I believe that Parenthood teaches selflessness, to love and respect your kids unconditionally. Parents teach the children to be independent and rejoice in their blossoming. Both my sons are adults now and when I look back I think all I ever taught them was to shed everything that hindered their growth as human beings and accept themselves as and who they are. This covered almost everything that needed to be said. As a mother I believed that what I could teach by example I could not by words.
My parents taught me the value of discernment and take independent decisions and that is exactly what I instilled in my boys. To be discerning without being judgmental. It was an uphill task in the kind of environment they were growing up in. To keep their minds from being polluted by age-old rituals, customs and doctrines was an everyday struggle but I stood my grounds and made sure the boys learned to use their minds and not follow what the adults in the family or in the social milieu shoved down their throat. Since early years both the boys were encouraged to travel, explore, learn from the way people lived. To have a hunger for experiencing life at different levels. Independently. It was a challenge they had to undertake to refine themselves, to shun the comfort zone. To survive in all sorts of conditions. Build immunity, sensitivity, compassion towards life in all its forms. To value life and engage with it with an open mind and a student heart. I believed that exposure would enhance the personality and it did. Most of the times the ordinary things, the experimentation, the willingness to ask question does extraordinary things to children’s psyche. It teaches them important skills and to look beyond what is right in front of them.
I knew the importance of a dialogue, conversations, questioning, airing the differences fearlessly and with a trust that they will not be judged or reprehended. Freedom to converse without inhibition or fear helped them form their own opinions and choose what was right. That they could speak up their mind was largely due to the trust we shared. It is a friendship that we share even now. Once you rise above the relationship and treat the children simply as fellow human beings the approach to life changes. They become confident, curiosity helps them to expands their horizons inwardly as well as outwardly and a foundation for critical thinking is laid.
My boys had a privilege to experience two very different perspectives on ‘how to live a life’. A liberal, freethinking one from their maternal side and an orthodox, ritualistic one from the other. I think it helped them form their own set of values for life. They also learned from my limitations and sufferings. It made them a champion for women’s rights. Another major aspect was to make them aware of themselves so that they accept themselves as and who they were. I remember one of my sons asking me how I would react if he told me one day that he was gay or bisexual. I said it was his life and his sexual orientation or the way he is biologically. There was nothing to ‘react’. It is what it is. He asked if I would accept it. I replied that the question of acceptance doesn’t arise because it is ultimately His Life not mine. The fact that I would be by his side if needed was enough to make him comfortable with his choices I guess. I belive and taught them that unless you love yourself as who you are you can not love others nor others can love you. Loving oneself is an important lesson in life. To value the life we are given and live it well. Brief as it is.
The knowledge that I neither considered or treated the boys as my extension nor tied them to my apron strings helped them and me to lead a normal guilt free life in which we had mutual respect for each other, learned from each other and grew up together. Children are keen observers and often make decisions based on their understanding of life. To help them in this process all that is needed is a slight nudge. They have an agenda of her own. Suddenly one saw that the role of a mother as imagined or perhaps, vaguely understood could be questioned. Please! Can I not live my own life? Do I have to answer for each little thing I do? I am disgusted with this refrain “it is for your own good”. I know what it means and I can take care of myself – thank you! There is much heartbreaking pain and avoidable conflict. An uneasy kind of friendship develops as the teens are about to end, and one hopes that some understanding and maturity comes along to make life a little less rough – not for the daughter or son alone but also for the mother too. It is phase that strengthens the bonds without turning them into a noose. All one has to do is understand where they are coming from and help them deal with it if required. Unnecessary involvement in their daily struggles irks them at times.
I feel children who do not carry the burden of ‘teaching’ turn out to be better adults. I have seen around me the all engulfing apron strings, the controller moms who invade the very fabric of their son’s life till the core and leave it tattered. Mothers who just do not know where to draw the line. The worse thing a mother can do is to smother the child with ‘love” stunting their personalities. I cut the umbilical cord for my sanity and for the betterment of my children. They were loved and cared for but never became the primary focus of my passion and preoccupation. For the children to grown up without any mental, emotional, sexual dysfunction it is essential not to suffocate them. Being a free-spirited person myself it wasn’t difficult to instill it in my boys.
Growing up with them has been a wonder filled experience. Still is. I know I am the most unconventional mom but I love just the way it is. Now, I am looking at my life afresh, from their perspective, sharing a more mature friendship which began from the time I conceived them. A beautiful detached attachment. Motherhood has made me a better person and to sum it all in one sentence I would say, “Let your children be. You can’t teach a sapling how to grow; you can only give it all it needs, sit back and watch.” In doing so you are not just making them good citizens but most importantly better human beings; and in the end, that is all that matters. This post is written for the #MomsforaBetterWorld Project
Today my first born will turned 18. Its five in the morn’ and I watch him sleep peacefully feeling warm all over and remembering the special moments we shared since he came into my life. How we overcame each handicap like a hurdle in a steeple chase, riding smoothly with courage and confidence and throwing our hearts over it so that we could cross it too.
There were times when every debate would start and end with two sentences. I would say,” Not till you are 18.’ and he would say ,” Wait till I turn 18″. It scared me at times but most of the times I would smile and wonder,
“Will the excitement of turning an adult be as much as it is now?”
There was always something special between us. Though I never pampered him like all Indian mothers do, there was an unexplainable unsaid bond with which our heart strings were attached. Somehow I had the feeling that he understood more than the other children of his age. He had a very rough childhood and for me as a mother It was an extremely difficult time. Many a times I would look into his deep questioning eyes and have no answers to anything. He would watch the drama unfold in the house scene by scene everyday and cling to me unable to express how he felt. Helpless and sad. It was heart wrenching and I tried to instill love, compassion, forgiveness and taught him not to judge and be independent of any thing that hinders his growth as a human being.
Just as I was given a choice to discern and take decisions on our own, I wanted my child to do the same. There were never any social or religious bondings. The child was free to blossom and I tried to do my best, under the given circumstances, to see it happen.
There are times when I felt guilty of bringing him into a world where I myself was finding roots. At times I would takeout all the frustration on him , knowing it was wrong… but still.. He would never utter a single world of rebellion or throw tantrums making me feel even more guilty.
A lovable, calm child, he would spend hours playing by himself, reading books, coloring or just observing nature in the park from the little terrace. He is a wonderful dancer and loves music just like the rest of us.
I had my share of “Oh please not again” times, when he would quietly empty a shampoo bottle in tub or hide in a corner behind the curtain with ladoos or any mithai. He loved to sing and we would have sessions of music and book reading. It used to be a joy to watch this little thin lad run after butterflies or chuckle at the sound of some bird or on spotting a ladybird.
I would smile and watch him observe the line of ants and marvel at the amount of curiosity he had. Always open to learn anything new. During his middle school, the teachers used to call him ” walking Encyclopedia”.
Sometimes I would find him hiding and watching me put a freshly painted picture on the refrigerator door. I can never forget the look of pride and love he used to have at such times. Cleaning his room was like shoveling the path before it stopped snowing.. At night the last thing I did for years was , pick up dinkies, toys, books, pencils, colors, clothes, half eaten fruits, empty cans and some mysterious looking objects which I never could make out what they actually were.
The time he fell sick was the most difficult period for all of us. Glumer Nephritis and Nephrotic Syndrome were new words for us and It was unbearable to see a child of three suffer so much. The disorder took a toll on his health. Although he recovered fully, It was remarkable the way he handled his illness. Silently he would observe everything and everyone including me and tell me to rest for sometime, eat something etc, assuring that he was feeling better and there was no need to worry. With moist eyes I watched my son’s courage and consideration.
Sending the cynosure of my eyes to the residential school simple broke me and him, although he was keen and it would have helped his frail health aslo. Ranikhet is a beautiful place and I thought the mountain air would help him build up his stamina. Four years of residential schooling changed him completely. He matured into a handsome athletic independent boy. All the pain and tears of seperation were washed away.
Although both of us pretended to be happy at the end of it , each one knew there was a hidden guilt and sorrow behind his going. Sending him away from a younger sibling and the rest of the family wasn’t a right step, but there was no other option. It was a sacrifice he had to make because of our mistakes. I still feel guilty about it.
Now when I watch him paint and draw and pursue his passion for animation and visual graphics I thank the creator for giving him a creative mind. Be it food, music, dance, art or anything he is always experimenting. Both my boys are complete foodies and love to experiment.
Adi and I shared some wonderful moments cooking, baking, reading, dancing, traveling to new destinations, enjoying local cuisines, doing window shopping and our love for all creatures big and small especially snakes and raptors and all the creepy crawlies made life one big adventure.
The best workout sessions were helping him take baby steps, running all over the house after him, walking along his bicycle, and then going for long walks. we explored the hills wherever we went discovering new flora nad fauna. Those are the moments of unexplainable joy and comradeship.
Each moment that we shared till now was an unrepeatable miracle, thats what it was , unrepeatable and miracle.
Though I had my share of troubles with him , I think I enjoyed it. The foundation of our love and friendship is laid on solid grounds and we grow seperately without growing apart. He is the best friend I have and we share all the secrets , almost all 😉
I support all his dreams even if that means he moves away..I hope he takes the right direction and takes right decisions, makes right choices.
I had the highest salaried job ..Motherhood… coz the payment was Pure love..
I live though him and when I see him excel in things I could not pursue it gives me immense joy.
Now from today his life takes a new dimension. As a young adult there will be added responsibilities towards self and others and I am sure he will take life with serenity and poise.
Seeing the fan following he has and the girls of all shapes and sizes that hover around him like delicate butterflies, I call him ” love magnet’ and he calls himself ” LOVE GURU”. There are long sessions of confessions, suggestions, advice, over the phone and chats. I am glad in a way that he is able to change lives and make people feel good in some way. Few people have that gift.
Each of his growing year has been a new learning process for me and I attained a new avtar each time. Some of the best teaching and words of comfort came from my first born. In times when things seemed bleak and the darkest clouds wrapped my life , he , as a bright shinning sun brought so much strength and showed me the light. I am thinkful to each of my boys for enriching my life in one way or the other.
love you guys.
Happy18th Birthday sweetheart .. may you always be blessed with good health, peace and joy ..