Saturday, October 20, 2012

Motherhood: A Song for life

This is an interesting contest from Women's web and I could not help participating in it. Nice way to return to the blog world isn't it? Happy reading.

I first became a mother long back. 38 years to be precise. It seems strange to write about my experiences as a new and not so new mother. Was I prepared to handle motherhood? When did I actually become a mother in the real sense? Becoming a mother is easy being one is not. At least that is what I’ve experienced. My experience as a mother is like a spectrum of colors that are dispersed from a prism when light is passed through it. Some were joyous some were challenging. There were ‘Aha’ moments as well as anxious ones. But all these emotions combine into an integrated unit called motherhood. I am really in a philosophical mode and my analysis of the experiences I went through may just help me to define my role as a mother.

I have narrated my traumatic experience during my first pregnancy earlier. For all that I went through I was rewarded with a bouncy baby girl who seemed to be the prettiest girl on earth. She was sucking her thumb when the nurse brought her over after a bath and I remember thinking that she would be the much needed prop to adjust with my acquired family including my husband. I was proud of my princess and was very sure she would win everyone over. And she did! My mother in law was so delighted to hear baby sounds in the house after 20 years that she would not trust anyone to bathe or feed the child. We had to allow her to assess the temperature of milk before pouring into the feeder and she would check if her porridge was properly cooked before giving the child a spoonful. My unmarried sister in law would play with her every waking minute, dress her up like a doll and take her out every evening. It was then that a sense of insecurity that seemed to bother me.  I began to doubt if my daughter would ever bond with me. I somehow felt that she preferred the company of her aunt and grandmother. While I was happy about the affection the family showered on her, I felt left out and unwanted. But children have their own way of expressing their priority and preference and my 11 month old daughter did just that.

My sister in law would put the child to sleep by her side at night and since she was not breast feeding it really did not matter. However she would wake up around 4 in the morning and cry for milk. We would have milk ready in a flask and a duly sterilized feeding bottle by the side. My sister in law would pour the milk into the bottle but the brat would not let her touch the bottle after that. “Pamma”(combining Padma and amma) she would scream meaning that thereafter I had to take charge and give her milk. – it did not matter who filled the feeding bottle. I would squat on the floor and she would lie down on my lap hold the bottle with her hands and drink up the milk. After that she would pick up her little pillow and accompany me to my room and cuddle up by my side. I realized then that I had worried in vain. No one in the world could take my place.

The times when my children got admission to reputed schools in Jamshedpur were momentous. My heart would sink when I would see parents give their children extra coaching for admission tests. I could not afford tuitions so I would frame simple questions and coach them on my own. There were little facilities I could not give them and I felt terribly guilty about it. But these inadequacies did not bother them. It only helped them to become confident and self assured. My second daughter was hardly ten years old when she would come home by town bus along with a friend and her younger sister. On one occasion her friend had raging fever and could not board the bus. My daughter approached an auto rickshaw driver and asked him if could drop them home. She also told him that she only had money for their bus fare and asked him if he would accept the amount adding that her friend was not in a position to board the bus. The man dropped her home and went away without asking her for extra money. It did not even occur to her that she could come home and ask for the extra fare. Her concern for her friend made me proud of her and it was an “Aha” moment for me!

My son got in and out of trouble as a teenager as recounted here and here. The trust he placed in me and his expectation that mummy would set things right makes me realize that motherhood means much more than the joy one feels on holding the little one for the first time. Motherhood was a responsibility and even while standing up for one's children ethics and morals could not be compromised. I am glad I was able to do just that.

My grand daughter rings me up with complaints about her mother and I realize that I am still expected to reprimand my daughter when need arises! My grandchildren see an ally in me who helps them tackle their own mommy. Finally when my 32 year old son calls me up to say that an advice - to concentrate on one thing at a time - that I had given him when he was in school, came in handy when he faced a crisis at work I realized that my hair may have grayed and I may have put on 15 Kgs of weight but I may never ever retire from my post as a mother!

So from what I see motherhood is a song that begins as a lullaby that she sings for her little one. It gets transformed into a motivational song when the kid is being prepared to face life and becomes an inspirational one when the child settles down. The lyrics may change but the essence remains!