One Proud Mom Although… (emended) My Autobiography 6

Originally Published: April 17, 2014

It’s of utmost pleasure on my part to reveal here my son placed 2nd overall in the recent Board Exam for Electronics and Communications Engineers. People have congratulated me; they said I must have done something right in bringing him up singlehandedly. That made me feel good.

His success in the national exam was actually the outcome of several months of his commitment to diligent studying. In addition, he has always felt passionate about his field. His father was into the technical profession, too, by the way. Like father, like son.

Before starting his college studies I had expressed my wish that he take up Music instead. My son is also a talented pianist and guitarist. I made sure he had the best training at playing those musical instruments in his childhood and teenage years. I’ve been a firm believer that Science and Maths are the tools for living while Music and the rest of the Arts are the reasons for living.

Nonetheless, he was adamant in his selection to become a full-fledged engineer someday. I backed down.

Six years later, here we are. I am beaming with pride. I’m happy with the results, of course. My son seems to have made the correct choice.

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But I am here not just to tell you how proud I am of my son. It isn’t my style sugarcoating my reality. A spirit in pain is also hiding behind my smiles in our photos. For he and I are currently undergoing a difficult period in our lives. I am still hoping it’s an evanescent phase for both of us.

There’s a downside to having a child who’s endowed with way academic strength than his progenitor. Suddenly, nothing I say seems to matter anymore. Suddenly, there’s nothing left for me to do but take a backseat. It’s as if any contribution or suggestion on my part is necessary no more. So I just keep reminding myself oh yes he already turned 22 this April.

This made me ruminate on the following parental guidelines I’ve subscribed to for so long: Do your best for your child. Show him unconditional love. Make sure that he knows how much he matters to you, etc. I did my damnedest to follow them all. Now I realized all those loads of advice…are total crap. Nothing in life is guaranteed. No relationship maxim – even between mother and child – from whatever sphere on this planet, is a sure thing.

You might think I must have done something not right that brought about this predicament. I do own up to not being the perfect parent and to having committed some mistakes along the way. But God knows how hard I tried. How hard I really tried. And only God knows how much I have loved my only child. The love which made me swear to all the angels in heaven I’d be a much better parent at raising my child than my own parents combined in rearing me. I had thought I was succeeding through all the years my son was growing up. He appeared to be turning out finer and finer each passing day – at the same time that I’d been clinging to the notion the bond cementing us would be stronger than steel.

Nowadays, I keep on questioning my performance as a mother and asking myself what went wrong. Or I might’ve deserved this because I hadn’t exactly been an ideal daughter to my parents either.

Still, how poignant it is to discern I have failed in everything. Motherhood, I had promised myself, would be my redemption: The one thing, I thought, I could do well in life. How could I have been so mistaken.

After the oathtaking ceremony, my family and I went to a restaurant for a quiet celebration. During dinner, while my son was occupied shooting the breeze with his cousins, my mother and my siblings took time to ponder and talk about the situation.

“It’s hard having an only child, I guess.” I conveyed in somberness to them.

My sister responded, “No. You just had it hard being the only parent.”

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