While most people write about being an actual parent or grandparent, I realised that noone really writes about being an aunt or uncle. After my niece and the first grandchild of the family was born over 6 months ago, the family’s life changed and suddenly the main focus of family gatherings was on this new small being – a baby with the most beautiful eyes and happiest smile that melts hearts.
Baby Sofia has already taught me a lot in her first 6 months – about how babies work, about parenthood and about being more selfless.
We’re all taking turns to do our duties on babysitting, diaper-changing, milk-feeding and just basically entertaining this baby. I’m actually glad that my brother and SIL have included us all in this process of taking care of her because for me, it gives me a deeper appreciation and insight to what parenthood entails.
I’ve seen baby Sofia in difficult moments where she wouldn’t stop crying to her best when she was extremely happy kicking her feet away. Both have taken up a lot of energy but it’s taught me much about patience and how to understand emotions better (not to mention, putting ego aside).
Mother is always telling me that what you experience as a baby you will eventually experience again in old age – dependency on others. The only difference is that the treatment given to an old adult is not always wholehearted.
I obviously didn’t give much thought to this as a young adult but baby-sitting Sofia and also spending time with my parents has made me appreciate the beauty of human development and the need for greater empathy. I noticed that I give 100% emotion and attention to the baby of the house but not the same to my parents (who are getting older and weaker by the day). And so I reflected on being more selfless.
Mother is always saying that life is a continuous cycle of giving back – your parents take care of you when you’re young and in return should be taken care by you when they age. Again I would just nod my head in agreement but I’ve not fully understood the reality of this statement till recent times.
These days I try to exercise more attention to my parents needs – like when my father needs help walking down the steps or when my mother needs to be accompanied just because. Just like how I would willingly do so for baby Sofia, I realised the same needs to be done to ageing parents.
It’s amazing what this new baby has taught me. Young adults are generally caught up pursuing their own interests we sometimes forget to stop to appreciate the more important things like consolidating a strong bond with their parents.
Thank you Baby Sofia for teaching your Maksu to be more selfless, to put her ego aside and to exercise more empathy. I look forward to watching you grow and learning more from your baby wisdom.