The Whole Spectrum of Fears

Friday, December 28, 2012

Me w/ Joaquin at 2 months
I'm at that point where I feel that there will be no statement more cliche than "You will never understand until you become a parent yourself." I've heard this said so many times -- to me & my siblings by my mom; to my friends by their own parents; to me by my friends who have raised their own children; and in movies & TV shows. I've always shrugged this off, with the thought that there must be some degree of exaggeration somewhere in there. I mean, how difficult can it be to be a mom when I've been a daughter? Surely it's very easy to understand what kids hate about their parents since I've been there myself. I've gone from over-achieving, approval-seeking little girl to rebellious, full of angst, the-world-hates-me-teenager to reformed, trying-her-hardest-to-be-responsible adult. So what else is hard to understand?

Then it happened. I became a mom.
I tell you --and this is stripped of all exaggeration -- from the moment I saw our Joaquin, a switch flipped, permanently it seems, that just turned my world thousands of degrees around. Suddenly, there was nothing more I wanted but to protect this baby from anything in the world that could hurt him; take in anything that can cause him pain physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally. Literally, I would take a bullet for him. It was only at that moment that I had a grasp of the gravity of how much love a mom can have for her child. Luckily, my husband had the same overwhelming sentiment as well.

So now Flynn & I have acquired a new hobby of talking about hypothetical scenarios about how Joaquin, and any siblings he may have in the future (operative word: may) would turn out. Sometimes we would joke about getting karma over my contraband teenage days, or on a more serious note, plan out how we'd like to discipline them or which life lessons and principles we would impart. And yet, at the back of my mind, I am scared as hell of how they will turn out despite all our game planning.

I have mundane concerns about Joaquin: what if he gets sick and has a hard time getting well? would I be able to bear seeing him in unnecessary pain? what if some stupid kid makes him cry, would I restrain myself from hanging that kid upside down? And then a few days ago, we had a chat with a close family friend of my mom's and she was ranting about her own kids; how she feels as if her eldest, currently in his adolescent years, has become unknown to her overnight. Naturally, this triggered all the worst anxieties in me. I look at Joaquin and I'm scared, bombarded with a million worries in a nano-second. What if we lack in teaching him the right values? What if the principles we instill in him are not enough to help him make the right decisions? I know it's part of life to make mistakes, and I have to let him make his own mistakes, but what if his wrong decisions hurt him? or lead him too far that any damage would be beyond repair and tremendously alter his life for the worse? or what if, in spite of all the good in him, bad people hurt him?  what if I become too protective and he hates me? what if I'm too lenient, he feels uncared for, and he still hates me? what if I won't be a good enough mom? And the list goes on forever. All that advise passed around about letting your children learn to get back up after a fall seem so silly. Why would I want to see him fall if I have it in my power to stop him?

How in the world do mom's deal with these doubts and apprehensions?

Yet despite all this internal monologuing, I realize I can only do so much as try my hardest and have faith. Believe that we try our very best to guide him in the best way we know how, and have faith that we were brought up with enough smarts so we can pass it onto him so he will learn to be wise in his ways. I know I won't be a perfect mom, but I can be sure as hell that I will love him in the most perfect way I know -- selflessly, unconditionally, endlessly.  For now, believing this and constantly reminding myself of this, calms me down. And knowing we are his first love is more than enough to savor.

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