“Raising children is the easiest thing in the world.”
– No one, EVER.
My girls are my world but they are also the reason why an entire bottle of wine is better than just a glass. They are the reason for yet another grey hair on my head and why my blood pressure is more active than the rest of my body. So as the three of us sit crossed- legged on my king sized bed before bedtime, I ask both girls to think of something they want to pray for and something they are grateful for.
“I want to ask God if he can make Daddy better. I also want to ask God if he can stop me being naughty all the time. I want to be good but my brain doesn’t want me to,” came the words from the 7 year old now beaming up at me. I can’t help but chuckle. Sofia will definitely be the one who puts me in a mental institution eventually. She can be the most stubborn, rebellious, mischievous, exasperatingly disobedient kid on the planet. In the same breath, she will kill you with her kindness, her bone- crushing hugs and her sweet, tender heart. Quite the combination.
Layla, on the other hand, asks for Daddy to go back to how he used to be. “You know what I mean, Mum.” Yeah, I know what you mean. Layla loves her Dad so much. It’s easy to forget she was only 5 years old when our lives changed forever. She is 9 now and is the moral compass of the family. As a baby, whenever Layla would start to cry, Paul would shoot out of bed and be straight in there, trying to soothe her back to sleep. So many times I would hear him get up for her. I would just lay there in bed, wishing that someday, he would be able to breastfeed her too and I could go back to sleep.
When Sofia came along, she was such a good baby. She lulled us both into a false sense of security. But, alas, she was born with hair like fire and an aptness for insubordination.
It is no wonder I had such a hard time deciding how to handle telling the girls the news about Paul’s accident. I spent most of my time in hospital and little time with them. Luckily, my sister was able to give them a ‘child-friendly’ version of events that consisted mostly of “Daddy’s in hospital trying to get better and Mummy has to look after him.”
Do I take the girls to hospital to see him? How will they react? What if this is the last memory they have of him? Will they be scared? There were so many factors to consider. How does one make the right choice? I asked the Social Worker for advice through bleary eyes and tear- stained cheeks. His response was a textbook drawl and the only useful piece of information I could use was, children are resilient. I would soon find out if taking them in was going to be a the right thing to do. I would not be able to sugarcoat it forever. Kids are resilient and so I need to give both girls the benefit of the doubt. We all have a fierce need to protect our kids with all we have but we also need to let them surprise us too.
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