How pushy are you as a parent? Do you wish for your children to get good grades? Are they involved in after school activities, which you take a keen interest in? What future do you dare to dream for your child?
I am sure if we are honest many parents are highly ambitious. However there are times in life when something stops us and brings us back to reality, to what really matters. This week was one such week in Ireland.
Today in Ireland there are a large number of people attending their fourth funeral in two days. Less than a week ago five girlfriends aged 19 and 20 went ice skating. They said goodbye to their families, walked out the door, and never came home. Four were killed instantly when the car they were travelling in crashed into a van. The fifth young girl in the car remains in a serious condition.
As a mother to children who are old enough to leave my side, hearing about this accident made me feel sick. It could have been my child. I could have opened the door to a police man who would change my world forever. As I write my eldest daughter is in Australia, travelling to Sydney with friends. I’m sure she is having a wonderful time, but every day a part of me worries, and every night before I go to sleep I send a little message to her. I do so not by viber or text message, but the old fashioned way, by wishing, “I hope you have a good day sweetheart, please stay safe”.I whisper, in the hope she hears me.
When she returns she will be finishing her final year in college. She will have choices to make. Her choices not mine. The same is true with my daughter who will be finishing school in 2016. She sometimes frets about her future and about doing well in exams. When I comment that it will all work out in the end, she accuses me of being a lax parent, and thinks I should take a bit more interest in how she is doing and be more ambitious for her.
What she doesn’t realise is that I do indeed take great interest in her. When she wakes in the morning I look to see if she appears tired. I wonder did she sleep okay? As she returns from school I listen, ask questions and wonder occasionally at all she may not be telling me. As she frets over an assignment I recognise in her a willingness to get things right, and her determination to get a good grade. As we sit together over a meal or watching television I look at her and marvel at how she is growing up. I see her for a moment as others do and I am proud of the person she is becomming. I smile inwardly remembering the small girl she used to be, the one I still see in her sometimes.
My daughter may chastise me for not being ambitious enough for my children, or for not pushing them in life. Maybe in many ways I am too laid back. However I think it is also true, that she and I have different check lists.
As I think of the final funeral taking place today I remind myself that there is nothing else that matters to me, but for my forever little ones, to stay safe, and be happy. That is my goal today and it will be unchanged twenty years hence. I may be lax in many ways, but on that I am determined.
On a final note my thoughts are very much with the family and friends of the four young girls who were killed, and also with the two young men in the other vehicle and young Dayna who is seriously injured.
Codladh Sámh Charmaine, Niamh, Gemma and Aisling.