Losing teeth is a special part of childhood, but for me it was magical. We never had a tooth fairy back home, instead, we had the sun. Children would wait for the sun to rise while holding on to their fallen tooth in the balcony. The tooth is supposedly sent to the sun and the sun is asked to take the old tooth and bring a beautiful tooth.
It was magical knowing that something that is not suitable can be replaced just by talking to the sun. Being a child was beautiful until you grow up and realize life is not as easy as replacing the old with the new. Stress and worry cannot just disappear like my old tooth.
As life progressed, so did problems. I worried about my family in the first few years of migration, but they were not the only thing I worried about. I worried about the future, my studies, friends, my career and pretty much everything.
It was a coping mechanism, to stress. It helped to get things done, until it became a barrier in my life.
It’s important that children develop life skills to help them cope with stress and the everyday pressures of life, skills to mature their resilience.
In a migrant home, this is hard because you are busy doing so many things like putting food on the table, trying to translate a letter written by the teacher as to why your daughter does not want to hold hands with a boy in dance class, a phone call from the principle asking why your kid in grade one needs to starve at school?.
All this needs to be explained in a foreign language and in a way which does not sound barbaric.
Then there is diplomacy, something migrant parents have probably never heard of especially when it comes to raising children in Australia.
It was hard for my poor parents to unlearn everything they grew up with and relearn new ways of communicating with their children in a society where children had a voice and were encouraged to have one.
Therefore, it was obvious why stress relief strategies may have been missed along with other things.
The truth is, teeth don’t always fall out, some are pulled out with pain and blood.
A lot of good can come out of this as well. Pain is part of life and that is healthy especially if you know how to handle it. You are allowed to be sad, scream, be angry, but you also need to learn.
For me I learnt the hard way. Life teaches you eventually, but it’s harsh, a little like a soccer coach. You fall and you have to get up quickly so you can fall again.
And yes, sometimes, when I reach a dead end, I do feel like putting life in my hand and throwing it at the sun, but I soon realise, I can no longer ignore the laws of gravity.