Parent-child hood

02120015  There is nothing as nostalgic, yet rewarding, as flipping through the pages of an old album that transports you in time and place. Old pictures have a unique flavor that transfixes you in frozen bits in time. Now and then, I sift through the synopsis of special moments of our lives captured by our old fashioned camera, long before smart phones invaded our safeguarded lives. And tucked most safely among our precious collection are pictures of our 2 daughters in all stages. Some just tug at your heartstrings, others elicit a spontaneous giggle or two and quite a few others leave you simply stupefied. Most importantly, I am reminded and reinforced to embrace each passing moment as I realize how time flew from their toddler years to young adulthood. Thanks to unnumbered nights of bed time stories, sweet lil’ rendezvous amidst diaper changes, endless summer days lazing in the pool and the park, nice long walks among talks with them in strollers, unforgettable tantrums and reprimands, for having made the bonds stronger than feebler.

With each passing year, my ubiquitous presence around them had slowly started to vanish. Bed-time stories would become a thing of the past, the amount of  home work help needed had started to wean, there was almost no assistance required in everyday chores, and to top it all, my views and opinions started to be vehemently questioned . I bit my lip and held back tears as I had no choice but to witness this transformation. It is truly an art for a parent to accept the independence of their off-springs with the same flair that they proudly ruled the world of these once helpless and hapless beings. I had started to question the purpose and worth of my role as a mother, except, I knew to avert damage and change gears to ensure a smooth ride together. It helps to have a reminder to our parent selves to steer the course so we don’t lose our own in unexpected twists and turns.

img_0967    Over the period of time, I painfully taught myself attachment in detachment, reminded myself to be more receptive and less defensive, to be a friend and a guardian to my kids and to use these roles with discretion. I smile at the gentle disapproval of my teenager on matters of disagreement just as I used to find joy in the warmth of her hugs and kisses as a toddler. Just like I had cheered their tiny strides attempting to catch up with my long ones, I am now cheered to catch up to their faster jogging pace. The camaraderie, friendship and sisterhood received is priceless, in return for trying to understand their lives, their struggles and aspirations as opposed to thrusting my ideas and dreams on them. My off-springs taught me to strive to be more liberal than narrow-minded, a listener(still working on this!) than a preacher, less judgemental and more forgiving, less rigid and more flexible. Undoubtedly, there are qualities that individuals can teach themselves to acquire at any point in their lives, only if they are willing to. I have learned more from my children than I ever taught them. It is time for role reversal and it is unquestionably going to stay. The driver and passenger have exchanged seats, literally and metaphorically. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

In the battlefield of parenting, there are no winners or losers. If we win, we win together. If we lose, both sides lose.

 

 

 

 

Chosen one

When my younger one comes from school, she is brimming with all kinds of news to share, usually starting off with rating her day as good, bad, excellent or worse. All I have to do is to fine tune and just pay attention! As she rambles on the details of how upset she was to learn about her friend’s mishap to how exalted she was to get a perfect score on her test, I would empathize with matching emotions. By the end of her long narration,there is usually a more relaxed look on her face that is worth a million buck! I now know the communication that just transpired was assurance that everything was alright in her young adult world. Similar is the case with my older one, except that she usually has some interesting findings to announce from her ‘research’ world that she discovered in the privacy of her alone moments. It could vary anywhere from music, to politics to fashion to food that brings to the table discussions at length.

Come to think of it, these are not mindless talks of a teenager, but the outcome of trust and affection built over years. I nod to myself in affirmative and sigh in relief when my teenagers choose to give me that level of transparency during their toughest years of transformation. Most times, I do everything in my capacity to lend a listening ear to these sometimes lost, sometimes enlightened, sometimes needy, sometimes ‘just want to be touched’ souls. At other times, when I am not at my best mom-self, the loss of touch is felt and something is certainly amiss, for which I pay the price!

parent_child

Parenting becomes a joyful ride of togetherness and mutual love when it is not just about keeping your children clothed and well-fed, rather about offering a safe emotional haven for their growing minds and shed light in the crevices. At the end of it all it only makes perfect sense to reminisce the saying, “We do not remember days, we remember moments”. Often times, we fail to give heed to the daily tidbits of life in our ever pervasive mode of taking for granted the loved ones that surround us, the companionship, the safety from our bonds with family and friends.

And if for once I were not the one my daughter chose to share her feelings with, if I were not the one to have tasted a slice of her life, what a terrible loss it would be! How grateful should I be, to be chosen by my child, by a friend, by a family member or sometimes an acquaintance. All that is needed sometimes is just an extra dab of laughter, a healing touch, a pat on the back or just mere presence. Could you have imagined how transformational it is for the ones whose lives have been touched by a chosen one and vice-verse?!

Mother’s Day

   MOM

Mother’s day is around the corner and I muse about the true essence of motherhood. Do you become a mom just by virtue of giving birth? You are a mother but not ‘mom’, necessarily. The essence of momness is earned, not bestowed. Mom is not just another role that you perform in ways of feeding or dressing or educating your children, it is nourishing and enriching the young minds in emotional and spiritual levels!

Momness, if you think about it is not a qualification due to maternity itself. It is in fact, an abode of sanctity; it is a testimony that love, care and kindness still exist on earth. As far as there is flavor of motherhood on earth, there is still hope! You see subtleties of it in nature, in trees, in animals and all things living. It is owned solely by those who give birth – to goodness, to strength, to peace and above all, life. I see it in my own mother, who is momness personified. I also see it in my dad’s eyes and feel it in my brothers’ voice, as well as in random acts of kindness from near and dear ones, or a neighbor or sometimes even a stranger.

Penguins
courtesy:http://cuteanimals.cosmobc.com/

If I were to take even one-millionth of an ounce of pride in being a mother, let it not be for the lives that my womb delivered but for their journey thereafter! How would I come close to qualifying for a mom, if I weren’t to exhibit an iota of humaneness from the standpoint of another human,  if it’s not my shoulder that my daughters choose to cry on, if I couldn’t read the angst in their troubled minds, or know the meaning of unspoken words? Motherhood is not a right, but a privilege that has to be earned from mutual love and respect, by letting go and not clinging on!!
Needless to say, it is not in the untouched souls, the crass creatures, or the ruthless ruler. It is rather a light breeze that smells of jasmine, and brings music to your heart as you feel the gentle hands that lay on your shoulder. Hail the existence of momness!