Surrounded by towering pine trees, sounds of the subtle burbling river streaming over the rocks and pebbles passable in the different shades of green meadows lies a force most powerful yet genuine – Love.
I had the privilege to join my son’s school camp, a part of outside the school learning with a group of teachers and parent volunteers. We started off early in the morning, the children were all excited and ready for a joy-ride; an experience which will never cease to give them a kick-start in their life journey.
“Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first” – Unknown
I believe it’s easier to write a story that relates the camp activities and things not going the way they were supposed to, or to dramatize the chaos such as kids crying, teachers yelling and parents running like lost souls making sure they have everything packed up for their children than what I honestly saw and felt. I felt something that comes naturally as parents, the unconditional love that was radiating throughout the whole trip and I believe this is what matters most to our growing children.
As we embarked on our trip, there wasn’t much of a chaos as if everyone knows well of what was needed to be done, including the parent volunteers. Things flow rather easily and before me. Being new and too foreign for here, I was quietly observing but am on stand-by to offer my assistance. ‘Hangi’ was the main highlight for the camp which I look forward to, while parents started to load them in the truck, teachers, parents and chatters as we took off.
As a mother of two, I simply cannot deny the fact that chaos and mishaps will always be there, sometimes more or less to a certain degree. The difficulties and adversities that often brings confusion are always noticeable; they demand our attention. But the subtle; tenuous little things that are less obvious are those that we tend to overlook. They don’t surface, they require us to notice them, and to acknowledge them to ourselves and perhaps to the people around us.
What really caught my attention was the amount of devotion parents have for their children. I met a mother who is 7-month pregnant, and she was there the entire trip, hiking up the bush with the kids and helping with all the camp activities. What does this tell you? Yes, some took off work and stayed the night, some came during the day and back again early the next morning. There are some who came just to make sure their kids are all good. While being assigned to help in the kitchen with few other parents, I am deeply touched by their enthusiasm and the dedications scrutinizing into every detail; “What time shall we prepare the toasts and sausages? If we prepare them too early, it might be cold when they eat”, “Shall we arrange the food and drinks this way or maybe that way, so it’s easier for the kids to reach?”, and “Maybe we should prepare a little extra, just in case”. They are the amazing parents, having their little kitchen talk…deciding on what’s best for the kids, when to start cooking, making sure that the food will still be warm enough when the kids get back. Over at the campfire, parents talked about how to keep the fire flaming for the night, carrying heavy loads of logs and woods to set the fire, heating up the iron bars for the ‘hangi’, waking up at wee hours to prepare the following day activities. Everything that the parents deliberate about was all with the thoughts of what I’d describe as unconditional love. The thoughts that was running through these dedicated parent’s heads as they work their way discussing with each other and how they demonstrate their love through nurturing, giving affection, and encouragement to ensure their children take home a memorable experience. Tired, but they keep going, to a certain extent overwhelmed, but they didn’t quit. I could see and feel by the look of their faces, some worried but was determined to let it be.
Parenthood is a choice we made when we decide to start a family. As a mother, I have learnt to put my child’s happiness and well-being ahead of my own, to do the right thing even if I’m not sure what is the right thing. I believe there is no perfect way to be a good mother or father, each child is different in their own way, every situation is unique, every parent has their own challenges as we all have different skills and abilities, so the best way that matters most is the unconditional love that we can give to our children, isn’t it? I reckoned, parenting is the hardest job which is a never-ending journey of constant learning and growth. Most importantly, by simply being there to hear, to help, to support, to guide, to share and to lead them will give them the experience that will leave a profound impression to shape their life decades later.
To all the parents out there;
I know it’s hard sometimes, having a 24/7 job, no sick leave, no public holiday, and no labour day. The same shit but different day…. broth is over-flowing, baby crying, kids fighting, toys scattered everywhere, piles of laundry undone, what’s more and you started yelling, and the next thing you know, you are crying yourself to sleep feeling awful. It happens, just so you know you are not alone, we all go through that phase, it’s part of our life journey. So, embrace those hokey pokey moments while it lasts!
I salute you!
In the end, it’s all about you!