What it takes

I was rushing down the footpath to the local market. The kids would soon come in from play and I needed groceries before I locked down for the night. I’d worked late and was off my schedule. If I didn’t hurry it up, they’d come home to a locked door.

And then I got stuck behind a mother and a child. She had an annoyingly shrill voice and I mention this only because I was already hot, tired and cranky and this was the last straw above the cacophony of horns. Except that the annoying voice was patiently answering baby questions – Mama, why are there more white cars than black?

They didn’t know I was behind them, or maybe they didn’t realise I was in a rush. They were walking abreast, taking up all of the path and I couldn’t get past them. I slowed down and listened to the baby lilt – Mama, woh police uncle kya kar raha hai?

Finally I realised I was beyond late and hopped off the path, on to the road and oncoming traffic and then back on again. Only to get stuck behind yet another mother and child. I can’t recall what her voice sounded like but as she held the little baby hand and walked along, slowing down to keep pace with the baby steps.

Mama, catty kahan gaya?

Mama, catty mera friend hai?

I was hurrying to the shops to get groceries for the kids’ tiffin, and I had to get home in time to let them in. Hurry, hurry, hurry.

That’s the stage we’ve reached now – where everything needs to run on some sort of a schedule. And most of it rushes by in a blur.

I’ve forgotten what it was like when everything was in slow motion. Walking slowly to keep up with unsteady feet. Holding back as small fingers fumbled with shoelaces. Practically sitting on my hands as a baby fist grasped a small teaspoon and brought rice to its mouth, spilling 90% before it reached its destination.

And a reminder of what parenthood really entails. All these endless acts of patience. You don’t go braindead doing this, as most people suspect. You learn patience, compassion and you appreciate what it takes for a muscle to move in a certain way, for a mind to comprehend a certain concept.

And as dusk fell, I went home appreciating the time I’ve spent with them. Ready to enjoy the bustle that lay ahead. Looking forward to what tomorrow brings.

And oh – I did get home before them. Phew!

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13 thoughts on “What it takes

  1. Loved this post. Reminded me that even now, I need to have patience and ‘sit on my hands’ as the kid struggles with something, instead of rushing in to do it quickly for her.

  2. No MM, “You learn patience, compassion and you appreciate what it takes for a muscle to move in a certain way, for a mind to comprehend a certain concept,” when you do it the way you guys do it. I’ve seen braindead parents out there, which is why I appreciate the likes of you and some others so much more.

  3. Was speaking to my former boss yesterday, She has a baby boy and we were discussing jobs..how a tough call to juggle work and baby hood.. a tough call but I ask one needs to be patient in life.

  4. shrill voices, oof, my bane always to be stuck on planes, buses and grocery lines. But I wonder is it only me who find them shrill. What about their better half and their babies? Ah, I’ll never know:-)

    Yup, I know what you mean by the ‘blur’. We call ourselves the express train these days, M and I. Everything is rush, rush, rush even though for many reasons our lives have slowed down a tad to accommodate for my many needs. I find myself longing for long gone mornings when M would bring six month V to our bed and he would cackle, squeal, drool, clamber while we got some more zzz…..or tried to anyways.

    Happy summer to you MM and the brats(all three of them)

  5. I guess there is a different joy ( & struggle) with each phase of parenting and different parents enjoy different phases. I know a friend who really doesn’t particularly like the non-communicating, diaper-phase phase that babies are in, She loves the phase when she can have meaningful conversations with them. Whereas my mom, she loves that baby-phase. She loves burying her head in the baby-soft skin n cuddling layers of skin against her chest. I believe your fav phase( so far) is also when they are babies, right MM?

    On a related but different note..what did you think of Indra Nooyi’s much-published interview? I have read positive & negative views and wanted to hear your POV. Mind sharing?

    • Yep. I love the chubby baby phase 🙂
      I meant to comment on Nooyi’s interview but I have a feeling the poor woman’s words have been taken apart too often now to do it again. Sigh. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  6. Oh God, were you the lady in rush right behind me? I swear I have had a similar cat conversation with my daughter, right down to the irritating “catty” 🙂

  7. As the mother of a 2.5 year old and a new one about to arrive in 6 weeks, this made me feel warm and fuzzy and ashamed at the same time. Ashamed because of my internal battles when I want to be ‘productive’ and a present parent simultaneously. But it also made me happy to remember the slow, silly, long conversations I had with my son today, similar to what you’ve written about. Sigh.

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