A mother’s tears

My beloved returned from collecting the kids from school yesterday — an act of mercy due to a sweltering heatwave — in floods of tears. On the way, she had decided to treat them to ice cream. Of course, on a day as hot as this, she wasn’t alone in that mission, and found that the local corner shop had completely sold out of everything.

Returning to the car empty-handed, she was just about to set off to try another store when our eldest decided to lambast her, decrying her as the worst mum in the world, and an utter failure, who couldn’t even do something as simple as buy ice cream. Naturally, my beloved was heartbroken.

It’s hard watching these once-defenceless little souls you have invested over a decade of your life to — showering them with all the love and compassion you have within you — transform into open enemies right before your eyes.

All of a sudden, they have come to see us as ogres responsible for one thing only: providing food. Aside from this, they believe they are totally independent and no longer in need of us. We are just an obstacle for them, standing in their way, to be perpetually reminded of our shortcomings.

Despite teaching them to read and paying for tuition through the years, we’re ignoramuses who know nothing at all. We’re too old to understand what it’s like to be a teenager. We have no idea what they’re going through. Our role now is to absorb the daily blows as they shout and scream at us for our immense failures — aka asking them to wash their hands before eating, or to stop fighting all the time.

Still, we must journey on, for this is what we signed up for. We always knew they would transform from adorable infants into these semi-independent beings demanding all the stuff all their friends have. Like every parent of teenagers, we must now get used to that perpetual refrain, “I wish I had nice parents like my friends.”

So a mother’s tears are inevitable. She may yearn now to head to the hills to enjoy life again, and escape the constant demands for little reward, but in her heart she knows these times will pass. Perhaps in another decade, when this pair has ventured out into the world, reconciled, she will even miss them, wishing them home.

Until then, we must just embrace the heartbreak and tears as some kind of purification for our souls. The best tariqa and all that.

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