It is true what they say. Nothing can compensate for failure in the home. But it is like the peace pipe – everyone is smoking it. But are people inhaling?
It was an uneventful night, a school night and I came home from work all fired up after a rather exhilarating and interesting meeting. I took out my daughter’s reminder book (which I have not looked at for 2 days) and started asking her whether she has done this or that, to which she replied, yes, yes and yes. I decided to look for the sake of looking and found out that she has not done one assignment. I called her and told her that I would help her with it. She looked at me, all eight years old of her, mocking me with eyes that said, “Why?”
Why the sudden interest? Where have you been all this time?
Where have I been all this time?
In self-preservation, my mind countered: It is not your fault that women are now required to help their husbands. It is not your fault that the quest for a better life and a better future has, with it, some consequences. You are, after all, doing it for her.
It is not your fault that you have gotten to enjoy making a living; that the quest for you and your independence, proving that you can do it too despite the bonds of marriage and motherhood, has held its own charm.
Does the self end when the children come?
I shake my head. It is not fair.
It is not fair mostly to the children, who are left in the dust, not knowing when it was and why it was that they had had no parents because of money and the quest for a better life. It is not fair to them who are given entry into this world and are relegated to mere spectators, not partners really, but mere witnesses to the dazzling unexplainable spectacle that are their absentee parents.
I began to wonder. The women on the other side of the fence, those who gave up everything for their children, who shed their selves and their dreams and live their lives vicariously through their husbands, and yes, their children – did they choose the right path – do they feel the sting of regret?
Where should mothers go? What should mothers do?
I embrace my daughter and soothe her as only my touch can do. I assure her that I am there, fully attentive this time, learning with her. She smiled and started to lean her head on me. How wonderfully forgiving children are. I started to think – maybe this is my cue, maybe I can again fill up the shoes that I hung on the sill in my quest for me.
But how to find the balance…?
Maybe there are no real decisions to be made tonight, no answers to seek, no real path. But as she sleeps within my arms, I only know joy.