It’s the paradox that all parents are faced with. The time when our kids are young, is also the time when we are just setting up home, establishing our careers, getting a grip on our adult responsibilities. Between the constant juggling that household chores, career requirements and social responsibilities demand, time slips by. And before we know it, our kids are grown up! Raised by doting grandparents, if we are lucky! or in the company of maids and other hired help.
I had my two kids, back to back. Kabir, my younger one is just Nineteen months younger than his sister Maya. The first three years of their lives together are a blur! The details lost in the endless stream of dirty bottles and soiled diapers. I remember, my predominant thought from that time was of getting away! Getting away from the seemingly endless cries to be fed, burped, cleaned or put to bed. And even from their cute but incessant, high pitched childish prattle. I craved for silence. For a day, an hour, even a few minutes! I wasn’t a bad Mom! Just a harassed mom!
My best friend, those days was also a working mom. We shared notes about our sleep deprived lives. Bemoaning the endless list of tasks we faced each morning. It also upset us that we had very little time or energy left to concentrate on our hard earned careers. We looked forward to the time when the kids would grow up and we could ‘reclaim’ our normal lives.
The friend’s son has now come to class five. This month he leaves home to join a prestigious residential school. She will finally have more ‘her’ time. More time to spend on her work and leisure! But instead of rejoicing she can’t stop crying. I understand her sorrow completely. The thought that I will be in her place, seeing off my own little girl, next year fills me with dread. And, a sense of regret! Here are a few words (Not really a poem!) that express my thoughts.
My little girl
All ready to fly
Now that it’s time to let go
I wonder why?
Why I didn’t?
Spend more time
Playing with dolls,
composing silly rhymes,
Sipping tea from little cups
Pretend playing and dressing up
Why didn’t I sit for more hours?
With her head on my laps
Mindless of my chores
Playing childish games
“Peek a Boo”, “Guess that name”
Visiting the “tickling monster “
Making funny faces, to hear her roar with laughter
Did I really get enough?
Bubble baths and cook ups
Neighborhood treks and sand play
Hopping races and modeling Clay
Sunday picnics, long evenings in the park
Surprise treats and heart to hearts
Why we didn’t finger paint more often
Or just lie in bed and have more fun
I wish when I still had the time
I’d scolded lesser and praised her more,
Corrected lesser and encouraged more,
Punished lesser and sympathized more
Scheduled lesser and indulged more
Why was I in such a hurry?
For her to read her own night time story
To feed herself
Choose her own dress
Get herself ready
Make her own decisions
Always in rush to make her independent!
Now I miss the times she looked for me
Seeking me out for every thing
To fix a button or tie a lace
Make her hair or wipe her face
Why did I waste all those precious hours
Getting angry, disciplining her hard
And that incessant chatter
That wouldn’t stop
Why didn’t I listen to it with all my heart?
Cause fulfilling my other responsibilities
All my life I can spend
But my little girl
won’t come back now
Her childhood has come to an end
How were you placed time-wise when your children were young? Did you feel like you had enough time to enjoy their childhood with them? I would love to hear your experiences.