Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our Job

Last night, Basti and I were playing in our room before we went to bed and one second he was so happy, the next he was wailing like crazy. His fingers got pinned when he pushed close a drawer. My heart raced as I ran, no, leapt to where he was, pulled open the drawer to release his fingers and carried him and kissed him and tried to console him and just did not know what to do. I screamed for an icepack and while I was waiting for it to be brought upstairs to us so I can apply it on his fingers, so many thoughts ran across my mind -- are his fingers alright? Are they complete? I checked. Yes they are all intact. But is blood flowing inside? How will I know? Shit. Can he move his fingers? He has not stopped crying. Oh God. I know it hurts like hell. I once had all four fingers pinned by a sliding door of a van. It was so traumatic for me that I got shingles a few weeks after because of the stress it caused me.

Finally, his dad came rushing to us with the icepack. Basti was a bit distracted by it and stopped crying as we placed it on his fingers. But I guess it was still painful and so he started crying again... I thought I was going to cry too. I think I did. After several agonizing minutes, I was able to calm him down a bit and he fell asleep- probably from exhaustion from too much crying and the shock.

Basti's fingers are completely ok. He was able to hold his bottle properly when he was dozing off to sleep. When he fell asleep, I tried to re-enact how he pinned his fingers and did it several times with probably more force, just to check the level of pain he probably felt so I can assess how he was feeling. After a few times, I felt a bit better. I don't know if it was because I realized it did not hurt too much (but then again I was 29years old and Basti's fingers are just more than a year old!), but maybe also because I felt like I punished myself already by experiencing the same pain more times over.

But of course that was not enough punishment for me! My thoughts raced again -- what if what happened was much worse?? What if his fingers got cut? What if they weren't cut but they got numb forever? Will he still be able to play ball? He loved shooting hoops! He is so good at it. Will he be able to drive a car? He loves playing with the steering wheel…

A few more minutes passed, and soon I was able to calm down more. And the sensible me started whispering to myself, just relax. It’s nothing. He'll be fine and will forget about it tomorrow. Besides, it’s the first time, and there will be more similar terrifying experiences to come...maybe some even much worse. Its part of growing up and raising a child…

Sometimes, I still get overwhelmed when I think about our job as parents, my job as a mom.

At work, I run the operations of a company composed of about 50people. My responsibility includes ensuring that the company is earning more than enough, so that we can pay our dues, and pay the salaries of the people in our team, so they in turn can pay their dues. It’s quite a handful to manage, it’s a very big responsibility such that if I don't do my job well, a lot of people will be very much affected in a bad way.

But when something like tonight's incident happens to me, I am reminded of what a bigger responsibility it is to be a parent. Your child has only you to depend on, for his life, for his future… At work, if I don't do well, they can just replace me... My baby boy, he did not choose me. He cannot replace me even if he wanted to (I’m sure it will occur to him to wish for that at one point in his life). He's stuck with me. And he's counting on me, us, his parents. So it’s up to us to be just the best we can possibly be for him.

When he grows up to be a fine young man someday, I’m sure I will not get a loyalty award for being a good parent and putting up with him for so many years. I’m sure there will be no fat bonus waiting for me when he graduates from college or when he gets married. But one thing I’m definitely sure of – it will still be the most rewarding job I will ever have in my life.

- Sara (August 31, 2010)