11 March 2016

The Day My Daughter Knew That Life Isn't Perfect

We all know that by now - life isn't perfect. It is easier for us adults to face the struggles and trials that come our everyday. We have already explored all the possible emotions that any human being possesses. Experience is the best teacher, they said. Truth, indeed. Sometimes, you wouldn't know how happy you can be with someone until you have lost him. You wouldn't know the importance of something until it was taken away from you. You wouldn't know if you can win or lose until you tried. Life is like that for us adults who have tried, made mistakes, regretted and learned.

What if, all of a sudden, in the midst of your daily mundane house manager activities, your 7-year-old child came to you with tears in her eyes? Mine did yesterday. I allowed her to surf YouTube. Her 4th examinations ended on Wednesday and I knew how bored she can be.

I asked her why. She said, in between sobs, "I feel sad." I probed. "Why does life have to be so sad?" My forehead wrinkled. She continued, "I don't want to lose you and Tatay." Without even thinking where she was coming from, I said, "but you will lose us soon. All of us will die eventually." She cried harder. How stupid can I get? I forgot I was talking to a first grader! I hugged her quickly and figured out it must be a video she watched on YouTube. She showed it to me, sat on my lap and clicked the replay button.

This time, I felt a lump in my throat. For us adults, the video may be passé. It was intentionally made to be sad. But come to think of it, it does happen in real life. If I, someone who had experienced hardcore sadness in life (i.e., lost my father at age 8, was bullied in highschool, brokenhearted so many times in college, got pregnant out of wedlock, lost my supposed 2nd child 4 years ago), felt a lump in the throat while watching it, how much more a child who just started to explore her other emotions?

I took out my cheesy motherly wisdom from my deep pocket and showered some on my girl. I elaborated everyone's eventual death and why we should all do our best to choose to be happy while we're still alive. Also, to love herself above anyone and anything else. She defied that and said that she loves me so much. I didn't argue with her anymore. I bet joy, sadness, disgust, fear and anger were all on nirvana. They needed to rest.

We embraced. Then I asked her to get us some Snickers - our favorite.

*photo courtesy of Unsplash


  1. I love this. I am kind of in a similar situation with my 6 year-old, because he is at an age where he is asking more abstract questions, like "Why don't people take care of the earth, mama? It's dying!" And I have to explain to him in ways he can understand. Children are actually very understanding, I find! Sometimes even more tolerant than us adults!

    1. Thanks, Martine! It's getting tougher each day now that she's turning 8 and that her dad is busy with work he can't come home as much as he can.

  2. Children ask the hardest questions. My two year old just started asking "why?". I'm sure one of these days, Id be stumped. I think it's amazing how much understanding and sensitivity these little souls have. I'd probably do the same thing when she asks me that question one day. Love this post! Madz De Leon