The first few months after leaving her was “easy peasy (lemon squeezy)!!!” It was an absolute breezy.

By the third month, she started feeling the “third-month-itch”. She was starting to be moody when we talked. At times, she avoided talking to me altogether. My daughter becamen quite irritable when we talked. Knowing how she handles missing people and knowing she missed me, I make extra effort to constantly talk to her. But even that did little help.

One conversation we had where she sounded so irritated went like…
ME: Why do you talk to me like that?
SHE: Cause I don’t have anything to tell you. I don’t know what to tell you.
ME: Anything…Everything…like we always talked
(Her reply temporarily froze me even though I knew where she was coming from.)
SHE: Lain man to ma kay naa man ka diri.
{It’s different Ma, you were here then}

The verbalization of her emotion saddened me. I tried to keep my tears as we were on video-call. I leaked into tears after the camera was shut off.

I tried to assure her. But I know it wasn’t helping her much. I was prompted to see her, book a flight and talk to her upfront. Not many people agreed to my decision, seeing it as an unneccessary expense. I was even told she is smart enough to understand. I know she’s smart enough to understand but she is also young and emotions are sometimes overwhelming for her age.

I talked to her about it when I visited her for a brief holiday. I attempted to help the little lady understand her emotions on our being apart.

ME: It’s all right if you feel disappointed and sad about not having me around.

(She gazed sadly and didn’t say anything)

I know you are giving your best to understand but sometimes how we feel gets stronger. SOMETIMES OUR MINDS UNDERSTAND BUT OUR HEARTS DON’T. There is nothing wrong with that. If your feelings are strong and it’s hard to understand. You can always tell me.

(She smiled lightly)

(I smiled back with a teasing smile and blurted in a sing-song tone) I’m only call away…

SHE: (hugged me) I miss you Ma.

That convo ended on a light note…Thank the good heavens!!!

I believe it is important for us mothers (parents) to help our children understand their feelings and emotions. It is important for us to acknowledge and validate the existence of these feelings and emotions and tell them it is all right to have those feelings and emotions. It is OK to be sad (angry, happy, excited, upset, hungry…) It is not to make them entitled brats but for them to own their feelings and emotions. Then, maybe, it will be great if we can help them understand that the feelingsa and emotions are normal. However it is what they do to express these feelings and emotions that may turn out as acceptable or not acceptable.

Teaching Moment:

Not that we deliberately use every moment with our kids as teaching moments. But often, the time we spend with them making them feel they are valued, understood and loved gives them life lessons better than our words or the gesture itself. It is the feeling they had with the moment.