Friday, 15 March 2013

That motherhood gig

It has been a while since I talked about this whole being a mommy deal. I think the last time I complained about how the child liked all things pink (and purple). Well, we have come a long way from there. Now, she calls these two colours 'vile' and 'hurting to the eye' and says they must be avoided at all costs. Her favourite colours are, apparently, blue, and green.

Not that I am not complaining about this. We built a whole bedroom and bathroom based on those colour schemes (by and large), and she barely deigns to use those. And I couldn't find blinds in a matching colour so went with a neutral brown which is what most of the house has, and that, apparently, is a reason to avoid her room. And the monsters that are under her bed (precious little space down there for monsters, but hey).

My niece is now a bonafide teenager, and my nephew is getting close. My child is up next (still a few years away technically). We had the kids over a few months ago at home and it was pretty nice, overall, so I am hopeful that those years won't be as scary as they are in my head. But it is fair to say that I have turned to be a very different mother than in my ideal-case scenario.

I wasn't a dreamy sort of pregnant girl, in fact, I was a shit scared pregnant girl who was pretty miserable most of the time through those months. Despite the fact that I was healthy as a horse (a healthy horse, that is), and had not even a sniffle to complain about. I had edema of course, but big deal, everyone does. It was stressful and busy so I didn't dream forward to when my baby would be nine years old or anything.

But I had some ideas. That I would be a 'cool' parent that wouldn't be too hung up. That I wouldn't lose my temper at my child, or ever raise my hand at her (or him - didn't know that I would be lucky enough to be blessed with a baby girl, I was secretly hoping for a girl of course, but didn't want to say it out loud just in case). That we would read and sing and study together.

Maybe reality is a little bit different. Instead of getting the 'best of both' - the good characteristics from each of us - she seems to have inherited a healthy mix of good and bad. Which is how it invariably is, of course, but damn frustrating. Anyway it doesn't matter a whole deal because everyday I discover that however much she annoys me, it doesn't change how I feel about her. Which is very different than how I think about the adults that I love.

Yes, I am worried about teenage, and college, and her friends, and their parents, and everything. I think I am ready for the challenge, I feel confident (sometimes) that I will deal with it, but I do worry. And when I look at her after she falls asleep at night, I feel so overwhelmed with worry and emotion, it hurts. No, I was not expecting this back in March 2004 when I was sitting around sweating miserably in the Mumbai heat.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Have you searched your soul lately?

I love soul-searching. I try to do it as often as I can. In fact, my leading complaint lately is that I don't have quiet, alone time in which I can think. Or jot down ideas. Or soul search. "I don't worry about it. I will find time to think if I want to" dismisses my husband when I ask him if he goes through the same deal.

I had a quick, business-like chat with my mum, my only surviving parent, today. It felt good. I know I should do it more often. I am at exactly that mid-point phase of my life, I guess. I feel the dual pulls of motherhood and daughterhood equally, and both of them hurt, in a good way. In a 'I have so much to be thankful for' way.

My father was a perfectionist (by his own claim and admission). It took a lot to please him. From the simplest of things - like how his handkerchief was ironed, for e.g., to the tough ones - like my mum's Phd thesis chapters. Which she wrote painstakingly, burning much oil well past midnight, and he proof read for her, taking way-too-long to finish the work.

We are all, in some sense, messed up by our parents, I suppose. I was (am) very close to both of them. When I was small (age-wise, I mean), I was inseparable from my mum. As I hit teenage, my thirst for independence overwhelmed my need to be closely attached to her. I suspect she was also changing at that point of time - at least her life was changing, and we had less time for each other.

Due to the big elephant in our living room - dad's health - we all tiptoed around other parts of our lives, as much as we could. It was almost embarrassing, in light of all he was going through, to talk about your problems. Not that I had much to worry about, being a very disciplined child (something that I get entirely from mum), I was on top of all my shit.

He was hungry to learn, my dad. Constantly reading, and thinking. We were starved for good reading material, in those days. Not like now, when I can download it and read it on my phone. He used to read a certain book on Chemistry so often, I would have expected he'd know it by heart. He'd sit down and analyse any new device that showed up - and experiment with everything.

He was mostly unsuccessfully in his research, I think. When I got frustrated with anything that 'didn't work' the first time I tried it (or the second or third or fiftieth time, like with our joint effort to make a mirror out of a piece of glass), he would say "Did you enjoy it? Did you learn something from it? Did you analyse it scientifically? Well then, there you go."

Mom on the other hand is, to date, a completely un-analytical person. She will ingest any theory you throw at her. She used to make a file filled with newspaper cuttings for me - offering advice and tips on everything from menstrual cramps to yoga and anything in between. She stopped now because she knows I dismiss all things written in newspapers...

And so I plod on, at the mid-point between these two whose genes I inherited. I have no lazy bone in my body; and I like to be speedy in everything. Which makes me so very like my mum. But every so often, I want to be left alone, to think and analyse things, to search high and low in my mind, to re-read my books for the umpteenth time, for no tangible reason and just..sort..of..float...