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Children never too old to need parental love

Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 00:00 -- BY CAROLE KIAMAH

There were many times when my boys were younger that I felt that I was not making any significant contribution to society. I would watch other people wake up and go to the office and wonder if I had made a mistake. At the back of my mind I wrestled with the reality that even though I had chosen to dedicate my time to be the primary care giver in my children’s developmental years, it had a cost both in terms of finances and time. I often asked myself if I had made the right choice putting my life on hold so to speak, without any assurances of the outcome. As the years have passed, I realise that I did make the right choice and that most of my concerns were actually driven by fear as opposed to fact. I have watched my children grow confident and realize that the sacrifice was minimal and in view of the results, I would make the same choice all over again.

With time as the children went to school for longer periods, I had the opportunity to re-brand. I picked up from where I left off and realised that opportunities were still available for me to contribute to the wider society and yet be available for my family. Being older, I have more clarity about the direction I want my life to take and about my life’s purpose. There is less pressure to go with the flow and more emphasis to enter into what I believe is my purpose for being here. As a result of spending a lot of time with my own children, authoring a book and intensive study on the role of parenting in child development, doors have opened up for me to share about my own experiences and the importance of being a “present parent”. I could never give up those initial years for anything.

As I write this I am faced with the reality that our time here is very short. My own mother is sick and one of the leading women in this nation has just passed away. I remember listening in on an interview where this particular lady was being questioned. She was asked what some of her life’s regrets were; among them she listed the fact that she did not spend as much time with her children as she would have desired to. I was dumbfounded here was one of the women I most admired. She had guts, passion and intellect. She had set to make significant difference and she had done it, being recognised both locally and internationally. Yet among the things she would have done differently given the chance was to spend more time with her children.

I guess at the end of the rainbow we are all faced with the startling reality that what mattered most was not the pot of gold, but the relationships that kept us company on the way there. Chief of which are those relationships within our inner circle; our spouses, children and significant others. With all the opportunities that have come up as a result of my book “Carole’s Diary” I sometimes find myself overwhelmed, agreeing to be everywhere and losing the very thing that gave me opportunity in the first place.

This came to a head last month, I was away for a week and when I came back I had all this stuff on my plate that needed to get done. Being an over achiever I had once more bitten off more than I could chew. I was short with the boys and generally difficult to be around. One day, Tj came over to where I was sitting trying to finish off an assignment. “Mom, are you still a stay home mom?” He asked. That stopped me in my tracks. I knew what he was asking indirectly.

What he wanted to know is whether in the scheme of all these important things that kept coming up, he and Toriah were still a priority. I realized that my title may have changed from stay home mom to consultant, but my priorities needed to stay the same. “No baby, I am no longer a full time stay home mom. I have other jobs outside the house that I need to do now, but I am still your full time mom.” I hugged him then. He had made it so clear for me. Life has different seasons that request different adjustments, but one thing stayed constant; a child is never too old to need the love, attention and total commitment of his or her parent. All other things can wait.