April 6th was one of the biggest days of my life, and Sid’s, though he is too young to realise it yet. It was the day when for the first time he stood on a stage and faced the audience. It was his play school’s Annual Day. I sat with my husband and father-in-law, amidst the audience, and watched him with fascination as he stood there on the stage.
The song playing was “Old McDonald had a farm…” He had a pair of pom-poms in his hands like the other children in the group. The rest were shaking the pom-pom and slightly gyrating to the music, guided by their teachers from behind the screens. Mine just looked on, at his friends, at his teachers, at his Principal, the poor lady who was wildly gesticulating and prompting Sid to shake his pom-pom. The way Sid looked at her, it seemed to me he was wondering, “Err… what happened to Aunty?”
But I was happy. Very Happy. In fact, jubilant. Sid faced his first audience, and did not give in to fear. He did not cry or run away. I was mortally terrified he would. Not because I wanted him to be a Jim Carey in his first performance itself, but because the poor thing had been down with severe fever and cold for the week preceding the function. And the doctor we took him to had given him a very heavy dose, that led to a loss of appetite and sapped out all his strength. The kid was just on the road to recovery, and I was afraid that the stage would prove to be too much for him.
Another reason I was anxious about his performance was his fear for loud music and bright lights. I have still not gotten over the harrowing time he gave me at my brother’s wedding six months ago. All the nadaswaram, the lights and people drove him crazy, and he in turn drove me crazy crying right through the wedding. I could neither help my parents with the arrangements nor receive the guests nor enjoy the fact that my dear brother was getting married. I just wanted it all to end as soon as possible.
His fear for things loud and bright probably comes from the fact that we live in a fairly calm society, away from the bustle of roads. Also no one in my family likes listening to loud music. It’s always the soothing instrumental, kept at low volume, playing in the background. I used to listen to loud music in my younger days, but my hubby has always been a man of peace. And Sid has undoubtedly inherited his genes in this matter.
And to add to all my anxiety, when I went to hand him over to his teachers backstage, before the function, he literally brought the roof down with his shrieks and protests. The whole auditorium rang with his cries. So it was really pensive me sitting there in the audience, waiting for the performance to start. My husband was consoling me, telling me Sid would be fine, though I suspect there were as many butterflies in his stomach as there were in mine.
So when his item was announced, both of us sat on the edge of our seats. As the curtains raised, we saw him standing calmly at his designated position. And he stood there the same way throughout the song. When it ended with a long drawn “Eeeya Eeya Oooo”, it was a proud me with puffed up chest and a wide grin who went to receive him from his teachers.
I must say, his teachers had done a wonderful job of controlling him, and all the other children. The program was well executed, and we enjoyed immensely that day. After we came home I put Sid to sleep, kissing him “I love you”. Then I realised, this is how my mother would have felt when I stood on the stage for the first time. And maybe each time, for there have been many such times. That day I shared a unique bonding with my mother – that of two mothers proud of their children.
Yamini is a software professional turned work-at-home-mom. Amidst her domestic responsibilities and a very demanding 2.5 year old son, she snatches time to write academic papers, freelance content, fiction and poetry. Her stories and poetry have been published in various online literary magazines and anthologies by Penguin Books and Cyberwit Publications. Yamini voices her thoughts now and then at http://myexpressionsandme.