As a working parent, I sometimes get caught up with the daily grind and forget to stop to look at what am I working for. This week, Zoey reached out to me a couple of times to spend more time with her and in particular, she used these few sentences: “Mama, put down your phone.”, “Mama, play with me.” and “Mama, read to me.”. While I generally stop what I am doing and entertain her, there were a couple of times where I had to tell her “Sorry, Mama needs to work.” and asked her to continue playing or reading on her own.
One of the most shared news recently has been about the tragic loss of a 4 year old girl in Taiwan after she was randomly decapitated in front of her mother on the street. Watching the video where the mother, Claire Wang spoke to the media bravely, asking them not to turn this into a political push regarding the death penalty and reading what she wrote in dedication to her lost child nicknamed “Little Lightbulb” made me automatically reach for Zoey and hug her a little tighter. It also set me thinking.
Taiwan is a country very much similar to Singapore in terms of safety. I am happy to walk around at night when we are there and feel no fear in being out in the unfamiliar streets. To have this happen in a place where I consider to be a safe space to go to the park with my child is scary. If this could happen in Taiwan, it could happen in Singapore. After all, there are mentally unstable people everywhere.
Reading what Claire Wang wrote also reminded me how lucky I am to be able to spend more quality time with Zoey now. Since Irene left for the US 3 weeks ago, Zoey and I have had more alone time together. It has made me further appreciate how much she has grown as an individual. She is now able to articulate her thoughts, express her feelings and make decisions on her own. However, I am guilty of not fully embracing the time and opportunities I have to cherish her, love her and appreciate the wonder of my little girl.
With that in mind, I have decided to be stricter with my time at home. There will always be work to be done, but my baby’s childhood will slip away if I don’t quickly grab hold of it. So I am going to fill my time with more chances to play, read and spend time with Zoey. Much like this morning when we went scooting downstairs and she took time between scoots to run with new found friends, throw leaves into the air and stop to admire this beautiful world we live in.
It is too easy to get comfortable and think that we have all the time in the world. Maybe we don’t and we could wake up tomorrow to find that it is the last day we will have with our children and loved ones. So I urge my friends who have children to do what Claire Wang suggested. Hug them tightly and tell them “I love you”. Put down your phones and take your kids out for a walk.
Do it so there will be no regrets.