What does it take to be a parent? A child, you may say. But along with the baby, come other companions. Enormous Responsibility, anxiety, care to name a few. The responsibility does not end with feeding, changing and putting them to sleep, or education, or perks like cars, a good house etc. Being a parent is more than the materialistic desideratum.
For me, every task that I take, every role that I play, I try to give it my best effort, my whole being. Or so I thought.
But when I became a mother, apparently, best is not good enough. I fail time and again, miserably. Being a mother is my toughest job.
I worry. Worry is my middle name. Apart from the perpetual distress of food, studies, clothes, friends, there are bigger apprehensions.
What do you do, when your 6-year-old says, She doesn’t like what she see’s in the mirror even in her best dress. My heart skips a beat, My eyes stop reading what I was devouring fervently a minute ago, the hand freezes. The face a shade darker, trying to camouflage the real turbulence within. The mind whirling with a thousand thoughts… she is not supposed to think such things, not think of appearances, she is 6!, she should concentrate on play and learning, and a million other speculations.
The foremost reflex was to blame myself. Maybe I did something. But now was not the time to blame or ponder. A child is waiting for some acknowledgement for her consternation that which, with careful deliberation has been shared.
Composing myself. I shut my book tight. Pull her falling body away from mine, and with mock curiosity I examine her innocent face. With highly audible remarks, I inspect, and by the end of it, declare her “Beautiful”. She is not convinced. Her eyes meet mine. Inquisition meets helplessness. What and how do we explain to a child about beauty. The profound theories of life cannot just be stated. But I try. I do what I had to do. I don’t have all the answers. The pep talk drains me. I then decide, I should not give the matter any more importance than it deserves. So, I move on. Start dinner preparations. I chat away merrily, steer the conversation to something more relevant, and soon the matter is forgotten. The spirit is back. Hers and mine.
A kid forgets and forgives easily. But Will I? the more pertinent question is should I?
Milee’s revelation of her fears to me, is an assurance and confidence that she expects me to set it right. And so I will. I know I do not have answers to all her questions. But I will seek.
Life cannot be elucidated by me nor will it be understood by her. Life has to be lived.
But kids learn by example. They do what they see.
For her to face the world with a full face, to be confident enough, honest enough, and courageous enough. To meet adversary and success with equal ease, I need to be all that I want her to be. We are nothing but mere reflections of our guardians. Just as her well-being influences me, my state of mind inspires her too. I cannot just do my best. Best is not enough. I need to give it my soul, in order to raise hers.
That night when I tucked Milee in, she was happy. With her cheerful face, her never-ending questions, her unfading curiosity and her ability to find humour in most unusual places, she slept peacefully. Later in the night, I heard her mumble and chuckle. I smiled. She was having dreams. Not nightmares. Not hounded by inconsequential matters and irrelevant factors. For a parent, that is what is of most important. A happy child. I worry a little less. And sometimes, not having all the answers, works.