Daddy’s Day

Once in a while, you come across something that brings tears to your eyes.  Something that reminds you of the vulnerability of the human soul; and at the same time, gives you hope that no matter what we might be going through, we are truly blessed with an indomitable will.  Something that reminds you that there is nothing that we can’t do as long as we allow ourselves to.

This poem did exactly that for me, I hope you enjoy it too.

Her hair was up in a ponytail
Her favorite dress tied with a bow
Today was Daddy’s Day at school
And she couldn’t wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her,
That she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand,
If she went to school alone.
But she was not afraid;
She knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
Of why he wasn’t there today.
But still her mother worried,
For her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again,
She tried to keep her daughter home.
But the little girl went to school,
Eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees,
A dad who never calls.
There were daddies along the wall in back,
For everyone to meet
Children squirming impatently,
Anxious in their seats.
One by one the teacher called,
Each student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
As seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name,
Every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
For a man who wasn’t there.
“Where’s her daddy at?”
She heard a boy call out.
“She probably doesn’t have one”
Another student dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back,
She heard a daddy say,
“Looks like another deadbeat dad,
Too busy to waste his day.”
The words did not offened her,
As she smiled up at her mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
Who told her to go on.
And with hands behind her back,
Slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
Came words incredibly unique.
“My daddy couldn’t be here,
Because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
Since this is such a special day.
And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my daddy,
And how much he loves me so.
He loved to tell me stories
He taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
And taught me to fly a kite.
We used to share fudge sundaes,
and ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him,
I’m not standing here alone.
Cause my daddy’s always with me
Even though we are apart.
I know because he told me,
He’ll forever be in my heart.”
With that, her little hand reached up,
and lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
Beneath her favorite dress.
And from somewhere in the crowd of dads,
Her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
Who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love
Of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
Doing what was right.
And when she dropped her hand back down,
Staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
But its message clear and loud.
“I love my daddy very much,
He’s my shining star.
And if he could he’d be here,
But heaven’s just too far.
You see he was a fireman
And died just this past year.
When airplanes hit the towers
And taught Americans to fear.
But sometimes when I close my eyes,
It’s like he never went away.”
And then she closes her eyes,
And saw him there that day.
And to her mother’s amazement,
She witnessed with surprise.
A room full of daddies and children,
All starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they say before them,
Who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
They saw him at her side.
“I know you’re with me Daddy.”
To the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers,
Of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it,
For each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
Was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.
And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,
By the love of her shining bright star.
And given the gift of believing,
That heaven is never too far

– From the poem Daddy’s Day, by Cheryl Costello-Forshey

For My Daughter, My Pride and Joy!

GRACE, Happy Birthday.

grace

Oh, how the years fly.

It seems like yesterday when I first held your tiny hands in mine.

I was totally enraptured by you and my life found a new purpose.

Ten years now since you gave me a title and a new name, MOM.

You are a blessing and a constant reminder of God’s all encompassing GRACE.

 

You have taught me patience and self control.

I can now boast of being an efficient manager (with time and money).

I have learned that it’s not always about me.  In fact, it has never been about me.

In many ways, I was forced to give up many selfish tendencies, not that I am complaining.

I am a better person because of you.

grace1

May God grant us a long time together so that I may watch you grow to be the beautiful, intelligent and God-fearing woman I know you will be.

I hope to become your friend through the different seasons (in triumph and in failure, in joy and in sadness) that you will no doubt encounter in life.

I will not always agree with your decisions, but I promise that I will respect and support you in any way I can.

And I hope you know that you can count on me no matter what.  After all, I am your greatest fan.

I love and cherish you today and always!

grace2

Love,

Mom.

Crossroads: Children, Work and Financial Freedom

fam image “For me, nothing has ever taken precedence over being a mother and having a family and a home.” – Jessica Lange

Before I got married, I had this dream of the ‘picture perfect’ home.  I would have it all –   a husband who adored me, beautiful and bright children, a paid up house and a career that I loved.  It is Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel who said, “A family can develop only with a loving woman as its center”, and I was determined to be that loving woman.  In retrospect, I must have imagined myself to be ‘superwoman’.

You make plans and life has its own way.  On the positive side, I did get a loving husband and two beautiful and wonderfully gifted children (for whom I do thank God daily) but I am still waiting on the career.  That ‘paid up house’; well, still in the pipeline though it seems more and more like a dream with every passing day.  As good as having my own house or a meaningful career would be, these are not my greatest concerns nowadays.  I am facing a different kind of challenge and it all boils down to good/responsible parenting, or at least what I perceive it to be.

It is something that every working mother faces from time to time.  Do you continue working outside the home or do you stay at home and look after your children?  As a mother, it’s always difficult being away from your young ones for so long, not to mention the guilt that comes with the decision to work.  Sometimes, it feels like a no-win kind of situation especially where there are financial considerations.  Do you choose putting a meal on the table or being there when your child arrives home in the evening from school?

My personal situation is made worse by the hours I have to keep.  I have to be out of the house very early in the morning in order to beat the perennial traffic jams and have to spend more than three hours in the evening going back.  In fact, I spend a little over nine hours in my house during normal working days.  What this actually means is that I spend a maximum of one hour daily with my daughters hardly enough for daily updates let alone EVERYTHING else!

In the words of C.S. Lewis, “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career”.  I am sure many women (including countless career women), would love to take on the role of a homemaker.  It is the most unappreciated career and yet the most fulfilling.  For me, being a ‘stay-at-home’ mom would be the perfect solution – not just for my children but also for my health (not the greatest these days, no surprise there!) – except for one little problem, how do I replace the income that I would definitely be losing should I choose this route?  It is a problem that has been foremost on my thoughts since the beginning of the year but which, unfortunately, I have not been able to find a solution to.

Abdul Kalam, an Indian scientist, administrator and the 11th President of India (2002 to 2007) once said, “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.”  Frankly, I believe that there is a relationship between the declining moral fabric of the society and ‘parental absenteeism’.  It is what happens when instead of children learning values from their parents they are taught by TV sitcoms and serial dramas with absolutely no morals.  Needless to say, these are real problems which cannot just be wished away.  I may not be able to do much but I have personally given myself till the end of the year to find a solution.  After all is said and done, my children MUST come first.
I draw strength from the fact that I am not alone in my struggles and neither is my story unique.  Millions of women have traveled down this road before, many of them with great success.

What is your experience? Please share and let’s learn from one another.