Raising a good human being
Tracy Highland doesn’t have a typical nine-to-five job and her family is pretty understanding of that.
When Tracy takes home work with her, which is quite often, husband Ryan automatically takes over “mummy duties” in getting son Dominic, who turned seven last February, ready for bed.
The first question asked in the interview was, how do you juggle work and family?
Her reply??“Is that what I’m doing? Juggling? Because I’m not quite sure all the balls are staying in the air,” she said, laughing out loudly.
Tracy, 37, is a public relations and communication specialist at JILL Media, and handles clients that demand her time – sometimes extending into late hours of the night.
“It’s hard sometimes. In my work I have to stay connected to social media, so sometimes the biggest challenge for me is to just shut off and give my family undivided attention.
“I’m getting better at prioritising and not wasting energy on things that aren’t important.
“I think my family understands that I don’t have a typical nine-to-five job, so they are pretty understanding.”
Tracy says the time she spends with Dominic is precious to her as “they grow up quickly and soon he will be heading out the door to college”, she said.
“My favourite thing to do with him is to just sit down and have regular conversations. There’s a lot going on in the mind of a seven-year-old.
“I’m amazed by the things that fascinate him and the extra facets he finds in ordinary things. He helps me to see things in a whole new light sometimes.”
Tracy really wanted a girl and went to the doctor, convinced the baby was a girl and got a surprise.
“I wanted to know the sex of the baby before birth. No, no surprises for me. I was convinced I was having a girl. I really wanted a girl. I was raised in a family of all girls.
“So imagine my shock when the doctor happily pointed out boy parts at the ultrasound. I’m pleased with the outcome now, though. Boys are great!” she said with a giggle, adding in that last part because “Dominic might read this one day.
“We actually didn’t name him. We were having trouble picking a name. My sister-in-law came home from work one day and said she had seen the cutest little boy with dimples. His name was Dominic. We picked up the name, and sure enough out popped our Dominic with dimples in both cheeks!”
Tracy said the early stages of Dominic’s childhood was a bit scary as he was quite ill frequently.
“From the ages of three to five Dominic would get really sick every time he picked up the flu. We spent many nights at the hospital. Having a sick child is a scary thing. You feel like you can’t control what’s happening and it can be frightening. Thankfully, he seems to have grown out of it now.”
Now enjoying special moments with Dominic, Tracy says fears she didnt have before have surfaced now: “There’s a fear there now that wasn’t there before. I guess I have more to lose now. I think of him whenever I am in a potentially risky situation.
“Even flying. It never bothered me before, for me it was like taking the bus. After I had Dominic, I started to get a little nervous, especially when travelling without him.”
Now Dominic is in primary school Tracy said letting go is the hardest part of parenting.
“ . . . Letting him make his own mistakes and suffer the consequences. As a parent you always want to hold your children up. You never want to see them hurt or upset, but you have to allow them to learn the lesson of actions and consequences. You can’t always fix everything.
“On the other hand, every act of kindness, show of love or display of gentlemanly behaviour from him feels like a triumph to me. Yes, I want him to do well in school, to be well rounded and successful, but it is also important to me that he be a good human being as well.”
And speaking of school,Tracy reminisced about Dominic’s first day of preschool.
“I?must say I don’t remember the first day of preschool. It was pretty uneventful. The second day, though, that’s the one that’s glued to my memory, complete and utter tear-filled disaster. By the second day he had figured out that we were actually going to leave him there, and he was having none of it,”she said.
Talks of school didn’t stop there as Tracy exclaimed unashamedly that the most stressful part of being a parent was homework. “I am serious. Homework! No one warned me that becoming a parent meant having to repeat primary school and secondary school too.”
Family time the Highlands is always an adventure as the travel overseas to spend holidays with family and take trips around the island, just because.
When asked what she liked best about being a parent, Tracy didn’t hesitate in answering:?“The hugs and the unconditional love. Any mother can tell you that no matter how bad a day you are having, one smile, hug or ‘I love you, mummy’ has the ability to put everything in perspective. It makes you want to be better and do better for that child.
Tracy is a kind-hearted person who is always willing to give and volunteer and hopes to pass on those traits to her son. The past student of Harrison College and Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, said, “I think three things my parents taught have really stuck with me. You can make anything you want to happen actualise if you just do the work; all men are created equal and should be treated as such; and you don’t live in this world alone, it’s important that you give back.