Well, this is a response to your overwhelming response on the last post. This and the Jasmine post had a lot of you praising me and I can’t help but feel like a fraud. Because they were not meant to be about me or about anything that I have done. Heck, I didn’t even think they had anything to with me or that my part was praiseworthy. So if any sense of pride came through in them, I must look deeper and rethink and rewrite, and beg your forgiveness, because that’s not what they were meant to be.
Both those posts were my tribute to the resilience and indomitable spirit that children seem to have. My son who took changes in school, teaching, life and much more until he broke under the pressure. For rising above everything and fighting his demons and getting back on track. And much more praiseworthy than him, the two little flower selling boys who don’t have the privileged life that my son does. Who rose above their poverty to make a very sweet gesture.
Getting back to the Brat, I think his problem is something that I feared right from the start. He is gentle, sensitive and easily hurt. Perhaps I feed into it at some level by being the mother I am, constantly on edge, looking out for insults and barbs and being a prickly person, just so that I can wrap myself around his gentle core and protect him.
Perhaps our decision to take him out of that school was wrong too. Maybe I should have left him in that school to get whacked and scolded so as to toughen him up to face the real world. But I just don’t have the strength to watch him go through that rite of passage and if that makes me a weak, terrible, paranoid mother, so be it – it’s who I am. I don’t care for anybody else’s opinion on my parenting. There is only one person who has a right to judge me and whose opinion on my parenting him matters and that is my son alone.
Sadly, it’s only when he is an adult and looking back on his life that I will know whether my choices were right or wrong and I fret over it day and night. Perhaps I make too big an issue of this thing called motherhood. Or parenthood. But what bigger wrong can one do than screw up another human being’s life? It’s like awaiting my appraisal and knowing that by the time it comes, it might be too late to do a better job.
I wonder how I will justify my choices. If my son accuses me of making wrong decisions on his behalf, how am I going to beg his forgiveness? How will he know that I meant him no harm? That I did the best I could as a first time parent. As a young mother fumbling my way through.
I gave it a lot of thought on those long nights I sat up holding a cranky colicky newborn, wondering whether to leave him in his crib or hold him close (in case you’re wondering, I kept him in my lap). And eventually I came to one conclusion. I might make many mistakes but the only way to go about it without second guessing and worrying over each step was to get one thing clear – decisions that concerned him in any way, had to ensure that he had the best deal, never mind how it affected my life or what it cost me in terms of personal growth or gain. It might sound regressive and it’s the kind of line that is sure to bring in trolls, but its the truth and nothing less. So every decision that I took, was weighed in those terms.
Breast or bottle? Whatever is better for him. Never mind if my breasts soon get to be neighbours to my knees. Daycare or SAHM – (this one I admit was partly also because I am a possessive old cow who didn’t like the idea of anyone else having more of my baby than I did) and SAHM won. We had a choice of moving to Bombay – its the best place for an investment banker as well as a media person but we preferred Delhi for the larger homes, the parks and the green areas that give children space to play and so we chose it. Yes, children will grow up just about any way and any place you decide to raise them, and if the OA went back to his transferable job, we’d just have to keep uprooting them every few years, which is nothing more than most army kids. But he had a choice to change jobs and we took the one that seemed to be the best for them. For its stability. And so on – you get the idea…
Which is not to say other parents don’t or that we’re saints, but that we figured this was the best way to deal with the confusion that invariably comes when making choices that affect another person’s life. Why do we pick the children over ourselves? Simply because they don’t have a voice yet and it’s unfair to make a decision that isn’t the most beneficial to them after having brought them into this world.
I know it’s nice to take an afternoon off and go for a pedicure and it won’t kill them to be given one expressed feed a week, but each time I go to make one of those decisions it just seems like such a small thing to forgo when the benefits and losses to them are so much bigger than they are to me. I don’t look at choices I make as sacrifices, I don’t feel guilt, I don’t think of it as duty. They simply seem like the right thing to do – for me, as well as them. Nothing more or less. And for me, simply because I want to do what I feel is best for them.
Am I making sense? I don’t know. All I know is that I should quit rambling now and give you guys a break! Again, thank you for the praise – I don’t deserve it. Thank you for the wishes and prayers – we can never have enough.