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I believe life is made meaningful by moments that are fully, uninhibitedly experienced. Moments that exhilarates and humbles your being with gratitude. For me, ever since we had our baby, I had wanted to freeze every such moment spent with her to eternity and if possible beyond. Just laying next to her felt so beautiful. My inclination to hold her all the time started a ritual between her and me ever since we made our first contact. Every morning we both sleep in a little longer. She snuggles close and I embrace her in the warmest hug possible kissing her tiny head till I doubt my lips will take on a permanent pout. She relishes in all the pampering and snuggling and makes herself as cosy she can be.
When she just crossed the two and a half milestone, I was a proud momma given that she got potty trained in a week. So, one day, we just went out for a stroll out in the park to celebrate a ‘without diaper’ time outside. While outside I met an acquaintance who conversationally asked me ‘So, which educational board do you prefer for your child? CBSE, ICSE, British Curriculum?
‘She’s just 2 and a half’, I reasoned and ‘I am fine with any board I guess.’
‘No,’ she replied, ‘I am very clear that my child will only go to CBSE board, otherwise she will not be able to clear her competitive exams.’
‘What if she does not want to give any competitive exams? You child is not even three yet. You can relax.’ I said exasperated.
Coming back home, all my excitement about taking a ‘no diaper walk’ disappeared. I realised that when children turn 2 years old, they are required to be sent to a playschool so that they can be trained to clear interviews for kg 1. With a broken heart I realised that I needed to enrol my child, who’s a baby still into the rat race. I longed beseechingly to relocate to a country where children started school at 5 years of age. The next morning, I saw sleepy eyed children (with a new realisation) making their way to school trudging along heavy bags. I looked at my peacefully sleeping child and felt a pang of very deep pain in my heart. Some months later, I took my daughter to a playschool to enrol her in a winter camp. This I thought would ease her into the transition to a full fledged playschool routine. The separation for those 3 hours each day was emotionally challenging not only for my 2.11 months old toddler but also to me. I was embarrassed every time the teacher saw an unchecked tear streaming down my face without warning. Reuniting at the end of those 3 hours felt like the best thing in the world.
We gradually made peace with the new routine, and then one day all schools turned online. Frankly, I was elated.
This change assured that me and my baby can sleep in a little more again. Rather than rushing through the morning in a blur of frantic activity, we can again snuggle slowly out of bed, have a leisurely breakfast just talking about things that really do not make sense and start our day. One day, post the online school announcement, I lay in bed holding my daughter snuggled peacefully in my arms. As I carefully rose to prepare for the day and pulled off the curtains, I saw two children playing outside. One was simply blowing a soap bubble from his balcony, the other was taking a leisurely socially distanced walk with her mother and their dog. The little girl ran along holding a flower with the dog, shrieking with joy. The mother followed with a grateful smile on her face. I realised that these were the same children who I had seen trudging early morning to school few days back, with sleepy eyes and heavy bags. Looking at them and their relaxed mothers, I realised that things looked just perfect. ‘Let children stay children for just some more time. The rat race can wait’. I thought to myself.
Every storm has a silver lining. The world seems to be gripped in a storm today that seem to have no solution yet; but moments like these, where children are getting some more time to just remain children and not strive to be forced miniature scholars is the silver lining that keeps me going on and holding on to hope.
A Social Media Content Writer by profession. A writer by heart. A genuine foodie. Simple
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