Giving thanks for my kids

Giving thanks for my kids

A friend threw a lovely Thanksgiving dinner for us recently because she figured it would be harder to get the usual gang together over Christmas.

In truth, the eight of us just wanted a good excuse to eat, drink and make merry as a group.

Thanksgiving Day may not be a tradition here, but halfway through the roast turkey, Parma ham melon and copious amounts of alcohol, someone had a brainwave: Since this is supposed to be a Thanksgiving feast, why don't we go round the table and name one thing each of us is thankful for?

What sounded like a sappy idea at first soon proved to be an epiphany for me.

Nearly everyone had an answer right away, and many of the answers had something to do with our kids. "I thank God for Jean every day," one friend said simply of her only child.

"Yes, and I am thankful that Jean is so sensible," her husband added.

The rest of us nodded quickly. Sweet, kind and well-mannered, their 12-year-old can always be counted on to babysit the younger kids in the group and they adore her too.

Another friend recounted how his car broke down recently on the expressway during morning rush hour, amid a heavy downpour, as he was driving his daughter to an important appointment.

Just before panic set in, he saw a cab behind with its green sign on. An empty taxi on a rainy day during peak-hour traffic - what were the chances of that? It was a godsend, we all agreed.

He jumped into the cab with his daughter, called for a tow truck, then returned to his stalled car in the cab after dropping her off.

It wasn't just the taxi that he was thankful for, though. One scene from the frantic morning that he will forever cherish is that of his nine-year-old stoically holding an umbrella over him as he tried in vain to figure out what had gone wrong beneath the bonnet.

She had ignored his instructions to stay in the car because it was more important to ensure that Daddy didn't get drenched.

"I really heart melt," he said in gleeful Singlish.

Then, looking at his twin boys zipping about the house happily, he added: "I'm just thankful that they are well and healthy." His wife had a traumatic delivery due to birth complications and the two boys, now seven, nearly didn't make it.

It struck me then that once you have kids, your state of mind and well-being will always be synced to theirs. You are truly well and happy only when they are. And when they are, nothing else really matters.

So if any event of significance sends ripples through your life, it will first be cast through the prism of your role as a parent. Lost your job? Will you be able to put your kids through school? Sick or hurt? Can you still be an effective mum or dad?

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