Call it social conditioning or nature’s plan for survival, a woman feeling her biological clock ticking is a very real phenomenon. Whatever maybe our life's goal, being a mother, for most of us, is high on the list of priorities.
Once we feel the tick tock, the sight of gurgling babies in prams, mothers watching their little girls running in parks, fathers with little boys perched on their shoulders...all turn our insides into jelly and we feel a sharp stab of longing. You can be a princess of a nation or a CEO of a multinational company but in that moment we all want to be that mother in the park.
For me that picture perfect image of a happy family, blissfully content in their mundane domesticity, became a passionate ambition. Memories of my happy childhood, secure in my father’s hug and mother’s warmth were all I ever wanted to share with children of my own.
As far as ambitions go, mine was a fairly reasonable one and my dreams did come predictably true. I transformed into that pram-pushing, park going, bubble blowing mother of two as though it was all I was born to do. Enveloped in my bubble of contentment, I never for once took for granted the joy of your dreams coming true.
Needless to say, I was blissfully happy. That is, until I was given....The Unwanted Promotion.
Somewhere in my dreams I forgot that life does go on without the luxury of a pause button! Which means our angelic babies grow into loving, adorable toddlers who then grow into obedient school going children and then unhappy rebellious teenagers. (Why all teenagers are unhappy is one of life's greatest hormonal mysteries).
And with each growth spurt that your child has, it becomes mandatory for the parent to have one too. So while I applied for the job of mother to a cherubic baby and a carefree toddler, with the sincerest intention of giving that job my very best, I felt unqualified for the promotion to mother of older children.
Well, I am learning on the job. But it's not an easy one anymore.
When did stories about Red Riding Hood and Cinderella evolve into the Mohenjodaro and the Egyptian civilization, I will never know.
Seems like just yesterday when they were in teddy bear onesies with little attached booties. But those have now been replaced by jeans that are almost as long as mine.
When did hours spent playing with a tent full of dolls become boring compared to a mobile full of games and Whatsapp forwards?
When did books that exactly predicted their first year milestones abandon my book shelf leaving a void of the unknown?
Just like that, my children have grown up. Which must mean that I am growing older. Whether I feel it or not.
While I felt more than qualified to kiss away scraped knees, I am nervous about what to do with the inevitable broken heart.
I could confidently dance like a circus clown at a birthday party, but am not yet prepared for the job of a pacing security guard waiting for my children to return home from a party.
I could make up stories about fairies and goblins in my sleep but now am having nightmares about the days when I will have to separate fact from fiction in the stories that my children will be spinning.
I feel inadequate for this promotion. And yet I cannot refuse the job. So each night when my children fall asleep, I sneak into their rooms to see the remnants of my little babies in these fast growing faces, and I remember the times when they wouldn't sleep until I tucked them in. Soon I won't be allowed to do even this without a knock and a lock separating us. And while I am proud of the people they have become and I feel the joy that they feel with every step that they take towards independence, I pray to God for the strength and the qualifications I need for this promotion:
As I watch my beautiful, little babies sleep tonight,
My heart is engulfed by a strange, sad fright
One day these hands won't be so little anymore,
Each day when they wake up, some more they grow
Tonight as they snuggle closer to me in their sleep,
Their warm loving bodies cuddle me so deep
Soon it won't matter to them if I'm not always there,
No one will say "Mama you come" everywhere
No one will ask me, "Mama what should I wear?"
No one will need me to brush their hair
Promise me God then you'll be with them,
You will hold their hand, You will watch their step
Promise me God, You will wipe my tears,
That I shed in memory of these beautiful years
Of days when in one bed we all would lay,
When tickles and giggles would fill our day
My dear God, if I have another life to live,
I pray to You give me just one gift
Promise me You'll bless me once more with this bittersweet pain,
Promise me You'll let me be a mother again!
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A reader, dreamer, traveller, and a shopa-choco-holic beyond repair!! I'm best described as a teacher by qualification, a writer by passion and a mother by profession! Born and brought up in Mumbai, I have worked as a playschool teacher and freelance writer, contributing to several leading [...]