Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers & Daughters: Appreciating the Other Side

Kris's depiction of the two of us

This conversation took place a few weeks ago, while we were sitting in church waiting for Mass to begin.

Kris, in a serious whisper: "It's hard work being a mum, isn't it?"

My heart just filled up at this unexpected insight from my four-year-old. "Yes, it is." I whispered back to her, smiling mistily. We sat in a companionable silence for some time, till she turned to me and whispered just as seriously as before, "It's hard work being a daughter too."

Being in church, I had to subdue the laugh that bubbled up to a quiet chuckle. But as I sat there and thought about what she'd said, I had to agree, it's hard to be a daughter. Especially now that she has a basic level of understanding and thinks she knows all there is to know, it must be very hard to come up against the boundaries we set for her. Very hard to accept and act on our advice, when she thinks she knows best.

With all my attention focused on trying to be a good mum, and doing the things good mums should do, I don't think I'd ever really thought about our relationship from her perspective before. Smart remarks like that make me realise that my baby is a baby no longer, but very much her own person, with her own views and opinions that hubby & I need to take into account as we move ahead on this parenting journey. So I have to thank my little Kris for helping me to become more empathetic and open-minded as a mother.

On Friday, I received a wonderful bag of "surprises" that she'd made at school. It included a card, the drawing above of the two of us (did you see my green nail polish?!), a cloth bag with a similar picture painted on it, and a Mother's Day survey! It had questions on what I do, my likes and strengths, how we spend our time and so on. Her answers are both heartwarming and hilarious. They were written down by one of her teachers, and here I have to say, kudos to those ladies for getting 20 four-year-olds to answer a bunch of questions!

Highlights from the survey:

What does your Mum cook the best?
Answer: Mango curry and rice.
(Only, it's not Mum who used to make this, it's Dad! But Mum has learned how :D)

Why do you love your Mum?
Answer: Because she makes lovely cookies.
(So the way to her heart is also through her stomach!)

I love that the school has taken the effort of carrying out this little survey, as it has given us a beautiful memento of Kris at age four, how she sees me and what she values about us. It's rewarding to know that in addition to the "hard work", she sees us as having a loving and fun-filled relationship .... with food and baking being a big part of it, of course :)       

VVanilla cupcakes with textured fondant toppers and handmade ruffled flowers