(who had to vet this blog post before I published it hence being very true to her nature, because ah couldnt write any and everything for fear of judgement)
Last month my second gremlin came to me and told me that she was thinking of joining the March Past team for her school sports day. Naturally me being the cool mom that I am, told her that it was a great idea and if she felt she wanted to do it to go through. She had questions about it and I recounted as much as I could from my days when I was vice-captain of my house in school where sports day is SERIOUS BUSINESS and the related atmosphere paralyzed my alma mater for months. She appreciated it and felt more comfortable (ah think) however as soon as she was out of earshot I immediately called her father because ah was in d middle of convulsing under my #coolmom demeanour.
Her query, quite frankly, hit me for six because I would have NEVER pegged that child to actively participate in such an activity. Like her father I was confused yet extremely excited because chief among our concerns for her as a teen who started secondary school online Anno Covidi, was her ability to genuinely connect with other students at her school when they finally met in person. Now she interacts well with classmates when she wants to (if she has to) but she is not part of a clique or a crew and has found some measure of comfort in riding solo until she gets back home to link up with her primary school friends in the Roblox realm. (Plus she give me stories about classmates eh and some ah dem I really doh want her to mingle wid anyhow. Dey bad behaved and speedinggg).
I have never been a popular girl in school and certainly didn’t have the world of friends although I was just cool with everyone. I am part of the secondary school ecosystem though so I know there are things I didn’t want her to go through especially as the pandemic made it a million times harder. She stays in her lane though and it has been a learning process for me as her mother even while she navigates her own territory. I have had to teach myself to be gentler with her while she understands herself, to praise her uniqueness and to encourage all the ways she expresses herself. (Sis could stand to be a lil less sarcastic and deadpan though eh, is like both Daria and Wednesday living under my roof with Aubrey Plaza on speed dial).
Wrapped up in all this is the need to respect her privacy as well and take the stories as she gives them in doses. I don’t needle her with questions if I don’t need to because I know eventually she tells me what is on her mind even if it is at a time where I dog-tired and my bed calling (why these teens wanna have these random, profound, revelatory chats at late hours when mankind ready to go in dey bed is beyond me) but I do it nonetheless.
All this to say if you parent a child who under all the modern consciousness is labelled an introvert, know who your child is and don’t wish them to be anything you consider “easier” for you (or your ego). My gremlin challenges me to be a better mother as I parent her differently from her elder brother. One thing though is that even while you can predict their likes and reactions, there is always that one ball from out of left field that always keeps the thing interesting (not to mention her marching left-right-left while complaining about the hot sun, tirelessly learning dance formations and executing the routine so superbly that it went viral on social media in Trinidad and Tobago, made me so damn proud of her in a cool dance mom kinda way, vicious pride included).
…that many have referenced is actually happening to me now these days and I’m in the middle of trying to navigate it like the cool mom that I am…
My first gremlin is turning eighteen later this year and I feel like if that countdown is also ticking for me. I feel this sudden sense of urgency to make sure that I have done all I have needed to do to ensure that he is ready for this next stage in his life as he is narrowing down his chosen career path and confirming his own principles and beliefs of the world and the different systems that makes it run. These questions and more keep me up at night (irrationally):
Does he understand Trinbagonian bureaucracy?
If he decides to live abroad will he brush his teeth every night before he starts gaming?
Is he self-aware while using an ATM?
When will he learn how to cook an adequate curry?
Does he know that him being an empath would require special discernment especially with the girls?
Did he perfect his corned beef recipe?
Again, irrational but again, I feel like I’m in a race against time.
This past week he began going to the gym with his friends and knowing that I wouldn’t have much of an issue with it, required nothing more than a signature from me. He handled everything else, even the monthly fee. That episode hit me in the gut for some strange reason because what you mean you doh need nothing else from me? So what I really here for??? So I cyah help then? Ize dog liver?!?!?
Say it with me….irrational.
Don’t worry. I didn’t literally say these things eh. They’re still swimming in my brain though as I try to cope, cool mom here.
Anywhoooo so this new stage in my mothering career has left me very introspective as I look back at the little boy whose goal was (and still is) to make me smile no matter what the circumstance is. I’m growing to recognize that the same little boy whose life was just being obsessed with toy cars and making me watch the movie Cars until it was burnt into my retina and fused to my brain, is turning that obsession into a real life path and it’s just for me to keep engaging with what he places importance on even if it means listening to new banter about cars inclusive of vocabulary that makes my eyes glaze over.
I won’t lie though, I will cherish this little boy and the fact that it was he who largely made me who I am today:
and I look forward with nervous anticipation to cherish the man that this boy is becoming:
as well as my new journey of self-discovery in being his mother.
P.S. I wrote in further detail about my general launch into mothering teenagers here: Teenagerland! it is still a strange place to be.
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Happy New Year and Welcome 2023! Thank God I’m around to see you!
The year 2022 Anno Covidi started with with hope and expectation but I think that it was only in the second half that I began to feel less and less restricted and more and more free to be my ‘normal’ self. I felt like I could fully exhale and get back to the things I happily loved to do even while experiencing personal setbacks and resets. Such is life though, one day you’re blazing in glory, next day you’re crawling in ashes.
A couple of days ago when trying to encapsulate my year end review on social media, I realized that the majority of joyful moments came when I simply spent time with people. I don’t think I realized how much I missed my family and friends while on lockdown/quarantine/distancing etc. so therefore when the time came for actual, physical ‘link ups’, I was in total bliss. With this revelation at the forefront of my thought process, enter my 2023 Word of the Year:
Yes I am one of those persons. No new resolutions in sight but I try to centre my life and my year around one word. The more I sat with CONNECTION, the more it resonated. How do I vibrate higher, strengthen my relationship with myself, my family, friends and community? Everything is inextricably linked with space to improve and staying connected is the one thing I plan to be intentional with in order to close the gaps left in my life by the previous years.
So that’s it! May 2023 be the year that brings it full circle for me and for those I interact with and may we all find the joy in simple CONNECTION.
How about you? Do you have a Word of the Year? I’d like to hear it if you care to share, let’s meet in the comments!