Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello goodbye - New Year greetings!

Another New Year's eve, another time for reflection.

2010 was an eventful year for us and although I say this every year, time really flew by like a speeding bullet this time. Even my kids agree that 2010 was a blur.

I suspect it was this (and maybe the fact that I turned 40 in 2010) that caused me to have a mini mid-life crisis earlier this year. Suddenly, I was confronted with the fact that I had a 13-year-old who was living a busy secondary school life independently and with relish. I couldn't remember when Andre last hankered to go to the playground or when we last ordered a kid's meal. In fact, Lesley-Anne now qualifies as an adult for most entry tickets. The truth hit me like a ton of bricks - my babies are growing up and it was not something I was ready to face.

It was an emotion that had no rational basis. Most people who look back with regret are those who didn't spend enough time with their kids and wished they could turn back the clock. I, on the other hand, had enjoyed my kids to the fullest. I was home for the bulk of their lives and I was there to share in every milestone, every scraped knee, every celebration.

So what brought on this strange deluge of emotion? I think ironically, it's because I've enjoyed my time with my kids too much, so much so that I want to cling to it to make it last forever. It's akin to having a melting ice-cream cone. You try to enjoy it while it lasts but you can do nothing to prolong the pleasure. Soon it will be gone and there will just be the memory of the enjoyment.

The difference here is that you can't buy extra time with your kids, the way you can buy another ice-cream cone. It was a battle against time and as each month flew by, I could almost feel a sense of panic. From talking to other mums, I found that this was a common feeling among mothers especially when their youngest child grows up. I felt a pang when I realised that soon, we wouldn't pay child air fares for Andre or visit the children's department at stores. At times, I felt like I was giving myself an ulcer just willing the time to halt.

In one of my broody moments, I hugged Andre and told him, "Don't grow up so quickly, ok?" He looked at me anxiously and replied, "But I can't help it!' I know it's crazy to experience the empty nest syndrome when the kids haven't left yet, blame it on my obsessive over-thinking.

I have since calmed down, thanks to a supportive hubby, caring friends and possibly the daily dose of Vitamin B.

If a human life span was divided into seasons with each season spanning two decades, I would be entering Autumn. I now realise that in my constant looking back and yearning for Summer, I might just miss the beauty of the golden foliage and falling leaves. Winter will be on me before I know it. Will I then spend Winter wishing it was Autumn? Wouldn't that be a joke!

I'm writing this on New Year's eve and not New Year's Day because I think we're allowed a little reminiscing and sentimentality on the last day of the year. But once the fresh year begins, we should focus on looking forward and not looking back. If we're intent on driving in reverse, we'll miss all the scenery ahead (plus never get anywhere).

My New Year's wish for all of you is to savour these precious times with your loved ones with purpose. Life is too short to be lived on auto-pilot. May you be blessed with many, many delectable moments with your family, and have the presence of mind to enjoy every one of them.

Happy New Year!


ada said...

Ahh, deep New Year's Eve reflections! It's such a wonderful thing and a real blessing - for you & your 2 well-adjusted, sensible, responsible kids - that you've been there for them through those formative years... It's really time for you to enjoy the rewards of time well-spent!

I do hope to be like you when I grow up.. or at least like Calvin & Hobbes, with all their great perspectives on life!

Enjoy every bit of the new season ...afterall, if it's true - "No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace, As I have seen in one autumnal face." (John Donne, not me).. you're all set for a beautiful year! Blessed & happy 2011!

(Btw, is Vitamin B *really* what people make it out to be?)

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Mon!

I suppose the good news about autumn is that after winter, spring comes again...everything goes in a cyclical fashion. So in my mind...if autumn comes for me, I will look forward to the spring and summer with my grandkids again! LOL.. Well, you have more to look forward to!


monlim said...

Ada: You always make me laugh, with your cheerful, light-hearted attitude plus you always manage to find such apt quotes! Blessings to you and your family too and I'm sure you'll be (probably already are) a much better mum that I ever was. More level-headed and less neurotic!

PS Vit B seems to take the edge off the stress for me, maybe placebo effect?? No idea!

QX: Grandkids, gosh, that's a long time away (I hope!) but you're right, it's something to look forward to. Happy 2011 to you!

PL said...

I'm a silent reader of your blog but I'm inspired to write a comment because of your honesty. As usual, your insight amazes me. I have 2 sons 9&11 and I feel the same way! Thanx for sharing your thots and God Bless You. Please keep writing!

monlim said...

PL: Thanks for your encouragement! Always happy to hear from my readers. A very blessed 2011 to you and your family!

The Beauties In Our Lives said...

Happy New Year to you, and thanks - once again - for such an insightful post. I am approaching the big 4 soon, and am starting to be teary-eyed over a potentially empty nest, although my kids are still relatively young at 8.5 and 4! So, like you aptly wrote, let's not be stuck in a season wishing for the previous season. Instead, let's live life in its present moment to its fullest! Am looking to more posts from you in the new year :)

monlim said...

TBIOL: It's always nice to know we're not alone! You've still got quite a few years of cute before you, enjoy them as much as you can :) Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Hi Monica,

Happy New Year!I am also a silent reader,followed your blog for the whole of 2010. I look forward to reading more of your articles :-) They are very enlightening. Thank you.


monlim said...

L: Thanks for reading and for making yourself known! Happy New Year to you too :)

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to you and your family!!! I will continue to be your silent reader for 2011 so don't even think of making your blog private! I really love your posts. Thanks for your generousity to share. They are so honest, informative and open.

There are some blogs which labelled the people they know as A or B. Makes the reader confused and wonder who is who or which who is doing what? These blogs should be made private instead of giving us the readers a headache. Another option is we can choose not to read their blogs again. Life is full of choices...and I choose your blog to read!

~ my

monlim said...

MY: Thanks for being so supportive during the year, it's been a pleasure getting to know you. No plans to make my blog private but if I ever do, you'll definitely be on the list of invitees :) Happy New Year to you and your family too!

Jo said...

Hi Hi Mon!

Blessed New Year to you and your family ! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and lives in the past year - I can't believe I have been following your blog for almost 2 years. My girls are still young compared to your kids but my elder daughter is turning 9 (and already going into tween-dom - sigh) this year, and I myself am starting to experience aches n pains all over ! (body breaking down slowly - is that more white hair I see - sigh) I used to think that knee pain was for senior citizens !

This year I start working part-time and am looking forward to enjoying my girls !


monlim said...

Jo: Great to know you'll be getting more time with your kids, I'm sure that's one decision you won't regret. Tell me about the aches and pains plus the failing eye-sight! We've really gotta enjoy life before all our body parts malfunction :P

Thanks for being such a loyal reader!

Hopeful said...

Hi Monica,

Looking at your quote "I felt a pang when I realised that soon, we wouldn't pay child air fares for Andre or visit the children's department at stores," I remembered feeling that way recently when a friend invited my kids to an indoor playground birthday. I had to turn down the invitation knowing that my older girl had exceeded the age limit. It then occurred to me that I would probably never set foot inside that playground again. *sniff* This was a good post.


monlim said...

Hopeful: We were at Ikea yesterday and I realised Andre's kid's card would expire end of this year so I empathise completely.

Meanwhile, hope you're enjoying your kids to the fullest!

Anonymous said...

Oh, this blog post, was I looking into my own crystal ball? Blessed 2011, Mon.


monlim said...

SC: Haha, I don't know! Well, at least you have time to mentally prepare yourself :D Blessed 2011 to you too!

Anonymous said...

Dear Monica,
I have been a silent reader of your Blog for some time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so honestly all the time. Please keep writing. Reading your Blog is like a daily antidote to this hectic life! Blessed 2011 and beyond, Kris.

monlim said...

Kris: Aww... you made my day! God bless.

elan said...

Dear Mon,

Happy 2011 to you. i'm a little slow nowadays having just moved house and still unpacking.
Yes, you certainly were blessed to be able to work from home and see your kids growing up.
Once again, thank you for this post as you have voiced exactly what I feel. Its a little worse for me since my younger one just started Sec 1. I can't believe it, he looks and acts so little (still loves Ty Beanie babies, and the smallest size of the official school uniform doesn't fit him so we had to go buy from a primary school shop - lucky its a plain white shirt).
I too want to hold on to every little moment with my teens (yikes! they're both teens now!!!!)


monlim said...

Elan: Welcome back!! Moving house? Err... didn't you move last year? Or did I get my dates confused?

I will feel exactly what you're feeling in just a couple of years! And I'm sure I'll be saying that Andre still acts so little. Maybe we'll just meet up and moan to each other then :)

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