recover. Because of the OT and sickness, I didn’t spend time with my children. Deep down in my heart, I know I will regret few years down the road. But right now, I really want to do my job well and it’s also important to have this income as Asher is going to preschool soon. I cannot give up right now.
There was a Wednesday night 2 weeks ago which I knocked off at 9+pm with a colleague. It was considered early as I didn’t want to be working alone in the office, so I rushed home hoping to see my children. Both my children went to bed later that night. Asher quickly stood up when he heard me opened the door and said good night to me. Alyssa asked me “Mama, why are you home early tonight?”. I was surprised. To her, Mama is always working late.
Last week Wednesday, I made an effort to leave office at 945pm. I also rushed home. My children normally sleep later on Wednesday night. Asher also stood up and said good night to me. He was happy to see me and even gave me a hug. Alyssa wanted me to paste the stickers with her. I told her that I would do it on Friday with her as it was already late. So she asked,”Mama, are you coming home early on Friday?”. Friday was the polling day and it was a public holiday. However, Alyssa didn’t know. To her, Friday is a school day for her and working day for Mama.
In the eyes of my children, Mama is someone that they briefly see in the morning and someone they rarely get to see before they sleep. The only time I get to see them on weekdays are the time I said good morning or goodbye to Asher in the morning and the time I send Alyssa to school.
There were many times when I drop Alyssa off in school in the morning, I can see the sadness in her eyes and she doesn’t want to say goodbye to me. I can’t even spare a few minutes to walk her all the way in to give her a proper hug or kiss as I need to rush off to office. As I drive to work, I felt the guilt in me but I had to forget all these to fight the war in my office. Of cos, there’s no war, just tonnes of work that need to be done speedily.
I always tell myself not to have any regrets but I know that I will regret one day for having spend not enough time with my children and to miss their growing stage, the time when they look so cute and small.
Weekends are so important for me to spend time with them but weekends are also the only time I get to rest. Working 12 hours a day is no joke. I am already in mid 30s and I noticed that I am no longer energetic and strong as before. If I don’t recover my sleep on weekends, I will fall sick by mid week.
My children knew that the only personal time they have with me will be on Saturday night when I put them in bed. Alyssa will always ask me to sleep with her, holding her hand. Asher will climb out of his cot and share the bed with me. Then I will scold them for not sleeping and put them back in their own cots.
Last Saturday night, Alyssa said something that surprised me and touched me. That same afternoon, I was pasting stickers with her on the Hello Kitty book but we did not complete it.
Alyssa said,”Mama, can you come home early everyday? I have not finished pasting the stickers.”
I felt instant guilt for not seeing her every night, spending 10 mins reading or pasting stickers with her, kissing her good night or giving her a hug. But I also knew I cannot promise her something which I cannot deliver.
I told her,”Mama will try to come home early on some nights ok?”
Her reply:”Mama, I love you.”
My eyes welled up with tears at that time and also right now as I am writing this.
My 4 years old girl. Never underestimate what a child can feel or understand. She held my hand tightly after that and refused to let go until she fell asleep.
Then I know, how important I was to her. There were many times she doesn’t want me but Papa or Popo and she will tell me she only loves Popo.
I was watching “夫妻那些事” this afternoon. One of the ladies was telling her daughter that she will not abandon her. Her exact sentence was “妈妈怎么可能不要你？你是从妈妈身上掉下来的一块肉！”. Most mothers will not abandon their children.
I initially thought of writing this long post under a different title, instead of joy of a parent. It should be something like agony of a full time working mother. However, it is a joy knowing that my children love me as their mother and miss me.
I hope I will deliver my promise to Alyssa.