Yep. Would you believe it? Eight years of the Brat, seven years of this blog.
When he was born, they called him the Prince of Peace. Blasphemous, I know, but true. There were factions of our families, both the OA’s as well as mine, that didn’t get along with each other, with us, various combinations and permutations. They all came together to hold this child in their arms and they smiled over him at each other. It’s been 8 years and those relationships prosper. Even as I rejected my son, the world, my world, embraced him and each other. If I could turn back time I’d embrace him with all my heart from the moment I laid eyes on him. As it stands, he earned it.
It’s ironic because now the Bean tells me, ‘You’re not my choice of mama’ (she comes running with a little sorry card a while later), but she says it. My son on the other hand, comes home from school, wraps his arms around my waist, buries his face in me and breathes in the smell of me, rests. We don’t speak – he doesn’t like too much talk. And then he leaves me and goes off for a little quiet time. It’s usually in the backyard, under the pomegranate trees. They shade him from the hot summer sun and he sits there for a while until he’s ready to talk, mix, join the living.
We call him lovey-dovey and sometimes dove, for short. And he reminds me of a dove. Gentle, peaceful. The Bean’s feisty, vivaciousness grab one’s attention. The Brat, on the other hand, observes our guests and waits for the one who isn’t all over them. He then gently befriends that person. I realised later, this is his way of drawing out people as quiet as himself, his way of being a good host.
Over the last year I’ve grown closer to him. To the extent where it feels at times, like I wanted him, not the Bean, with all my heart and soul. And this just comes around to show you that you don’t always know what you need, but you get it. The Bean and I feed off each other’s hyperactivity and go nuts. This one, my son, he calms me down. He makes me see what is important and what is merely a frill. In his childlike way, with his ancient wisdom, he makes me a better person. And isn’t that what it usually boils down to? What the other person makes you feel? Well, the Brat makes me want to be a better person. Create a better world for him.
The other day he came home without his homework worksheet. He’d given it to his friend. When I asked him why, he said it’s because you sacrifice for friends. The word was discordant, coming from a child’s mouth. What does a child understand of sacrifice? And yet, he’d just given the sheet to his friend and was ready to go to school and get into trouble.
I don’t pretend to understand the Brat. He is his own person. At some level he is beyond innocent. The kids on the bus are talking about their boyfriends and girlfriends and I know the Bean will be there soon. But the Brat, he looks up and blinks, and then asks you if you know what the Great White Shark weighs.
Over the last year he’s begun to play football and shows a serious amount of talent but very little interest. His Hindi sucks, his English HW is done minutes and Math needs to be made into a game for him to take interest and speed through it. But science, science engages him in the way literature engaged me. I sit with this asinine look on my face and listen to him rattle off facts. I’m absorbing nothing. I’m just watching him light up and I’m feeling my heart tumble over and over again. I fall in love with him and he knows it.
When he does something he knows I disapprove of, he walks up to me and pulls me down for a kiss. Every morning he leaves for school without his bag. Every morning I scream like a banshee. Every morning he walks back, kisses me on the forehead to shut me up, and walks off. Again, without his bag. I groan in frustration. He takes after his father.
He can live without me. He’s very strong and that core of calm makes him strong. He takes his rights and wrongs very seriously. He picks a side. And for that quality alone, I am so proud of him.
Happy Birthday my little Brat (a misnomer if ever) – I love you more than life itself.