A poem I read recently goes as follows:
“The man that hides his feelings behind the painted face,
no one can understand the pain the joker has to brace,
he has a gift to make people laugh, cherish and smile,
so he puts on a charade, cracks a joke, for that is his lifestyle,”
This poem could well be of a mother I felt!
A mother may not be able to make a room full of audience happy but her target audience in the form of her little one is more than enough.
She makes faces, she sings absurd songs, she snorts, giggles, growls and purrs just to see a small smile on the baby’s face! Nothing pleases a mother more when she gets the peals of laughter! That’s absolute heaven.
Even the primmest of the ladies who are a social delight and the queens of etiquette do not usually think twice about bursting into an ‘Old McDonald had a farm’ with dramatic gestures if need arises.
Last week though I understood what it is like to be a joker when actually you are grieving. A two-year old will not understand death. She will not understand why her parents are sad. So we are to put on our mask and continue with routine.
It was tough! I am not closely related to the dead but may he rest in peace. Any such news disturbs me to the core. It shakes my little cosy life! It reminds me that nothing is forever!
I always was sentimental about it but it was easier when I wasn’t a parent. I’ll cry a bit, grieve, accept and mourn a while. Eventually, I would move on.
But as a parent I don’t have time to grieve. The toddler catches my emotions too quickly. She gets disturbed when I am sad or little upset. It worries her. I can definitely see that even though she can’t really express herself!
So I play around with her. Dance around. Bring out the tickle monster and laugh along with her. A few tears escape but I camouflage them as happy tears.
Death is the most difficult reality to digest even for me. I don’t know how to breach the subject to my 2-year-old. It isn’t really necessary I think. Anybody who isn’t in front of her eyes, usually don’t exist for her. Her long time memory is just started developing. She does remember her grandparents who live in another city but has never really asked why she can’t really see them every day. So that concept hasn’t sunk into her. Everybody, whom she cannot see, is either at work or sleeping perpetually. She doesn’t think further. Maybe I should not even make her think of it, yet! Her world is so simple and innocent. I will let it stay that way as long as possible. She is starting to comprehend some things for sure.
Yesterday, we saw a beggar without a leg at a signal. She was very disturbed that he didn’t have a leg and started crying. But immediately, she exclaimed to him, ‘Go to shop and buy one. I have coins!” He couldn’t understand her but he smiled as he saw empathy in her eyes I believe as he blessed her even when I didn’t give him any alms.
As for me, I put on my mask and sing along with her. I cry into the nights sometimes. Even then I make sure I make no noise, I don’t want the child to see me grieve. Not yet, at least. I don’t know the correct age to start talking to her about the inevitable, but not now. She stays innocent for some more time and her mother becomes a joker whenever she wants.
An erstwhile Quality Analyst, Sirisha Achanta, is now a full-time mommy to an adorable 2-year-old girl and a part-time writer. She loves to dance, dream and read a lot!