Like seasons, a mother’s personality undergoes myriad shades of change at every development milestone of her child. She plays the good mommy, bad mommy, sulking mommy, happily cooking mommy, moody mommy and what not! Not every day is her day. And, when it is, it is that time when the moon turns into a sky blue and, Mommy turns into a Cinderella with the yellow pumpkins becoming her carriages and, lizards becoming her footmen! I love fantasies, I always have! And, sleeping for me is an excuse to get into that unreal world and, play my fiddle as long as I want! Anyways, I am digressing by habit. Where was I? Yes, on regular days I am the regular mom who tries to do everything but fails to catch up on everything. I am sure, many homemakers who detest housekeeping business would relate with me. And today, hubby is out of town and, son and I have fallen back on a lazy Saturday routine.
So, after hours of making trains with the peg tables, my son has rehashed the look of my drawing room. Currently, it looks as though it has been ransacked by burglars. The cushions are strewn in some abstract fashion, the sofa covers are half in, half out. The center table is diagonally placed near the door opening into the porch! The wooden mesh turtle carrying a lampshade looks lost as it has already been rotated umpteen times! And, the wooden flower vase is seen hiding behind the tissue curtains in a fashion that someone like me who is prone to slip even while wearing slippers will have a Humpty-Dumpty fall! On regular days, this is not the scene though. Because, on regular days I am the GUILTY mother who constantly pleads to the energetic creative world of mine – my five year old son to adhere to discipline. Yes, yours truly is Guilty As Charged.
A few weeks back, when I sat with the son before his exams, making a few test papers and some questions, I suddenly stopped midway for some unexplained reason and, started doodling on the last page of the notebook. It was some abstract design, one of the many that I make and that, either have no meaning or, have too many! I, of all can make no sense of what I doodle! However, that day I did not notice that the son was observing me doodle. He did not say anything and, I was oblivious to him being aware of my act. And, the regular mother in me resumed with the advising, pleading, coaxing, shouting, yelling etc……. My regular days with my son be like —–
“Read aloud what you write! (A little nudge on the shoulder) How many times should I tell you?”
“WhAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? HOW ON EARTH CAN ‘EE KI MATRA’ (Hindi) BECOME ‘uuu KI MATRA’? DON’T YOU LISTEN TO YOURSELF WHEN YOU WRITE?”
“+ MeAnS ADDITION! – mEaNs SUBSTRACTION! PLEASE……PLEASE…..Read, Understand and then DO!”
“What. Are. You. Doing! What pleasure do you get in digging that pencil into a brand new eraser? Does Money grow on trees? WHY DO YOU HAVE TO DO IT?”
“Arjun! Where is your small water bottle?” (Which I find is now, a cave for all the crawlies and creepies that coexist with us peacefully…As per Arjun it is the snake Agasura and, all the creepies and crawlies are Krishna’s friends! If I say I am at my wit’s end, it is an understatement!)
“Arjun! Where is my kitchen scissors?” (I found the kitchen scissors in various stages of dying as I collected its mortal remains – the blades and the hold….from the garden…Well, the scissors was forced to cut down some strong branches which were later to be used for making a bow and arrow – as per the son! I got a new one which is now used for origami work thankfully!)
“Arjun, please keep the shoes on the rack! Please put that tiffin box in the sink! And, why have you not drunk all the water? You must drink a lot of water!” (On some days, I can hear an echo of whatever I speak. Trust me, he repeats my statements with emotions and expressions that make me go – “OMG! Do I really look like that when I speak? WOW!”)
“Arjun..read aloud! Focus! Concentrate!”
…………………………………..And, the list of my reprimands is endless!……………………………………………
So, after his exams got over, I felt as though I had won a gold medal! That feeling had more to do with – Pre kg! You are done! (Son is going to first grade this year) And no, I have not gone near any books since his exams have got over. Neither has he. But, something caught my eye some time back, a few days after his exams got over. That image made me swell with pride and, well with tears! Remember, I just spoke about some abstract design I had doodled while I was preparing his question papers. The son had drawn out his variations of the same on the same page with the same pen I had used. (The doodle on extreme top left is mine, the other two are his)
This image was a revelation in parenting to me in many ways that can barely be expressed in mere words.
Today, I took a pause from my daily routine while the son is enjoying his holidays. And, I thought – I have to make the best use of this pause. And what better way than to introspect? Now the above piece of paper with the three intangible doodles made me realize why being an adult actually sucks and, no wonder it feels like being chained by archaic rules and protocols of which, many don’t make sense to me yet. The little Narayani within me smirked at me and, questioned – “Are you even practising what you preach? Why do you ask him not to doodle during study time when you yourself are not able to hold it back! He has your genes, woman! Believe me, let the chemistry in those magical genes work and, you will see a rising genius!”
Ever since the exams have got over, I have allowed the son to do what ever he wants. Though some of his recent shenanigans in the park have already diluted my resolve and I am secretly wishing for his school to begin again, I am also as a matter of fact, proud of his profound questions, thoughtful trances before the simple answers and, his endless trunk of tricks that he saves for priceless moments!
The other day, hubby had asked him –“What do you want to become in life?”
Pat comes the reply – “I want to be a community helper” (He had a chapter on community helpers in his UKG)
So, I asked him – “Which community helper you want to become?”
“D….O…..C…..T…..(E)….R”….DOCTOR! The ‘e’ was later replaced with an ‘o’!
Hubby was clearly enjoying the conversation and, further asked – “OK. Which doctor would you like to become? Like, do you want to become an Army Doctor?”
The son thinks for a while and says – “hmmm…..ok….Yes….”
I was folding clothes then and, added my opinion – “You better be a good one then!”
Son was lost in deep thought…..and hubby patted him on his cheek and asked – “What happened, son? Planning to change goals?”
To which, he replies candidly – “No pa! I want to be a doctor. But, I also want to become other community helpers like tailor, carpenter, gardener, cobbler, milkman, postman, soldier, policeman…..” (and, he named every community helper in the world!)
Smiles, giggles and perspectives come from such conversations. I added – “Well son, in that case, you better become an actor! You can take on all the roles you mentioned!”
Well, I said it! I realized, I said it in the spur of the moment! On a lighter note, it sounds funny now. However, did I really mean it, given my contempt for the kind of films, our Cinema is giving us??
The question itself was a Eureka moment for the guilty mother in me. Rather, I found the answer in my own question and, I have the faith in his destiny that he will be the mad bull for his goal and, will achieve what he wants in life!
Recently when we were visiting a few friends, I met a boy who was appearing for his boards. While the conversation hopped from one topic to another seamlessly, I asked him what was his stream of interest. The answers came, crisp and clear but not from the son. Every answer that came for every question was from the mother, who began the sentence as – “His interests are so and so….So, he wants to pursue this and this….” The boy has been raised excellent and yet, he was silent every time his mother answered for him. As a parent, I feel a child must always answer from the bottom of his heart and, no person must fetch those answers for him. Anyways, to each, his own.
Thoughts of a child, they say are the treasure troves where even a mother cannot enter and take a peek into. I am learning that now. When the son doesn’t want to share something with me, he doesn’t. And, I don’t prod. I am glad that he has a space where he can be himself with absolutely zero inhibitions. I also have my world of thoughts where, I reign supreme. I am the queen in my world of thoughts and, I revel in the power those thoughts
That said, I cannot remove the guilty mother from my personality. I am going to be the fussy mother, the confused mother and the nagging mother who wants to know everything about the son as he grows up, about his friends, about his girlfriends, about his heartbreaks, about his crushes, about his games, about the million secrets he intends to keep from me. He will get annoyed with me. He will also learn to dodge his CID mother! There will be times when he will also call me up less. But then, he is my son and, I remind myself each day of my life that he carries the many traits of hubby and mine and that, the fiercely creative combination of the fire and water that we are, he will learn the tricks and trade of growing up beautifully.
Besides, hubby and I constantly remind ourselves from time to time – “Allow him to make mistakes. Let him take the fall and rise! If his heart breaks, let him heal by himself. If he faces failure, let him fight it himself. You brought him into this world. Now, let him evolve by self, just like your creators let you!.”
In that absolute faith, I am sure that there will come a time when hubby and I will share the same kind of friendship with our son that, we share with our own parents today 😀
On a lighter note, my parents at the moment have every reason to grin ear to ear and, sit back and enjoy the many CID episodes this guilty mother will be sharing on this blog!