By Parul Ojha
When you are the mother of two kids less than 10 years, your responsibilities escalate, but paradoxically, you learn to slow down.
Children have their own way of realigning you to what’s truly important. Just one walk with your two-year-old opens your eyes to this magnificent creation of God called Life. You notice things that always existed but that you never saw. That tiny centipede on your staircase. The sky full of stars. That newly blossomed bud in your neighbour’s pot. They make you reconnect with nature, God and yourself.
Children are also so conscious in each moment. Fortunately, they have not yet learnt to multitask and so they live each moment as if it is the only one. Children can’t wait to open a gift till the guests leave, just as they can’t save a chocolate for tomorrow. Actually, who’s seen that tomorrow? Now is the only time we have.
Their thoughts, actions and words always coincide. They’ll laugh when they are amused, cry when sad, and speak their mind. I recently took my kids for a movie; I also took my parents along. My father asked my seven-year-old son, “Sweetie, why did you want grandpa to watch the movie with you?” I smiled. My compliment-seeking father would get a reality check from my son. My son replied “Oh! We wanted to come with mummy and grandma only, but who would have driven us here?” Truth spoken so courageously, so gallantly, had the desired effect. We all burst out laughing.
Children don’t bear grudges. They forgive minutes after a fight. My mother taught in a school at a time when domestic help was not easily available or affordable. She used to be overworked taking care of her job, the kids, and household tasks. One day, torn between my super-clingy five-month-old sister and heaps of unfinished household chores, Mom slapped my sister impatiently, and said, “Leave me alone, will you?” Even as my sister cried, she extended her delicate little arms requesting to be lifted yet again. In a thoughtless moment you hit a child, and live with the remorse, only to realise that your child did not even sulk for a minute. If we could learn to forgive that easily, how light our emotional baggage would be.
Being a parent gives you a crash course in self-discovery and self-betterment. Through the sleepless nights of changing wet cloths on my son’s forehead when he ran fever, I was surprised to meet the patient, caring, selflessly loving person that I never knew I was.
Most importantly, children have a way of centering you. They have such limited needs. Mostly biological, and a few emotional. The clamour for materialism has not yet awakened in them. How easy and comforting it is to live so simply.
Children reinvent the world for you. The world that God wants us to live in. All that you’re running to acquire, such as happiness, leisure, peace, and tranquillity, come to children so effortlessly. So many of the lessons that my God perhaps struggled to teach me in my growing years, my kids have taught me. This reminds me of a quote from Bob Marley, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” My kids made me meet me.
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