Dear Future Self,
at the moment, I'm not sure what its like to be a parent. Or what is it like to be a mother. Today I had a conversation with two mentors, who are also fathers of kids about my age. One thing he said struck a chord in my heart. One of them said "I have a stent in my heart, I don't know how long more I will live, that is why I spend so much time with my family creating memories, fostering bonds that can never be replaced by anything else." The other one said "I always make an effort to hold my daughter's hand, even up till today when she is 21, I do that and she allows me to because of the bond that we have." When I heard that, I felt sad. I decided to write to you, you of the future. Today I am writing to the future you, if you ever become a parent, this is so you'll understand and remember how it feels like to be here today. Maybe you can also tell me whether its possible for a mother to ever hate her child? Or is it possible for a mother to hate her daughter? A mother and daughter's relationship is always very tricky and difficult, why is that so? Is there something I don't understand?
Perhaps it was something I did, is it possible for parents to bear resentment towards their children? I mean, parents are also human beings with real feelings, I guess it is possible. It is also possible for children to grow up bearing resentment towards their parents. Isn't it? Nobody is perfect, but then what happens when theres so much resentment and there is zero communication channel? We break apart. Please never let that happen to your own family in future.
But then I ask, what is love then? Does love change anything? Or is love just something to be said and act upon only in front of an audience? Can you say you love someone that you barely even know? Do you know you child's favourite colour? Do you know what your child likes to do? Do you know what fears your child faces? Do you know who you child's friends are? Do you know your child's hopes and dreams? Does her friends know her better than you do? Do you even know anything? Or do you only criticise everything and anything about her..."what it this? is this even art?" Dear future self, please never ever say that to your kids. It scars them and they will remember it for life.
Dear Future self, Please also keep your promises...because even if you don't remember them, your child does. If she has a music performance and you promised to come to watch and she got tickets for you, please turn up. She will be looking into the sea of faces trying to find you. And when she doesn't find what she's looking for, she will just keep smiling knowing that you are somewhere out there in the crowd. And after her solo performance, when she realises that you didn't show up because you forgot....if that ever happens to you and you forgot your child's performance in school...please, please don't blame her. Please don't say "why didn't you remind me? I am a working adult and I am very very busy", please don't ever say that because it will break her heart. And if she cries, please don't raise your voice at her and tell her to grow up. Listen, and understand that she is hurt for a reason. Please don't shout and say "why are you crying over such a small thing? You have to understand that your mother and I are very busy." Please don't raise your voice at her. She is only 13 and at that age she has already learnt a very important lesson: her parents are too busy for her and its her fault for not understanding. She will...up to today....continue to blame herself.
Dear future self, don't ever do that. 12 years later at 25, your child will still remember the hurt and the words said. You child will continue to ask you to watch her performance or her fencing tournaments or her art exhibitions to celebrate her success together, but if you keep failing to turn up or to even show interest, your child will cease to ask you anymore. Dear Future self. Please don't let that happen. Your child wants to see that you're proud of her, that she has done something right. If you're not there, it doesn't mean so much to her anymore. You mean so much to your child, please don't let that fade.
If your child has hurt you in certain ways, please also understand that they're still learning, they're still young. Tell them, scold them, hit them even if they have done something wrong, but please don't ever ignore them without telling them what they have done wrong. When they ask "mommy, what did i do? why are you ignoring me?" please tell them whats wrong. Don't treat them like they don't exist. Don't ignore them thinking it will help them reflect on their behaviour, because NO, your child will only learn to question and blame everything on herself. Don't do that because the only lesson she will learn is that she deserves it...even when she doesn't. She is probably thinking "is it because I didn't say hello? is it because i didn't close the door? Is it because I didn't buy newspaper? is it because I didn't do this?" Suddenly everything becomes her fault when you don't tell her what she did wrong. The world becomes a heavier place. If you're angry because of the way she spoke to you, tell her. Don't ignore her and let the day pass without talking to her, she will be clueless and she will blame everything on herself without knowing why. It is not healthy, and as an adult, she will continue to do so. Even if you're having a terrible day and you don't feel like talking, assure her with a smile or a hug or saying I love you before you sleep. Don't let a day go by without talking to your child. Please don't do that, because at 25, she will continue to blame herself for anything and everything. Dear future self, please don't do that, please don't ever use the silent treatment unless you tell your child what she did wrong. Please don't let your child grow up doubting herself.
Dear future self, please also learn how to talk to your child. It takes two hands to clap. Don't let this same situation today happen to you in the future. Don't wait till the day your child turns 25 and she doesn't know what to say to you anymore because whenever she wants to talk, you are on your iPad. Whenever she wants to tell you something, she fears discouragement and criticism from you, so she starts to build walls. Please don't let that happen. At 25, your child will probably want to learn and tell you so many things that she's experiencing and learning at this prime age, but she doesn't know how to because it will most probably lead to a quarrel or you shouting at her. A relationship is built on mutual respect and understanding. Please understand that your child is probably very different from you so please don't put her into a box that is moulded after you. She will never fit, and the more you try to fit her...the more it will hurt her. Dear future self, please remember this.
Dear future self, if you're a mother now....and if your kids are giving you problems and issues...please remember this night when you wrote this entry in tears... and know that your child loves you very much. Whatever happens, she will always always love you so please don't let her go to sleep even for one night asking herself whether her mother loves her. Please don't let her go about her day thinking that she was a mistake and that she should have never been born. Please don't let her for a second doubt the meaning of Love and Family.
Because at the age of 25, these are probably what she will cling on to the most, these are probably the two things that she will need the most to face the world...and if they are not there and theres no support..she will write the same things to her future self and then go to sleep, probably crying because she doesn't know what to do with the resentment and guilt stored up in her. She will probably hate and blame herself for feeling this way because it is probably her fault anyway. She will probably end up blaming herself for everything, maybe she ddidnt do this, maybe she didn't do that...
maybe this ...maybe that.... maybe...
maybe she will go to sleep thinking "maybe my mom just hates me"