Being a parent is a job that requires many skills. If you want to make yourself feel good as a parent, all you have to do is google parenthood. That the job also involves frustration, heart-ache and rage, is also a given. It is sometimes a thankless and bitter job but there are times when you know, deep in your heart, that nothing in the world can compare to that special moment with your child/-ren.
Sometimes when they crawl into our bed and wake us up at 3:00 am, I get angry, I just want to scream at them to get back to bed and leave me to my sleep. But something stops the scream before it forms, it makes me wake up and patiently coax them back to their beds and pat them back to dreamland. Then I drag my sorry carcass back to my bed and lay awake till 5:30 am and the alarm then goes off at 6:00 am, of course. When I then wake up tired and grumpy with dark-circles under my eyes, I wonder why I ever thought having children was a good idea. I just want to go back to bed but I still have to get them both ready for school, pack their lunches, give them breakfast and make sure that they have brushed their teeth properly.
Then when they are ready and shiny and say ‘Bye, Mama’, then, my heart stops. Holding that little hand a tiny moment longer than completely necessary. Sleep is forgotten, all the frustration drains away and there I am standing at the door wishing them both a good day at school and emotions that are completely unrelated roil in me. I am proud that my son tied his own shoe-laces, I am proud my daughter brushed her hair and I am sad that they can do this by themselves now and I am happy that I was able to get them off to the bus on time, I am eager to pick them up from the bus again that evening when they will get down with tired but glowing faces.
What sort of a creature am I?
I am a Unicorn. In the unicorn story series ‘My Secret Unicorn‘, Twilight, the unicorn tells Lauren that unicorns have special powers, they can calm and heal creatures. Every parent is a unicorn. With a touch and a smile, we can make our children feel not just better but happy.
They sometimes expect me to do magic and I am surprised how many times I do manage to do that. When my son is scared about something, perhaps he saw something about a war in the news or that elephants are being hunted down, he comes to me. He needs the comfort and familiarity that a mother provides and he knows that the world is not all bad. My daughter wakes up in the night because it is too hot to sleep, she calls to me to make it better. She does not know that it was the heat that woke her up but I do. I cannot perhaps deflect the heat like Superman can do, but I can open a window, turn on the fan and make it comfortable for her immediately. She drifts off to sleep with a smile and in spite of being a grumpy old troll, I feel content.
The flip-side of this coin could be, to abuse that power. If I do not accept that I have made mistakes and learn from those mistakes quickly, I could ruin my children’s lives. I have to be honest with myself and them. I should try and impart what I can but not believe that I am omnipotent or always right – that way lies the dark-side. I could easily become Darth Vader! Yes, with great power comes great responsibility! And there is no point in telling your child 25 years down the lane , „I am your mother/father“, you have missed your chance by then!
Is it too little a dream? Do you think we should aim to change the world and not think small? But this small person right here is whom we are trying to change the world for! We should start with them first. So what if I cannot be the mover-and-shaker of the world, I can make a kick ass milkshake and my son loves it! At the end of the day, even if I have not been able to solve all the problems at work, I can still give my loved ones a cuddle and make them feel better. Holding that small hand, providing that reassurance that she is going to be alright, that is the reward and my superpower. I will probably have to deal with tantrums, accusations, heart-breaks, grade-cards, insecurity, disappointment and frustration in the future – but all that can be, does not make the moment I have now, with my little monsters, any less valuable.
Cherish your unicorness, parents, for you have been granted great power!
ps: My husband is a great parent too, though I have hardly mentioned him and made it look like I am doing it all by myself. His special power is problem-solving. He is Gadget-man to my Unicorn-mum.