My mind flashed back to eight years back. I sat half exhausted in the hospital’s labour room watching a proud Daddy Joe who was walking on cloud nine followed the nurse to clean up our first newborn, Cheeky Koko. “He has very long fingers like you and has lips as big as yours!” the elated father declared. It dawned on me that motherhood was for real for me. I mean, a baby boy just came out of me, what big feat. I didn’t know then, the journey of raising up a boy would be quite different than what I was used to being a girl, and it could be entirely quite a quest to get it right in being a mother to a boy.
One night, my newborn baby Cheeky Koko just seemed particularly restless and cried non-stop after hours of nursing. I was feeling weary staying up all night to care for my baby and just then, I found my baby flashing his first big smile at me and I stopped right there, startled.
God must have had a way of giving us hope through our baby and that very same spark of life has over the last eight years evolved into this twinkling, funny, lively sparks that now run through Cheeky Koko. Oh, he has turned our world upside down, literally. Ain’t talking about the love he has brought into our life, although that came concurrently as certain as the sun would rise over the horizon every morning.
It started with a plastic child chair. It never saw its purpose of existence being turned upside down from the moment it set foot in our home. Then there was the Little Tikes toy truck that got tumped over. You would turn it right for him but Cheeky Koko would only play on it for one minute before he turned it over to set its roof on the floor while the wheels faced the sky. The same fate befell our side table, his feeding chair and an Ikea child table. Everything turned turtle everyday to the point that we suspected gravity lost its control in our home.
Going to a mall became just as challenging. One day, this toddler boy had gotten himself walked from one end of Mid Valley to the other, within the short few seconds we bent down to tend to his baby sister in the stroller. Another time when I was shopping for clothes, he locked himself in the fitting room. The brave shop assistant went to his rescue by climbing over with a ladder to unlock the roofless room. The two-years-old walked out with a cheeky grin. I received dozens of books on bringing up and disciplining boys as Christmas gifts those early years. Now I know why.
It wasn’t just a one-way street in this special mother and son bond though. When he was three, he declared innocently that, “mama I love you so much until the sun rises, the sky becomes a ray of rainbow lights, and even Ultraman and all the aliens would come out to fight, and all the rocket ships went kaboom”. Sweet, with a tinge of imagination only boys have. LOL.
He’s always sunny side up which is extremely useful when life becomes a little ho-hum. Recently I came home from work and found his hair smelled like fish although he had taken his shower. He smiled and said, “Hey mama, says who, actually I smell like a tulip!” (I never met a boy who smelled like flowers, especially not from this home.)
This is the child who has kept me humbled in my parenting perspectives. Even though I can never be the perfect mom, and have probably made a few mistakes in parenting my boy along the way, I know in my motherly instinct, of the man he will grow up to be one day – One who is God-loving, courageous, grateful, kind-hearted, and joyful. Urm, I would even double the joyful part.
Back to that night when my first baby flashed me the big smile. I smiled back and whispered to Cheeky Koko that, “hey son, I’m not sure if I can ever be the coolest mom but I trust that it will all work out well. I just want you to grow up to be a contented, happy little guy, becoming who God has made you to be. Remember you’ll will always have a special place in my heart no matter what,” and truly it does, even if it is between a mother and a son.