My children call me an enabler. They accuse me of behaving like a mother hen not towards them but towards my husband.
“Why don’t you let him grow mummy?” they say. “Leave him alone. He’ll be fine.”
If I left him alone I’d be out of work. How do I explain this to them? Let me give an example.
He offered to make our morning coffee. This was fine with me. I love my morning sleep. The half sleepy state with birds cooing and chirping, the sound of a few two and four wheelers starting to ply and newspaper boys and milkmen starting their day.
“ How many spoons of coffee powder do I put into the filter?” he’d call out from the kitchen.
“ Four” I’d reply without opening my eyes.
I would hear the sound of boiling hot water being poured into the filter. Then that of his brushing his teeth, gargling etc. and finally…..
“ Where is the milk?” he would call out.
Now that was one silly question. Milk would be in the fridge where else? I keep specific steel containers for heating milk. Why he was never able to locate the vessel I could not understand.
Properly advised about the whereabouts of the milk he’d call out once more.
“Where is the gas lighter? Oh yes! I’ve found it. Why can’t you use matchsticks? How much sugar?”
“Coffee is ready” he'd finally announce.
“ Why do you offer to make coffee when you need to be advised at every step each and every day?” I ask.
“ Drink my coffee first and then pose your question.” He would reply.
“Why can’t you get up and make coffee mummy?” my children would grumble. “He wakes up the entire neighborhood.”
I find it difficult to answer them. I seem to enjoy my role as an enabler. However much as I fret and fume, my husband continues to depend on me. Or so I like to believe.
I started working when my oldest daughter was seven years old. Getting to work at seven in the morning, after preparing fresh lunch and breakfast each day, was not easy. My husband would get the children ready, drop them at school and go to his workplace. The children also rose to the occasion. My daughters would pack their own lunch as well as their father’s, from time immemorial. Folding clothes and stacking dishes got into their system and we all worked as a team. The daughters became natural organizers and my son seemed to rely more on them than me to tie a shoelace or comb his hair. All this suited me fine but there was a price to pay. Over time I realized that I was perhaps no longer indispensable. The kids grew out of my shadow pretty fast. When I wanted to pamper them they were no longer there. When my children flew the nest, or perhaps even before that, I started pampering my husband! My motherly instincts needed an outlet and my husband was willing play the dependant child. Here was a kid who would never leave me.
“ Where is my towel?” my husband calls out.
“ Let him look for it.” My daughter whispers.
Only God knows that I cannot leave him alone. You cannot be an enabler unless your subject wills you to be one!
Deep in my heart I dread the day when my husband may no longer require my services.