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A mother writes about the rollercoaster ride that was motherhood, and why her son need not write a thank you letter for Mother’s Day.
Mom here. You are not surprised, right? Moms always love to send tons of words to their children – written, spoken, thought of, dreamt up, copied, heard, wise and more – yada yada and blah blah! But guess what, I am writing today because some words that came my way made me squirm a little. The ones that normally go around during Mother’s Day season. Well, do I think I am great and almost the only gift that God gave to mankind? I wonder!
Ok, I AM a mother. I did what I could to help you survive through your baby adventures. I definitely remember the hot summer months of carrying you around stuffing myself full of all those hated but good-for-you-and-me glasses of milk. But then there were buckets of ice-cream too, so I am not sure if all that milk and steamed broccoli was such an ordeal after all. I did have to get rid of my skinny jeans forever, but you know what – I guess I would have had to eventually anyway, with my kind of intense love for anything cheese.
After you were born, there were the standard number of sleepless nights, playground falls, liquid spills on the carpet and tantrums in the middle of shopping trips. But it was more than compensated by toothless grins, sleepy hugs and cutesy crayon declarations of love. So where was all the sacrifice that mothers are supposed to have made? Maybe I missed out on that bit!
Now that you are taller than me and maybe wiser too, shall I tell you a few secrets? Mothers are supposed to be singing sweet lullabies – I secretly sang the national anthem and patriotic songs while rocking you! So in case any after effects are felt in your adult life, you know whom to blame!
I also never really made you practice handwriting or times tables, because I loved watching you build Lego cities and 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles instead. I fretted for a while that you refused to read classic literature, but stopped when on your own you picked up a heavy historical tome I wouldn’t touch with a long pole.
In short, I can claim no influence on molding your mind or shaping your thinking. You are who you are and I love you to bits for that! But then again, where is that midnight oil I am supposed to have burnt as a mother shaping my child? Oops, missed out on that as well!
While we are on a spilling-the-beans spree – I kind of grew up with you. If you can believe it, just 2 decades back I was who you are today – a kid in a faded t-shirt and shorts, munching on salted peanuts, sipping on cold colorful completely junk fruity drinks, shuttling between tennis shots and reading Robert Ludlum, staying up till midnight and definitely not paying any attention to morning alarms. My room was a complete mess too and I had no idea which school assignments were due next. I stumbled through the crazy zany trip called life and had the best of the times!
But I always worked hard and never gave up on learning and adventure. I hope you will discover too – what matters and where your passions are – early enough in your life. But no life-altering great gyaan from my side – sorry kiddo! You need to discover it yourself.
You have been an amazing child. You grinned through my disastrous culinary adventures and ate up suspicious looking green vegetables with as much gusto as the wet gooey chocolate cake that wasn’t exactly planned that way. You lived through my housekeeping calamities and helped me mop and dust when required.
You did mess up a few times in school and I had to appear before the stern gaze of your teacher cowering as much as you did. But then you also made me go all teary-eyed with deeds of kindness and amazing efforts at hobbies you were passionate about.
You went through the shy and in-my-shell phase that drove me up the wall, but we survived and thankfully, with no permanent damage. And you know what, if ever Grandma tells you how she had to push me to get out of my shy confused and tearful teenage self, just ignore it!
On the brink of your teenage you decided to work hard to get into a boarding school of your choice. I should have been in tears. But I wasn’t. I was happy for you when you got the admission. It was hard to let go but I did it without the mandatory motherly tears.
I admit there were nights in December I lay awake wondering if your blanket was warm enough. There were our favorite sweets that I could not eat unless it was during your time at home. But mostly I worry about whether you are making the right decisions – are you kind and polite, are you making friends, are you working hard, are you learning new things and most importantly are you happy?
I still cannot manage to whip up great meals always when you are home and I cannot manage to spend sleepless nights because you are writing exams. But I know we are friends forever. You taught me nifty smartphone tricks, you introduced me to science fiction and football, you made me learn secrets of Italian cuisine, and even though I could do without it, you insist on introducing me to Swedish House Mafia and Major Lazer, ah well!
So here’s to you kid…I am a mother because of you. And do not ever feel indebted to me because mothers make so many sacrifices and all that. I enjoyed my parenting ride with you – I grew up with you. I became a better person with you. Don’t you every carry this baggage of almost worshipping your parents. You were a gift of life that I thoroughly enjoyed cherishing and no thanks are due for that!
Live your life happily and productively. Explore the wide world and discover what you can do to make it better. Don’t ever worry about me – I know we are friends forever! After all, we shared the last piece of chocolate and dripping orange candy, and I still have the recipe for the best pancake in the world!
Image source: mother and son by Shutterstock.
Vrunda Bansode is a part of management team at NSRCEL - the Startup Hub at IIM
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