Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The missing parent

YK was more than a little disappointed with his father. As if not bad enough that his dad forgot his birthday, he conveniently forgot to send the promised monthly allowance despite many reminders. I'm not surprised of course.

The father has been missing in action for several years until he decided to surface in their lives again early this year. This time, he contacted his sons directly because he felt I was such a pain to deal with. I have no objections since he's their dad afterall but in my heart, I have my reservations.

Now that the kids are in their teens, they're in a better position to communicate with their dad. Naturally when he found out that YK has a marine aquarium, he started dispensing all kinds of well-meaning advice. He's an expert in this area afterall. Like YK, he kept marine fishes since his early teens.

When YK began this hobby 1.5 years ago, I didn't want him to consult his dad. I had my reasons. I knew nothing about marine fishes but I was willing to support him in every way I can. Due to our inexperience, we made some wrong decisions in the set-up, like we should have used thicker glass for the tank.

Fearing that our safety is compromised, we're now looking into replacing the tank. It's a huge exercise of course, and an expensive lesson. Luckily, his dad had offered to fund his new tank.

As it turns out, the father failed to live up to his promises again. Seeing my son so disheartened, I offered to make up for the shortfall after he sells the corals, fishes and equipment from decommissioning his old tank.

One thing I have learned over the years is never lie to children (no matter how young) because they cling on to every word you say. If you promise to bring them to the playground after lunch, you do it no matter how tired you are because they believe in you.

And you can forget your wife's birthday, but NEVER EVER forget your child's birthday because they came into this world because of you. Is it so difficult to remember your children's birthday? If you want the kids to love and respect you, you will have to lead by example.

I often feel sad that my kids grow up without the influence of a father yet I console myself that it is better than living with an irresponsible one.

Recently I expressed gratitude to best friend's husband because he spent an afternoon discussing shrimp rearing with SK. I was bowled over by my son's in-depth knowledge.

Unlike his older brother who has met many fellow hobbists in the reefing club, SK is all alone in his hobby. I cannot add any value other than listen to him describe enthusiastically about his 'babies', naturally I was happy he found someone to share his interest with.

For all the parents out there, give your kids more attention and support. You are all they have for now.

20 comments:

petunialee said...

When my daughter was 2, I told her that I would bring her to McDonald's next Sunday, not today.

"When is Sunday?" she asked.

"It's in 7 days" I said.

Right on Sunday morning she asked, "Is it 7 days yet?". I had forgotten my promise until she said "Are we going to McDonald's today?"

Open Kitchen Concept said...

You are a good mother Ting.

I have a story to share about promises. I used to like Yakult's advertisement on TV and would ask my mum to buy me later. Then after a short (my mum said very short) while.. I'd ask her "Is it later now?"

JY said...

You're a good parent Blur and I think your kids realize that, kids know that more than they let on. It's disappointing that their dad has to be that way, it then obviously you knew that early on and your sons will know it too, now thy they're becomig adults.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I hv been following ur blog for quiet some time.
You're really a wonderful mother!!
Malar

Blur Ting said...

Petunia - Yes, they NEVER forget our promises no matter how insignificant they may seem to us.

Blur Ting said...

OKC - Haha! Yours is a classic example!

Blur Ting said...

JY - It's good that he learns through the hard way. I told YK not to count on the funds coming in but if they do, treat it as a bonus.

Blur Ting said...

Hi Malar, thanks for reading my blog. I think you would do the same too, if you were in my shoes.

auntielucia said...

Blur, kids believe everything their parents say, that's why it's so impt for adults to be attentive and truthful when dealing with them.

When I was very young n was given a tricylce, I asked my mum if I could ride the tricycle downstairs (we were living in a 2-storey house back then).

As my mother was busy with my sister (a baby), and because she knew there was a safety gate at the top of the stairs she said "yes", to stop me from bothering her with more questions.

Unknown to her, someone else in the family had unlatched the safety gate. So I happily "cycled" down the stairs!

The crash, screams and tears tt followed remain one of my earliest memories.

My mother never 4got that lesson either: never answer a child's question carelessly!

Blur Ting said...

Auntie Lucia - Oh dear!! What a painful experience!

Nick Phillips said...

Sometimes it is not so bad growing up without a dad when you have a mom that more than makes up for the loss :D

I grew up without a dad and my mom more than made up for his loss.

The World According To Me said...

I'm sorry to hear he forgot his sons birthday.
You're a great parent though, and your sons are very lucky to have such a thoughtful, caring, kind and intelligent mum.

k@Ye_ said...

Totally agree with u! N i also tried to keep my promises to Claire even though she is still too young to know...

I was so disappointed with my Father when he promised to bring me to Cameron Highlands' Strawberry Park for my PSLE....

Blur Ting said...

Nick - I think single mums tend to try harder to give their kids a more pleasant childhood.

Blur Ting said...

World - thanks for the compliment. I try but I have many faults too.

Blur Ting said...

Kaye - Oh dear. As you can see, one can remember for life...

Amel said...

It's true about making promises to kids. When I was about 13 years old (if I remember correctly), I promised my bro about taking him to see a movie, but then my friends decided to go there, so I went to watch it with them instead. At that time he was still too young to go to the movies himself and I found him crying. My Mom told me that I shouldn't have promised to go there with him if I couldn't keep it. I'll NEVER forget what my Mom told me 'coz I don't want to break my brother's heart - or anybody's for that matter.

Vivien Ho said...

Ting, you are doing a great job as a Mummy!
A bit of a heartpain to read about this though. Hope YK will be strong! and knows Mummy loves him.

I will always remember my swimming coach who promised to buy me chocolates cos I finished a lap but he never brought me those chocolates. To this day, I will remember that whatever I promise Jesse, Chara, Julien to do or buy, I must do it. Otherwise, better to keep mouth shut..!!
On Monday, I promised them that we will go and look for the Cars and Charlie & Lola magazine... we did and Jesse was so happy (the twins took the mag but I guess they're a bit young to understand.) and he turned and told me "Mummy, I am so happy. Thank you, Mummy." He spent the whole afternoon reading it and playing with the cards...

Blur Ting said...

Amel - See, we all have learned from our own experience since young.

Blur Ting said...

Hi Viv! YK has learned that he cannot place his hopes on his father. That will make him appreciate me more. :-)

You and hubby make great parents too! And they all love you so!! So nice, isn't it?