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!
Performing for Ghosts - Hungry Ghost month came & went. I don't miss the ashes flying about or watching out where I walk in case I trip over some offering. But I do look forward...
7 months ago