They say while experiencing parenthood, “The days are long, and the years are short.” Perhaps no other relationship has power over us to mold, shape, emphasize, and reveal. It is the most challenging and rewarding role we will ever undertake. As a parent, you all know too well the daily reflections that children inspire in our lives.
So today, I will pen down specific conversations with my daughter that made me ponder or change my way of thinking.
My daughter, Prarthana, is a listener and a born talker. I started noticing her thought process when we had attended one of our cousins’ marriages in 2018. Not to forget, this was the first time my daughter ever witnessed an Indian wedding in real life. She was very curious to know about the bride and the number of ornaments she wore. Those who have attended any South Indian weddings must have noticed that the bride will not be visible in the majority of the marriages because of the ornaments she adorns. By the way, in our friend circle, everyone calls my daughter “why Pathu ” coz she has questions for every word we utter, so, true to her nature, she started asking me questions like “where is she getting all this gold?” “who is spending money on the decorations?” I openly told her that the bride’s father paid for all the expenses. Pat came to the next question “what’s the boy’s father doing?” “Is he spending on his son’s marriage?” “Why is the boy not wearing gold?” “Why do only girls have to wear gold?” my head was reeling. I honestly did not know the answer as I never questioned it myself. Now comes the time for the bride to leave for her husband’s place. AGAIN, QUESTIONS! “Why is she going with him?” I patiently said, “that’s the ritual; after marriage, she has to stay at her husband’s place.” “When will she come back to her house?” I said, “whenever she gets time.”
Complete silence. “Mamma, if she is going to stay with her husband at his place who will look after her parents?” “The boy has responsibility, so does she.” Then came the bomb. “Mamma I am not going to get married when I grow up. I cannot leave you all alone and go stay somewhere else. See, you are looking after me now and when I grow up it’s my turn to look after you.” I was startled by her response. She was right. We should raise a boy and a girl the same way. If the boy is responsible for his parents, so does a girl.
Just this Diwali, we were going out for a Diwali Dinner. In the lift, we met a small boy and a lady. As we were in traditional attire, the lady started asking about the occasion, and she wished us, and then we noticed that the boy was not looking at us. We deduced that he was a particular child. Once they got out of the lift, my son commented, “Mamma, did you see the boy? He is like one of my classmates,” and he proceeded to tell me about him. Suddenly, my daughter said, “Don’t show your sympathy to him and Bhaiyya, he is perfect the way he is.” I gazed at her for a moment, thinking how to respond. Then and there, she taught us that Empathy is stronger than Sympathy.
Prarthana was selected as a Prefect; understandably, there was total excitement around the house. She had an interview, and I offered to train her. Confidently, she said, “no need, Mamma I can do it by myself. Being a lazy mother, I accepted it. I enquired about her interview, and she said, “Mamma, Ma’am asked me if a student can’t understand a math concept, say addition, as a student leader, how will you help her?” My daughter replied about how she will help them and that just helping is not enough, but to keep a check on their progress is the most important thing. I was pleasantly surprised at this maturity. That is precisely where we, adults, fail at times.
Everyone has self-doubts, sporadically, regularly, and rarely, but we still have them. If you take a minute to observe the people around you — I mean, REALLY LOOK, you might start to see the beauty in others and begin to recognize it in yourself. Who does not love to hear the words “You are beautiful” or “You are handsome”? These magic words bring a smile, EVERYTIME. Unfortunately, everyone is not the complimenting kind. It took a 9yr old girl to tell me, “Mamma, don’t worry, it doesn’t matter if you are fat or thin if you do make-up or not, you are the most beautiful girl in the world. And that one seemingly simple sentence gives us so much self-confidence and motivation.