A poignant post about a mother who is happy to see her toddler grow into a confident child. She wonders if she will ever be ready to let her little bundle of joy explore the world on her own.
My daughter graduated Nursery in March this year. To tell you about this day, I need to go back to the day when she graduated from Playgroup a year ago- the felicitous day when she was introduced to the stage.
With a graduation coat sitting comfortably on her shoulders and a cap securely placed on her head, she was just a perfect sight. She had been enthusiastic about the graduation song for a month before her performance and was thorough with her recitals. As parents, we hogged the front seats and were very anxious to see her set foot on the stage and so did she. The honoring ceremony went smoothly, but as the performance song played and she was made to stand with other tiny tots, her eyes met mine.
The 2.5 year old then hung her head low, refused to look at the audience and tried to hold her emotions undercover. Only half way through the song, she had enough, hence the preschooler employed the most exploited tool of social communication – she bawled like a baby. I had to stop recording her, take her off the stage and hold her in my arms till the end of the ceremony.
With these memories of her major stage fever, we covered a full year and pretty soon we were standing at the end of another academic year. So came another graduation ceremony.
“Oh man! She will be taken in control by stage fright, yet again.” were my thoughts just as the day advanced.
We, the more prepared human beings – the parents – knew what we had to do this time. We had to take the last seats, record her from a distance, act like spies and prepare her with all the pep talks. “Beta, rona nahi. You will do good.” In this whole process we forgot a tiny aspect – change. She had changed in a year and demanded for us to change as well. That day, change in perception is what the little one taught us, the adults.
On the particular day as we came in prepared to dodge her eyes, she prepared herself to meet the eyes. She stood there tall, proud, elated and above all – confident. She surprised me with the last attribute, the most unexpected one.
Being a SAHM, since the time she was born in 2014, I have been there for anything and everything she does. And I mean everything – her late nights, her early mornings, her poop fiascos, her tantrums, her insecurities, her ailing period, her wailing period. You name it- I was there for her. I accompanied her for her every move and trick, which provided me the certainty that I knew it all, and I know her well. So, you can imagine the stupefaction on my face when she stood there and “did not snivel”. Instead she was buoyant, composed and gave me a reassuring look when she located me in that crowd.
“Mummy relax”, said her big black eyes. Somehow that look made me more apprehensive and curious of her proceedings. What was she up to?
And then she took over the stage and the audience. What’s stage fright? That was an old story. This time she performed – standing right in the center.
That moment your baby takes the stage, no matter how big or small she is, it’s euphoric. I found it hard to blink for a second when she performed, as she looked a different person to me then. She is growing up and picking up traits from the outer world. She is trying to make it on her own and I could have not been more proud. As my eyes drifted to the cheering crowd of parents, my eyes met with the man who parents my girl with me.
“Shahzeel, we are doing it right”, said the parent in me to the other. We are first time parents and are as clueless and vulnerable as any other guardian.
The look we gave each other said out loud that we came together to build this one. You see, when my husband and I met at a tender age of 17, we had no idea we will make something so beautiful more than a decade later. Now that she is there in person, we feel blessed that we set our hearts on each other back in 2002, so that one-day we make a body who is our collective walking soul.
When she stands on that stage she takes my heart away. No matter how dippy she looks, how meager an act she puts up, I feel the earth below me move. I don’t know how many performances would she participate in, no matter how they turn out to be, she will always find us standing right in front of her, holding hands and looking at her the way we do now because she is our baby – the one we believe in.
It’s just that it’s hard for me to grasp her matured behavior over the years. I still remember her first day of school on November 16, 2016. It was a big day for her and a bigger one for us. I accompanied her full time in school that day. As I sat in pre-school with her on day one, I sensed her panic, anxiety and the attempt to find comfort in an alien environment. She kept looking at me, making sure I don’t leave the room, and I had to keep telling her with a gesture – mumma toh yehi hai!
I remember how she tried to copy the rhyme steps from her teachers. The protective mother in me kept checking other children. Who was trying to be friends with her? Who is she sharing her tiffin with? The asinine mother in me was also happy to find her taller than other kids in her class. “She can take them down in case she gets in a fight”, I said to Mysha’s mother. Well, don’t judge. I don’t want my child to be a bully but she should be ready to take them on, if required.
That was her first get away from her own kingdom – her home. I remember how scared she was and honestly, so was I. It was hard to let go. I kept thinking how she would manage during those three hours at school. I knew then that a day will come when she will learn to be without me, playing with other kids, but the question was – when would I learn? Oh yes, I am a mother so the answer is – “I will never learn to be without her, caring for her and thinking about her every second of my existence.” She does not know the world, but I have seen most of it and like any parent, I want my girl to be untouched by any negativity.
My child is growing up and as the days pass, I will make my presence scarce, till she learns to stand for herself. It’s like making her walk, step-by-step. Only this time she will not be running towards her parents who will hold her, even if they fall in the process. This time she will be marching towards an unfamiliar world, which she needs to get a hold of, fall and get up again.
Not even four, yet on her nursery graduation I saw a part of her wings and instantly knew that she was ready to explore. The question is how to address the mother in me who feels the tug at her heartstrings when she says, “Fly high baby. You are ready, but I may never be.”
Image Source: Pixabay
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