I rammed into the classroom where my daughter has holed up to study.
“Gosh, I feel mad. Augh, why must I feel so angry about it?”
Moms aren’t legitimately meant to be in classrooms, but I wanted to hang close to my baby. None of us leaves a classroom anyway, life being our schoolmaster.
Her school is nestled close to our amazing Heritage Botanical Gardens, so I had gone for an early jaunt. Barely five hundred steps on the pathway, with the pond coming into view, several prams pushed by live-in foreign maids crossed me. The children, either already tired or simply longing for meaningful connection, looked disinterested in all the life bursting around them. My heart ached a little. I greeted them all but there was nary a response from children or adults.
Further along, another child, this time a lil’ boy looking even unhappier came towards me. Again I greeted him. The maid who was pushing him mentioned he was earlier frightened by one of the Park’s vehicles. The poor chap was clearly not consoled, comforted, or educated about his experience. The pram had a bag full of potato chip canisters hanging from it. “Picnic with your friends?” I ventured. Who can blame her? Far from home, she needs her friends. And hopefully, they too are minding children who are able to play together.
Unhappy, unsettled, unruly children bother me. A great deal.
There is no doubt an element of my own story at play here, casting its long shadow over things.
We were poor and poorly supervised. So of course, I did feel lonely, perplexed, pined for my parents’ presence, especially my mother’s.
But my story is also vastly different and the shadow is a faint one in the end because I had a large cast of adults in my life. There were my older siblings, especially sisters no. Two and Three, who educated me on everything from the importance of footwear when I ran out of the flat to the definition of feminine elegance. I also had a surrogate family of sorts, in the church. There were other adults who were safe, nurturing, and wise in my life.
Not so today for most children, where the nuclear family, with two busy working and often tired parents, is the norm. Where there are…