When we are diamonds, why look for gold?
A few months back, my son had attended a birthday party. I asked him how it was. He told me it was awesome and that, not only did he play a lot, he also had a lot of cake sans the cream. There was a sudden rush of happiness surge through me as he regaled me with funny moments from the evening. And then, all of a sudden he asked me – “Mum! I haven’t given a party yet. A birthday party, rather! Shouldn’t we give too?”
I sighed. I knew this question was going to come up any time soon. And, I am glad it did! At least that is one heavy weight off my chest as I was in no mood to refuse him one when the time came. Well, the real reason that we haven’t given a birthday party yet is because, his birthday falls in the month of June, the quintessential vacation period of the year! But that is not the only reason, we haven’t thought about it. Rather there is more to the reason for this thought –
To think like everyone thinks.
To act like everyone acts.
To be like everyone is.
To do what everyone does.
To celebrate like everyone does!
And, we decided to break that cliche. Because, we had a few things in mind.
I have been raised in an upper middle class neighborhood. The only two birthday parties I ever had was, one in grade 1 – friends were invited at our place, balloons and cake and games were the regular ingredients and it was a normal party; The second – my parents took me and a couple of my close friends out for dinner in grade 3. And that was it.
In later years, my birthday celebrations never had cakes. One, I did not like them and two, there were better things I could get in place of cakes and parties in the same budget. The second point was more appealing. My parents got me nice outfits, took me out to fine dining restaurants and, I got amazing books as gifts. With every year, the gifts would take other forms such as a business world game, an electro-magnetic kit and even, a trip to a good place. I think that helped me grow as a person at a very early age wherein the knowledge on politics and science kicked in early.
Hubby on the other hand, had far humble beginnings and given his tough innings in his growing years (my FIL became a widower when the hubby was barely 11 years old and, my FIL never remarried), the hubby firmly believes in leading a simple life and, spending on the right things at the right time.
And then, given the similarities in personalities, it is no wonder to the world why my husband and my father get along well, with limited conversations and deep understanding.
Coming back to my take on parties, the husband and I do not understand the idea of extravagance in it. Yes, if there is a real close group of friends, a party idea seems appealing. And, our idea of a party would just be amazing food and fun filled games. Or maybe, an outing to a nearby place where there would be more interaction. The only part I don’t get about a party is the amount of manpower and money that goes in producing a décor that does not have a purpose beyond the event. To me, it is an absolute waste of time too. But then, it is just the way I see it and, it may not concur with what the rest of the world thinks.
So, coming back to my son’s question, I ponder deeply over it. Yes, he will have his birthday parties. And, I shall invite his friends home too. And our idea of a party would be just what we have thought about – scrumptiously made home food and, some good games followed by a good movie. I am not sure when that shall commence but, I am sure as parents we will create the space he needs with his peers.
And then, a couple of days back, yet another incident happened. The son went to park and found, that boys of his age were not there. The elder boys wouldn’t include him in football and, there were toddlers with whom the son did not want to play. Apparently, he was returning back home within 30 minutes.
I asked him – “What happened? Why aren’t you spending enough time in the park?”
And, he said with a sad face – “I don’t have friends here. I mean, the big boys are playing football and they won’t include me. I don’t see a point going to the park.” Given that, he has a notorious gang of friends in school, his expectations from the park did seem quite high.
I made him sit on my lap. He is on his way towards seven and, he has outgrown my lap. And yet, there are days, when the son feels the need to hug and vent his feelings out. There is no greater comfort than resting head on the father’s shoulders or, hugged warmly by the mother. It was time for me to word wisely. And this is how it went from my end.
“Listen, you need to first know that, everyone you meet is not going to be a postage stamp in your life. They are passengers in your train. So, if you start giving people more importance than you give yourself, you will be disappointed. Plain and simple. Disappointed to the core. If you do not make friends, then it is not a bad thing entirely. It means, the Universe is telling you – Befriend yourself first! If you aren’t finding the right group, it only means you are destined to deserve better. And so until then, sprint along the path, make some muscles and, give your body the exercise it needs. And guess what, you will be strong as your daddy!” The words – “Strong as your daddy’ did the magic.
The son goes to the park these days. He has started doing the monkey bars, hanging upside down and indulging in all the muscle building activities. And, he does play when he gets the time. Apparently, he chooses his friends and, that is a good thing he has inherited from his father – to be selectively social.
I guess, the Universe has hidden messages for each one of us. And, we all need to pay heed to those whispering notes and take ourselves more seriously than we do. Letting some one tell you that you are not good enough is not an issue. Reacting to it by either succumbing to it or totally antagonizing the person and the words he said, is. And this is exactly why the words from the movie Help bring the deep essence of loving oneself –
When Abigail tells the neglected white kid –
You is kind. You is smart. You is important.
She surely meant the world to the kid. These words carry magic. Sheer magic. And, these words unlock a dam of potential in a child and adult when they are lent at the right time.
Unfortunately, we live in a twisted world where words and actions are misinterpreted and misunderstood. And, there is no straight road to our purpose without tricks that ease our pains along the journey. And no, these tricks are not shortcuts. They are those tiny baskets of energy drinks that we must seek when we need to recharge. And currently in my journey of parenting, I am trying to get that point to my son that – All that glitters will not be gold and, real diamonds shall often be found among the humble, simple and earthy elements of the Universe.
He is still a child who has just learned the art of fluttering with his wings. And, I am sure he will not be learning about life in a day. He will have to search for diamonds on his own. As a mother, I can only guide him about how to call a real from fake. Or maybe, he will eventually figure that out too, on his own. 🙂
And so, I will have to place a stone on my heart and watch my world stumble and bruise himself. I will have to see it and let him evolve on his own terms knowing how much this process will hurt me and him. Because, even a butterfly has to endure the pain before the first flight. And then, we are many notches up in the food chain. We shouldn’t be complaining in the slight! Well, my friend – in parenting that ought to be the most difficult part.