During the past 18 months I have been deprived of all the basic pleasures and responsibilities that most mothers around the world take for granted – cooking for their children, reading them stories, dressing them, taking them to school, bathing them, giving them goodnight kisses, putting them to bed at night and all the other day to day duties that come with the traditional motherly role. I yearn for the return of this part of my life every second of every day. Nothing comes close to describing how much I miss this other world I once shared with dear Sammy and Benji.
In an instant, I was stripped of this motherly role and Sammy and Benji’s whole world was simultaneously ripped away from them. From being a full time carer and active protector, I was unwillingly forced into a new unfamiliar, strange role – the visiting absent parent. However, not being there permanently for my boys has not meant loving them or caring for them any less. But the experience has totally redefined my role as mother.
Unable to take hands on responsibility for their day to day welfare, instead I had to desperately try to protect my children from afar – via legal channels and pursuing every avenue available – a function of a mother that I could never have foreseen when I gave birth.
A mother without her children is like a shepherd without his flock or a teacher without her class. And yet, even separated, these challenges have confirmed that I am as much a part of my boys as they are of me; each of us cannot thrive or develop without each other. To claim otherwise is to negate nature. A child needs its mother like the earth needs water and plants need sunlight.
Experiencing this daily heartache has taught me more than ever that being a mother means being there for your child come what may. For reasons I do not understand and perhaps never will, I am facing challenges and tests that no parenting guide would ever include. Yet in the face of every setback and all the endless frustrations, giving up is not an option. Being forced apart does not in any way sever the intrinsic bond between us or lessen the feeling of responsibility towards my children in any way.
As the judges, psychologists and decision makers spent time with their own mothers and children on Mother’s Day and perhaps reflected on the day’s significance, I don’t for one minute imagine they spared a thought for Sammy and Benji: two little boys deprived of their basic human right – to know and be close to the person that knows them better than anyone in the world – the person who gave them their life.