Category: growing up

The truth about love and growing up

The truth about love and growing up

A few days ago N came to me one night with a comb and a bunch of rubber bands. She said she’d seen a ‘hack’ on Youtube and that if she tied her hair up in tiny ponytails she’d have curly hair by morning. It was a bit nostalgic for me because I remembered my mom doing the same for me, although my hair used to be way shorter and we didn’t call it a ‘hack’ back then. I sat her down and I rolled her hair into tiny ‘bunlets’ (for want of a better word) and fixed them with rubber bands.

She woke up next morning and opened out her hair. Instead of falling down to her shoulders it stood out in a short wavy mass upto her ears. She pranced around for joy exclaiming ‘Oh I love it, I love it, I love it,’ and ended up with a, ‘It looks so good na, just like yours.’

And I couldn’t help but laugh.

I have to explain here that I have rather weird hair, neither straight nor curly. It’s kind of flyaway thin and wavy, impossible to keep in check. N’s on the other hand is nice and straight. But there she was, thrilled because her hair looked like mine!

This reminded me of a quote from the film The Truth About Cats and Dogs:

You know how someone’s appearance can change the longer you know them? How a really attractive person, if you don’t like them, can become more and more ugly; whereas someone you might not have even have noticed… that you wouldn’t look at more than once, if you love them, can become the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.

Although spoken in an entirely different context it does hold true. Doesn’t it?

N’s teens are round the corner and the day is not far when she’ll want to be and do all things ‘not me’, but for now I revelled in her guileless affection.

And then there’s H. For all his grown up ways, his continuous (but failed) attempts at mastering the eye roll and his ‘don’t hug me in public’ he still seeks me out (probably on his way to the refrigerator) and gives me a hug or tweaks my cheek, the way I used to when he was a toddler.

They turned twelve this summer and yet I continue to see them for the babies they once were. I can now somewhat understand the very cliched comment that kids never really grow up for their parents. At times like these I do want them never to grow up, for the days to just stop so I can keep them close.

Of course I know that’s not possible and when this wave of sentimentality has blown over I will want them out of my way just as much as they want me out of their’s but until then, I’m going to savour the feeling.

 

Linking up with #MondayMusings at Everydaygyan

Another step forward

Another step forward

MM: They’re not old enough.
SM: We need to let them go.
MM: It’s dangerous.
SM: No it’s not. It’s just an amusement park for goodness sake.
MM: That’s the scary part. Don’t you read the papers? There was the time an entire ride came crashing down. And then there was the case of a child being molested. These are bad times.
SM: What about the hundreds of people, including children, who go to amusement parks every day, have a wonderful time and come home safe and happy? Hundreds and thousands across the world?
MM: Yeah well I’ll take them along some day. So I can keep an eye on them.
SM: Fuss around them, you mean! And nag them and caution them till they were driven out of their poor little minds and never learn to manage on their own.
MM: I don’t do that.
SM: You do and that’s why you need to let them go.

The subject of this grand argument was the children’s impending school trip to Imagica – an amusement park about 100kms from the city. And the two voices? Sane Mum and Mushy Mum. You do remember them, don’t you?

It took Sane Mum hours of convincing to get the Mushy Mum to agree.

Of course she had the backing of two very excited children who were in imminent danger of turning very very whiny if they didn’t have their way. Believe me when I say sometimes that’s the only motivation I need to do something. A reassuring call from the Husband sealed the deal.

Then began long hours of counselling and cautioning.

Don’t read in the bus you’ll get queasy.
Don’t go to the washroom alone
Don’t board a ride alone.
Don’t eat before a dangerous slide, you might throw up.
Don’t accept help from a stranger.
Don’t talk to strangers at all.
Stick around with your teacher.
Look out for each other.

Are you even listening?

Then they were off

Finally, with bags full of muffins and chips and mints they were on their way. Not once did they turn back to look after we dropped them to school, thought MM rather regretfully while SM thought that was a good sign.

Back at home..

..the house seemed a tad too quiet, even to SM. This is the quiet all mums, mushy or otherwise, cherish most days. But today it seemed almost ominous. I worked listlessly on a some half done articles, then roamed aimlessly about the house pretending to put things in place.

I checked the phone every few minutes for messages from school.

And then the phone buzzed. “The children had breakfast at McDonalds and have now reached Imagica.”

I cannot explain how comforting that was.

I focused on the mental picture of the children sitting down at McD’s with their best buddies around them laughing over fries and burgers, loud and boisterous and happy. And that was when I began to relax.

The anxiety demon did come by in flashes through the day but I managed to keep it at bay helped along by another message that all was well and finally a third one saying they were on their way back.

It was nightfall when I went to pick them up from school. H sat in his class reading his book, an assortment of weirdly shaped merchandise by his side. ‘I bought all of this,’ were his first words even as the hugest smile lit up his face, which morphed rapidly into an absolutely horrified expression when it seemed like I was reaching out for a hug. Oh okay, no hug then, thought I retreating. Just a smile and a hand clasp and we were on our way to N’s class who is way more forthcoming with her affection. She hugged me willingly and smiled saying, ‘I got you a gift and one for bua too.’ That completely warmed my heart.

We walked back to the car, H limping along from a bad blister which he didn’t seem to notice, as he fought with N for attention, talking nineteen to a dozen.

24 hours later the conversations continue to flow , the stories just don’t seem to end. They had stuck by their teachers, behaved responsibly and wonder of wonders they had even sought out each other to ask how they fared after the worst of the rides. I would gladly send them again for that one single reason alone.

Here’s what I need to remember:

My first trip out of town was pretty late in life – during graduation on a Geological tour with the teachers. I remember little things like ordering my own food or buying chai from the vendor in the train gave me such a thrill. When did you step out of home out on your own? Was it easy to convince your parents?

Picture Credit: Pixabay

Can a parent ever let go?

Can a parent ever let go?

This past week, in a bit of a coincidence, I’ve stumbled across multiple stories from friends – children and parents – who’ve disagreed with each other over important life-decisions like the choice of career or life partner.

It’s heartbreaking – this disagreeing with people closest to you, this not being able to understand each others thoughts and motivations.

Desperate children have been driven to the brink of suicide because they haven’t found it in their hearts to rebel. When I was younger I’d wonder why parents wouldn’t let them learn from their own mistakes. It seemed like such a logical thing to do.

As a mom now, I am no longer so certain. My children seem such a part of me, like a physical living part of my body, my heart, that it seems only natural to reach out and stop them, protect them from making mistakes. Separating myself from them seems the hardest thing I will ever need to do.

I wonder where I will find the courage to let them do something that, to my mind, is clearly a disaster. Would I be okay if they left the tried and tested to strike out on an unknown journey? Would I be okay, for instance, if one of them chose a career in music over academics, or would want to try their luck in Bollywood or strike out in the jungles as a photographer?

Would I be able to let them go? And yet be ready to have their back should they fail? Without a hint of ‘I told you so’? And then when they’re back up on their feet, would I be ready to let them make their next mistake? Be ready to have their back yet again?

It’s not going to be easy.

As I’ve grown older, possibly wiser, I’ve known some people who rebelled against their parents and found happiness. Some didn’t. Some heeded their advice and found happiness, others didn’t.

The thing is, one never can tell with life.

While children follow their passion, parents have to be the voice of reason. Click To Tweet

Ever so slowly, I hope they learn to balance their passion with reason, on their own. And I hope I’m around till they learn to do that. As their parent if I’m even writing this post, thinking I will have to let them go someday, it’s a step forward.

Meanwhile I make this promise to myself..

that I shall keep an open mind and respect their wish to follow their passion.

that I shall always always place their happiness above societal pressures – a lesson gifted to me by my parents.

and most of all, I will never close the doors of communication.

And I hope when the time comes, the children will give me and my concerns a patient hearing. And then, if they choose to go ahead despite it all, I shall find the courage to stand by them.

***********

 

Linking up with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me #mg

The Road to Independence #Monday Musings

The Road to Independence #Monday Musings

Last weekend as I was picking up H from his guitar class we saw one of his classmates walking back home. He lives close by and goes to the same  class.

I happened to say, ‘How very responsible and independent he is! Walking back home by himself!’ And that, dear friend, was a mistake  you must remember never to make when you’re with your tween. I regretted it almost immediately.

Never praise the independence of another child unless you are willing to let yours have it too. Click To Tweet

I really should have just kept my mouth shut. But then even the most cautious of us slips occasionally.

Obviously, H wouldn’t stop talking about it. Obviously he pestered me to let him walk there and back on his own. The distance doesn’t worry me, it is a little over 1.5 kms. It’s the fact that he would have to cross roads twice through fast-moving traffic and the fact that he is rather absent-minded.

Of late I have started allowing the twins step out on their own. They walk down to the stationery shop to get their own supplies and to the library. We are fortunate to have all of those within a few hundred meters around our apartment complex. I love it that they can run small errands for me like picking up grocery or giving clothes for ironing, which takes such a load off me, while making them feel responsible too.

But this was something I was skeptical about.

After much discussion (read argument) and silent contemplation (read sulking) we reached an agreement, or so I thought. It was decided that we would have a few ‘trials’. H asked if he could walk back with his friend. I agreed, assuming I would be walking with the two of them. Of course he assumed I wasn’t.

When the weekend approached and he realised I was going to walk with them he threw a fit, the kind of fit only a be-dead-rather-than-be-seen-with-mom-by-your-friend tween can throw. After another round of ‘discussions’ and ‘silent contemplation’ he said I could walk along as long as I kept twenty paces behind them.

So imagine this – H walking ahead with his friend pretending he didn’t know me and I following like a detective sent out by a suspicious wife to keep an eye on her cheating husband (or vice versa, for that matter), ready to turn my back or duck behind lamp posts to avoid being spotted, except he would have been more worried than me about me being seen.

The things one has to do for one’s children!

Mercifully, H tired of the walk soon-enough and realised that getting a ride with me was a way more comfortable option. I’ve begun to look upon laziness as a serious virtue. For now, the matter is resolved, till the next bout of independence strikes.

Meanwhile we are practicing crossing roads together, while I practice keeping my mouth shut. Tight.

What do you think, dear reader? Am I being too cautious, ‘overprotective’ as H accuses me of? What’s the right age to let children out on the roads on their own? And I’m talking Indian roads here.

 

Linking up with #MondayMusings at Everydaygyan

 

With Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

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Holding onto childhood traditions #MondayMusings

Holding onto childhood traditions #MondayMusings

Yesterday evening N came out of the washroom triumphantly holding up a tooth, a huge grin on her face. You might wonder at the grin considering this is hardly her first one to fall off. They’re well into their molars now.

Well, even though they have long since busted the tooth fairy myth, they continue to extort a princely sum of Rs 20 each time a tooth falls off. Since they are oddly reluctant to spend their pocket-money, which I started them off on recently, they look forward to this ‘windfall’.

I don’t really mind.

What I do mind is that N expects the entire tooth-fairy hoopla along with it.

“Don’t forget to leave the money under the pillow,” she reminded me. “Not like last time, okay? You forgot and when I looked and didn’t find any and was very sad you sneaked it in later and then came and asked me ‘Did you look really properly’ (*she mimics my grown up voice*). Of course I’d looked properly but then I had to look again and I knew you had put it in later but I had to pretend to be surprised. I saw you, okay! I saw you put in the money later,” she said.

Seriously? Is there anything she doesn’t know? And this makes the whole exercise even more pointless in my eyes. Why Oh why put my poor over-worked brain under so much stress when she knows everything?

I have no clue at all.

Yet, like a dutiful mom, I waited for her to fall asleep yesterday and (for once) remembered to go back to their room and put the money under her pillow.

As I watched her turn in her sleep and settle down again, I thought perhaps, like me, she was also reluctant to let go of these little bits of her childhood.

It’s rather strange that N should do this because she was the more independent one as a baby, wriggling out of our laps, longing to be set free while H was the clingy one craving physical contact. And now, as they grow, he’s the one clamouring for more freedom everyday while she holds on to her babyhood tenaciously.

Strange creatures, these kids.

Do you remember a childhood tradition that you still follow with your parents? Or do you have one with your children which they have outgrown but refuse to let go? I’d love to know.

Linking up with #MondayMusings

And also with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me