Friday, June 20, 2008

The story of choice

I apply the montessori philosophy of the power of choice to raising Nino, albeit in small ways. He's encouraged to choose his clothes, the books we read, or the crafts we do, for example. Usually its a simple choice - he preferrs some over the others. Sometimes, he likes to bring two choices into one decision. White tee and red night shorts.

I've been trying to achieve something like that in my life as well. I'm a working parent with long hours (eight to nine hours) and being prone to guilt as with most of my gender, I've been facing a very difficult situation: to work or to quit. I need the job to make ends meet, but I hate spending so much time away from Nino - who is well cared for in my absence by his caregiver and grand parents. He's not particularly scarred with my absence - my mother has worked all her life and I've turned out pretty secure. It's me. I don't want to be away for that long. Nino's Dad doesn't agree - he's looking at the fianances - and we've just had an awful fight during the drive to work. I've been thinking working part time will be like bringing two choices into one decision. Unfortunately for me, neither the husband nor the boss seem to like the idea. As I sobbed this morning, in a fleeting moment of self pity, it occured to me, that I've not really ever 'enjoyed' the power of choice when it comes to Nino. When I got pregnant, I did not want to be a mother. Now that I want to be one - a hands-on one, desperately, I can't afford to.

I wonder what my mother would say if she read this - she'd remind me of all the things I've to be grateful for - but you know, sometimes, choice becomes the opportunity cost of gratitude. I'm grateful, but am I happy? Or is happiness too an urban legend, something that we've conveniently labelled as a 'state of mind'. sure. whatever situation I'm in, it depends on me to be happy. something like that. so not only does the onus of happiness lie on you, the guilt of not finding it lies on you too. I used to think happiness is simple - in the old days it was a good warm meal and a good book. Does it mean the same things today? no. I'm a different person with different needs. It's in watching Nino laugh/play/create. And it's in watching him without guilt or without being grateful.

edited to add-
One of my favourite quotes ever is one by Albus Dumbledore, that fantastic, thought-provoking teacher and champion of the brave, who also happens to be gay, and by the way, fictional. Not that it matters when it comes to this kind of wisdom:
'It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.'

Just stumbled upon it again, after making the decision to stick to the job instead of opting out. Does it make it any easier? No.


Tharini said...

I have decided to start at the beginning and get to know you Nino's Mum. How do you feel now, with some time in the passing?

Nino's Mum said...

Tharini - It's a place and decision I try not to visit conciously, often. I just 'live' it, hoping, as they say, that routine will make some of the pain duller.
And yet, I'm still here - and I still do feel the same pain.