A couple of weeks ago, I was so frustrated and disappointed with something that Jia did that my tone with her was firm but not very kind. I was not angry, I told her, but I was just at my wit’s end at that moment.
She was not able to go to school that day because we had no available car, no taxi would accept us, and Uber had a 2x plus surge (the last time I accepted a 2x plus surge to her school, the fare was Php500+!). Because I was also not in a very good mood, I told her to just stay home instead.
Because I made it clear with her that I was not angry and I think she also felt that, she was not “rebelling” against me. She was also not cowering. She just did the things I asked her to do (wash the dishes, make her onion poultice which meant slicing the onions, and serve kiwis to her siblings which meant peeling and slicing the kiwis) the normal Jia way — with determination and happiness. If I were not so clouded by my frustration, the two of us in the kitchen would have been a wonderful experience.
And then to make my mood worse, I discovered that the caramel I made for my banoffee pies melted and that made the pies collapse. Those were pies that I stayed up for to make until the wee hours of the morning. I was ready to cry. As I was panicking, Joya came to me and asked me to play with him, like I promised I would. I told him that Mommy was just facing so many problems that moment and that I was so sorry but I would not be able to play with him. He understood, kissed me, and went to his room to play by himself.
I called my husband to tell him about the pies and he assured me it was okay. He asked me how I was and I explained briefly the situation with Jia. He gave me some advice and reminded me to let Jia know that it was what she did that was not acceptable and not her. I knew that but I needed to hear the reminder. Still, after I put down the phone, I did not go to Jia as I was still just too emotional. Instead, I went on Facebook and checked my On This Day memories. My memory from last year was this.
I laughed and cringed at the thought of my beloved straws.
Scrolling down, I read this.
This was about the Sandy Hook shooting and it made me realize how incredibly blessed I am to have my kids with me. Those parents who lost their kids would probably give anything they have to have their children back.
Scrolling down some more, I saw this.
This was after my shockwave therapy. The period before that, when the doctors could not find out what was wrong with me even after so many tests, was the darkest of my life. The thought of dying did not bother me at all. The thought of leaving my kids was another story and that sent me bawling.
I realized then the pettiness of my issue with Jia. My behavior was in direct contrast to my mantra to always be life-giving. I called her and before I could even say anything, she apologized and hugged me. I apologized, too, and we talked about what happened.
I was ashamed at how I behaved but at the same time, was also proud of myself. Prior to discovering positive parenting, I might have screamed my head off. Instead, I was able to calmly process with Jia why her behavior was less than ideal.
I am proud at how my relationship with Jia has improved. We can actually have an argument or a differences of opinion without fighting and without her being afraid of me. She has confidence in my love for her and I am just so proud of that. I am confident that she knows that my love for her is greater than any frustration or disappointment or anger I might be feeling. For my part, I think I have made great strides in curbing my anger. As I told one of my workshop participants (and something I always tell myself), no naughtiness or bad behavior is worth a child’s loss of self-esteem
Parenting indeed shapes the parent, too. The lessons I learn along the way help me not just be a better parent but be a better person. 🙂