My eyes are actually aching from exhaustion, but I couldn’t go to sleep without piecing together some coherent thought on this heartbreaking article I just read.
Mothers of dying children… There’s a large part of me now that flinches when I know there’s news about death, dying and pain involving babies. I want to run far, faaar away because the mere whiff of what that pain could be like if it were MY child already taps into some black, dark, suffocating place that scares the bejeezus out of me. I don’t want to remember that babies can and do die – some slowly and painfully. And personally knowing parents who are suffocating now… who actually live with a dying child, who know that his or her life will be cut very short, fills me – a mother of a living, healthy baby – with much gratitude and crazy, crazy guilt.
It was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on Saturday. And as if life didn’t present enough cruel ironies, I had spent much of Sunday and yesterday lining up a stack of enrichment classes and play dates and schools and childcare options for Arddun, instead of living in Today. Schools. She’s 4 months old, but in typical Singaporean/Canberran fashion, I was filling in a small stack of application forms for pre-school and enrichment classes that would take her up to college. Such an optimist. I have to remind myself that I do not believe in karma. That God is not vengeful, and that even if I seem to be building up barns for tomorrow ala Luke 12:18, I pray that He’ll forgive my arrogance and give me time with Arddun anyway. Years. Decades. Please.
I spend so much time trying to master parenting – but Emily Rapp hit home when she told all of us that parenting is about loving my child today. ElilyMommy gave a great quote on Facebook the other week: When in doubt, love. I am filled with so much doubt constantly –
Is she sleeping enough? Is she napping too little?
Is her brain given every opportunity to develop properly?
Is she drinking good, fatty milk? Is her poo the right colour?
When should I start baby sign-language? Am I reading enough books to her…
If you were to infer my parenting philosophy through my example, it seems to say “When in doubt, google”.
I think I need to remember that Arddun is not, ultimately, mine. That she is, like I am, on borrowed time. That the big stuff isn’t always as big as I think it should be. That dwelling on the past can be as unhealthy as living too much in the future. When Arddun and I have Today.
19 October 2011 at 9:32 am
Hope you are enjoying today. Lovely post.
22 October 2011 at 12:30 am
yeah, such a difficult topic – kids in pain – if pain is the reality that life can hurt, then removing and avoiding unnecessary pain is a reality that love can help. We all enjoy remembering good times and we all plan for good – it’s great stuff and it helps. I guess we can also get obsessed and live in the past or panic about the future and forget to live for today. Sometimes in the depths of sadness there’s a realisation that part of dealing with pain is embracing it as part of life and not being fear stricken by it – you really know you’re living when you feel deep pain, especially for others.
It’s like the worst part of some diseases is the fear of the disease – the fear is often more debilitating than the reality and sometimes the fear takes away the good times as well.
Life happens for all of us –including hurt and illness. We all deal with pain but our perspective shapes how much it gets to us. I heard a perspective of life as “a sexually transmitted disease that is always terminal” but I prefer “if in doubt love”.