Monday, 30 November 2015

Mother Forgets

Last Wednesday was PSLE Results Release Day.

Ever since I experienced The Day first-hand as a parent three years ago, I always feel very emotional when I see children going up the stage for different reasons. You can be sure my eyes are never dry on this day.

I remember feeling 'meh' when I read on my Facebook that some P6 students were asking if anyone was going to receive the results with their parents.

I thought,"It's just some exam results. What's the big deal? You are not Primary One kid, you know?"

However, when it came my turn, it seemed all-important that I had to go with Coco.

I even taunted William when he expressed disinterest in following us,"We may go jump off a building together after getting the results!"

There are things that you won't understand or won't do until you are a parent.

So, when the students were led to their classrooms to receive their results, I asked a colleague whose daughter went to a top girls' school,"Did you cry when you got your daughter's results?"

She looked a little surprised,"No. I didn't go to school with her."

I was even more surprised,"Why didn't you? Surely your husband was there with her?"

She replied,"He wasn't, either!" after which she reflected a little and said,"I never saw myself as a parent. I always see myself as a teacher. My students are here, so I have to be here. It never occurred to me that I could apply for leave or time-off to go get the results with my daughter."

I don't know if I had crossed the line, but the colleague felt quite guilty over the matter, and did some reflection over her relationship with her only daughter who has gone overseas for further studies that day. The next day, she came to me and told me she apologised to her daughter for not accompanying her to receive her PSLE results and the times when her daughter had experienced loneliness in her life because she was not there with her.

Another colleague tried to assuage the mother-colleague's guilt by assuring her that not all parents accompany their children to receive their results, citing herself as an example, but I felt it was a weak attempt as they would belong to two different generations of daughters.

This little talk between my colleague and me makes me think about how teachers often neglect their children because of the demands of their jobs.

I used to be a guilty mother when Coco was younger. I forgot about the need to get Teachers' Day presents for her teacher when she was in Nursery and a few deadlines from her schools. I could never be a parent volunteer much as she would like me to. Now I try to be more mother-conscious about the girls' stuff nowadays but it's not always possible to remember or do what stay-home mothers could about their children's matters.

Recently, I have applied for leave for next year to focus more on Baby and Coco. I have quoted my health as the main reason. The boss is very displeased about it. In fact, it is not approved yet. I hope I get it though. I am not sure what the next step is if she does not approve it.

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