Tuesday 14 September 1993. This is the moment I became a mother and my life fell into place. For the first time in 26 years, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I smile to myself as I recall introducing my parents to their granddaughter and quietly apologising to my mother for all the grief I had caused her up until this time – now I understood.
Parenthood isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. I had never shown any inclination towards children and, in fact, I would say that I had actively avoided the little darlings but, much to my family’s surprise and not least my own, I took to it like the proverbial “duck to water’. This relationship was entirely different and, to this day, that hasn’t changed.
There are some stark realities that come along with parenthood, the most difficult being that your life is no longer your own. Every moment is accounted for, sleep is a luxury, domestic order becomes no more than a dream and as for social life and personal space……you are having a laugh!
But you manage, you get through it and love it.
As your little one gets older you learn to pick your battles, and the obsessive compulsive form of parenting gives way to a more chilled approach. The world doesn’t come crashing down around you because your offspring are playing with the dog’s biscuit bowl and munching on something; you learn to turn a blind eye and value the extra five minutes of peace and quiet that it has afforded you.
And this is how it continues and gradually a workable compromise is reached…you have this parenting sussed.
Then one day it all just starts to fall apart when your toddler discovers their secret superpower that destroys boundaries…..the incessant whine.
This is a critical moment. Do you continue turning a blind eye or do you stand your ground and defend those boundaries?
The first time you punish your child is the most awful experience. I clearly recall the heartbreak in her voice as I sent her to her bedroom “to think about what she had done”. Within minutes you want to write off the offence and reduce the sentence as the punishment goes against our every instinct to protect our children from pain.
The temptation to give in is massive, life is tough enough, just give me a break. But think about it, why are those boundaries there?
Whilst some boundaries are more to do with social acceptance – such as the tantrum that always kicks off when you eat at a restaurant – others are for your child’s protection and welfare. You realise that this distinction is essential and you explain to your darling why they must respect these boundaries. You can not, and must not, turn a blind eye.
This fundamental principle of parenting can be applied to the state. The law is there to protect the people and is enforced by the police and judiciary for the welfare and protection of society. It is therefore imperative that these institutions do not turn a blind eye. But that is exactly what has happened in Malta.
The authorities in Malta have continually delayed and dodged taking decisive action against the whinging corrupt elements within our society. They have been pressured and manipulated to turn a blind eye, their complicity is of criminal proportions.
And you have to wonder why exactly who and what are they protecting as it certainly isn’t the people. They need to be reminded that their duty of care is to us and not to government ministers, political parties or dodgy businessmen or, even worse still, for their own financial gain. It is stated quite clearly in the oaths they took when they were appointed to their office… it is literally spelt out for them.
These same authorities are behaving like that parent who does nothing to correct their misbehaving child at your kid’s birthday party. They think the louder they shout the stronger they appear and that they are fooling us into believing they are managing the situation. They are only fooling themselves.
We are all standing, watching, waiting for that moment, that first sign that tells us the parent’s patience has run out and it has dawned upon them rather embarrassingly late, that their child is controlling the situation and ruining the party. When “that” parent, at last, puts down their wine glass and takes little Gino outside for a firm talking to or, even better, announces they are leaving and “Gino is going straight home to bed”. We all breathe a massive sigh of relief as they exit the building.
And that is the point we seem to be at in Malta now…patiently waiting for the authorities to do what they should have done from the very start so we may all breathe a collective sigh of relief and start to repair the tatters of this failing democracy.
However, I am not going to hold my breath for too long.