“Becoming a child again is what is impossible. That’s what you have a legitimate reason to be upset over. Childhood is the most valuable thing that’s taken away from you in life, if you think about it. “
– Heather O’Neill
We were at Anna’s brother’s place – the cousins were playing Monopoly except for the youngest, who is usually kicked out of such board games given his short attention span and disruptive nature. I had sneaked upstairs to catch up with my reading whilst the others were having their dinner. It wasn’t easy trying to read with noisy kids around but I happily welcomed their natter, loving the feeling of family around me.
It is a joyous experience for me to see my daughter amongst her favourite people in the world – her cousins. My niece means the world to her and my girl hangs on to every single word she utters. All of a sudden I sensed the game wrapping up – it was kind of abrupt and so I looked up my reading to see my daughter downcast while my niece and nephew were packing up. I found that my gal had accidentally brushed the pieces on the board while leaning forward to pick up something and seeing that it was close to bed-time my niece had called it quits rather than setting the board again. The cousins left for downstairs while my daughter was quietly sitting in her corner. I did not find anything amiss and would have quickly returned to where I had left reading, when something made me glance again in my daughter’s direction. I then realised she was trying her to best to hold back her tears and at my enquiry, quickly let the flood gates open. Amidst the sobs and gasps, I managed to hear the words she was choking on “we were having a good time, why do I always ruin good moments?”
My daughter isn’t exactly well coordinated – call it childish clumsiness or her leggy awkwardness, she is usually accident prone….something I hope she will soon outgrow of. But this did not seem the moment to point it out, rather my heart went out to her, self berating herself over something that was purely an accident. Besides, blaming herself for everything that goes wrong in the universe seemed totally “Sujatha” to me and the last thing I wanted for my daughter was to be a pea of the same pod and to believe in the “Sujatha” touch. A few hugs and kisses, some kind words and the worst disaster seemed to be averted. She was back to her confident self in the safe haven of my arms and bouncing down the stairs to make herself the star of perhaps another accident zone. I sat there marvelling at the resilient nature of kids, tears one moment, smiles the another – how hopeful and kind the world seemed to be at such an innocent and tender age.
I could not return back to my book instead I found myself wanting to be a child again. I wanted to believe in the wholeness of my universe again, to fall back to the magic of comforting words and tender hugs – I too wanted a wand that could make my world better again. Somewhere in the task of raising two kids and being an adult ( at least attempting to ), I found that I had come a long way from my own parents – today I stop to turn and look behind and find myself quite alone. Sometimes I think I wait for my mother’s voice asking me to wrap up my playacting ( as an adult) and come home as it is getting dark.
The last few months have been so difficult for me – the past offering no comfort, the present and the future quite bleak. Too many painful decisions to take, one step ahead, two steps behind…..leaving me with the illusion of no progress made despite time flying past quickly. Like an alzheimer’s addled brains sometimes interspersed with lucid moments, I too have optimistic moments, but lately they have been very few on stocktake. In the end, I am left wanting for support…..comforting words that would bolster my self-esteem, rebuild my confidence, restore my faith in people and relationships…….perhaps this is where I envy my religious friends who seem to have their faith as a security blanket…….alas, no fattening of calves for this prodigal daughter…….home is still a far way to go.
“Amma”…..I hear Mugil’s cry permeating my consciousness and breaking into my reverie of thoughts. I am gently brought back to earth, his cry reminding me that life is not cyclic – once a phase is completed, it stays concluded. I can no longer return to being a child, besides did I not spend my childhood wanting to grow into an adult …..so, what am I talking about now? Is one’s life all about wishing about pastures yonder?
I am slipping back on my mantle of adulthood, hastily skipping down the stairs to resume my role of the mother…….perhaps, to feel needed is a luxury too, I better enjoy it before the kids outgrow the need for their security blanket, their mom :)