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When I was asked to write something about love for Valentine’s Day, I searched inside myself for the most potent love I’ve felt for anyone in my life. I grew up reading a lot of fiction, especially romance. So it should have been easy, but it wasn’t.
A few years into the marriage, I understood that reality is far removed from books.
Then I heard that unconditional love exists only in a parent’s heart. All the rest is wishful thinking. I wanted to become a mother then. I dreamt of being the perfect mother and loving my child like no one else has loved their child.
Twenty years after becoming a mother, I’ve realised that unconditional love is not a myth, but it’s not easy and doesn’t come to a mother just by giving birth. A mother has to work hard to love her child the way they need to be loved.
Children throw tantrums, rebel, and do not exist to make us proud. At such a time in my life, when my daughter was thirteen years old, I was full of rage.
She was a new teenager struggling with body image issues. I blamed it on her laziness. I pushed her to play badminton, do yoga and run in the club. And as if that was not enough, I started pushing her to eat healthy and skip meals.
I know I was a terrible, terrible mother, but tell me, who doesn’t want to show off their child to their friends and relatives? I was ashamed of claiming her as my daughter in front of my friends. She was smart kid, more into debates and quizzes than into sports. But I didn’t see that. All I saw was her shape, and it bothered me. I let my irritation consume me.
One day, I wrote down my frustration on my laptop as a journal entry. Of course, I’m a writer, so how else should I deal with it? Bad idea!
She had a MUN at school and borrowed my laptop because hers wasn’t working. When she returned from school that evening, she went straight into her room and started crying. I kept asking her what was wrong, but she said nothing. I was quite a good mom; I didn’t leave her side and just sat with her on the bed, stroking her hair, until she lifted her tear-stained face and spoke up.
I clearly remember the first sentence I had written in that journal entry. ‘I love my daughter, but I’m not sure I like her at all’. This sentence still haunts me. And then I went on about how she’s a bad person for torturing me with her stubbornness. That she needed to grow up. Ironically, I thought I was the grown-up while I was the one whining about a thirteen-year-old acting like a child.
Imagine reading this written about yourself by your mother while surrounded by a room full of teenagers and teachers.
She said tears ran down her eyes while she had to speak up during the debate. Even seven years after this incident, I’ve been unable to forgive myself. And I can’t believe my luck that my daughter is generous enough to have forgotten all about it. She says she has, but I doubt it.
Mothers can mess up their daughters big time. And I was one of those mothers. I read parenting books, studied child psychology, and listened to podcasts to be a better parent. The parent who doesn’t motivate their kid to be the best, but the parent who lets their kid be.
I might still not be perfect, but that my daughter can eat freely in my presence is a victory.
Teenagers need us less and less with each passing day. It might start with independently braided hair, the last homework you helped them with, or the last time you dropped them off at a party. It keeps becoming harder and harder for a parent to show their love. But there is one love language that never fades: acceptance.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised this love language is the only one that matters in all relationships. This Valentine’s Day, let’s tell the people we love that they are loved the way they are and believe it, too, because that is the only kind of unconditional love that exists.
Image source: by dimaberlinphotos Free for Canva Pro
I'm a reader and a teacher. My love for books and kids has kept me occupied till now. Now I want to venture into writing to pen down my thoughts. Thanks for reading. read more...
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"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
The Railway Men. Mili. Cuttputli. The Diplomat. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. And more…
Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
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