Last night, I had a very deep conversation with my three-year-old. It went something like this:
Ben: Mama, do ah ma and gonggong (referring to his maternal grandparents) have children ?
Me: Yes, dear. Me, yeeyee and jiu jiu (referring to my siblings) are their children.
Ben: (with some frustration) No, they have children or not?
Me: Yes. That’s us – me, the firstborn, followed by yeeyee, who’s the second, and jiu jiu, who’s the baby of the family.
Ben: You, yeeyee and jiu jiu are babies?
Me: No, we are adults.
Ben: Then you’re also children?
Me: We’re not little children, like how you understand “children”; but yea, we’re ah ma‘s kids.
Ben: You’re kids? Or adults?
By then, I realised where this was heading. Ben was confused by the fact that we were adults but also children of our parents. He couldn’t grasp that. To him, babies were babies, children were children, and adults were adults.
How do you explain to a child that no matter how old you are, you’ll always be someone’s kid?
So I said:
Me: Son, children can mean little children, and also the fact that you’re someone’s son or daughter. Like you’re my son. You’ll always be my son. You’ll always be my child. No matter how old you are.
I hugged him real tight and smooched him silly last night. This will be one conversation I will remember for the rest of my life. Largely because the understanding that when you have a kid, you have a kid for life, took on a deeper meaning. I know that even when Ben turns fifty, he will always occupy that place in my heart, as my child.
Ben, if you’re reading this at twenty, you’re still very much Mama’s baby, k?