Daughter’s best friend lives next door. They go to the same school and walk back home from the school bus hand in hand. Come holidays, they are almost inseparable, running up and down between the two apartments. We call them the Siamese sisters.
It is fun watching them singing and dancing, playing hopscotch, doing projects, painting and generally loitering around the place. Then comes those hilarious (for us elders) moments, when voices are raised, doors are banged and cries can be heard,
“She’s so mean, how can she do this to me? I will never talk to her again.”
Without fail, within five minutes, either the phone or the door bell rings or off they go again, as if it was someone else who were fighting with each other a few minutes ago.
As a rule, both of us mothers do not interfere in these happenings. Daughter and I are lucky to have them as friends. But there are certain days when the tears do not stop for some time and the little one looks really upset. The ‘wise’ mother in me awakens with a passion. The sermon starts with a hug,
“See, do you fight with people who are not your friends? Your father and I also fight with each other once in a while. That doesn’t mean we do not love each other, right?”
“But amma, she is so mean. She doesn’t even say sorry when we fight.”
“You could also say sorry. You know what I do? If I fight with someone I love, I go ahead and apologize.”
“But I am not like you, amma.”
It was as if she had given me a tight slap across my face. Such a simple statement, but what profound a truth! As parents, all of us, or at least, most of us have the best interests of our children at heart. But, more often than not, we forget they are individuals, separate from us. It is not on purpose, but they do realize when we try to make clones out of them.
The house turns into a war zone on school day mornings. The ‘one minute’ mantra is on repeat mode from two beds. The sweet cajoling first turn into threats and then thunder like shouts. Son senses the change in tone pretty fast and goes about his morning rituals pretty fast. Daughter is another thing altogether. She is ‘dreaming’, not sleeping and how dare the mother disturb her! A big shout shatters the colorful dreams, the customary wailing begins, “you don’t understand my feelings.”
“Feelings, huh! Young lady, at your age, we didn’t even know we had feelings,” was my standard response. Variations of this went on till she changed the statement into a question,
“Amma, why don’t you understand my feelings?”
That sounded very familiar. As adults, how often we use this phrase in its different variations? We, in our wisdom expect others to fathom our thoughts and feelings even when we fail to express them, and then take it for granted when it comes to our kids. We expect them to behave in a manner that is set by us; how they feel and what they really want is often ignored or discounted.
And then comes moments like this, which punches us out of our reverie.
We are made wise… by what comes out of little one’s mouths.
Bindu Manoj dabbles in numbers for a living, dreaming of words all the while. A mother of two, wife to one, sister to four and friend to many, she hoards books by the score. An arm chair traveler who does some real life off roading now and then, she prefers the moves and shakes of jeeps and trucks to the cushy comfort of normal vehicles. Her wandering soul muses at http://ruminateatleisure.wordpress.com/ and she reminiscence her reads at http://wanderlustathome.wordpress.com/