Mother’s Day is this Sunday. A day that is very special for every mother. We pat ourselves on the backs for doing our best for our kids. For me, Mother’s Day is doubly special as my older son was born on this day. So I became a mother on Mother’s Day. Being a mother has been one of the most cherished and fulfilling roles for me despite the angsts and challenges.
As you enter your 40s and your kids hit their teenage, there is a feeling of apprehension as they step into adulthood. Parents lose their grasp over the children’s thoughts as they emerge into new independent people. It is in a way desirable as well and logical too. Because we don’t own our children, not their lives, not their mindspaces.
To be a parent is freakishly tough. We have to be good and kind, sensible and sensitive, logical and motivating at all times. How difficult is that as we are flawed individuals ourselves. We have our off days. We have our glaring negative traits. We may be immature or impatient, short-tempered or opinionated. Yes, we are human. And of course, all our behaviours distill down to our kids as they observe and absorb like sponges. Like it or not, we are a huge influence on our children. The opinions we share at home, how we react to situations, how we react with them – everything gets stored in their DNA, sculpting their own persona. It is quite amazing how in many ways, children are so much a reflection of their parents, not only because of the genetics but also because of the behaviour they imbibe. It is scary too.
And hence when you see your child become a mature, thinking, well-mannered person, you can’t help but feel pride for it, for somewhere you have a tiny hand in it. At the same time, let us not give ourselves all the credit. We bring up two kids in the same house, having similar genes and environment and yet they turn out like chalk and cheese. Different passions, aptitudes and so very different in their opinions and attitudes. Why am I discussing this?
For one, the older son turns 16 today and it is Mother’s Day as well. There is a lot I’ve shared on this blog about him. To have been witness to his transformation into a confident young man and a friend has been something which feels surreal and in a way, a blessing. I guess the true reason why we became parents in the first place is to see life we have given take a beautiful and meaningful shape. It gives you a sense of achievement like no other. He is at the cusp of adulthood. He is pretty mature yet the child in him surfaces on many occasions. Especially when his younger brother gets his goat. 🙂 Over the years, he has seen me at my best and worst. He has been around to offer his sagely counsel when I am down. He is there to help and emotionally support me when I need it. He also critiques me when needed. People say you need women to understand women, for support and encouragement. Sometimes, it is the sons who do a great job as well. I am lucky in that regard.
I think his most admirable trait is that he is a young man with his own mind. A lot of people think that I influence his thought process. It’s actually not true. What is true is that many of our interest areas and opinions are aligned but purely because we think similarly on many things. We do have different opinions too. And that is something I love. To raise a child who weighs all sides and then forms his own opinion is something truly precious. Unlike many parents, I don’t want my kids to be clones of their parents. They should be our better versions. Hopefully, they’ve taken the best of both of us and added their own generous good qualities to it. In the older son’s case, I believe he has.
As he steps into a very important phase in his life, I hope that he always maintains this discerning disposition, that he stays the kind and sensitive person that he is with a goofy sense of humour and that bright smile that can light up any room.
Just like every parent, I want my child to perform to the best of his potential. But unlike other parents, I have no career I have pushed him into. One thing I know for sure is that he will sparkle in whatever he chooses. And in me he has a supporter he can always count on whether the chips are up or down.
Happy 16th, dear Sid. I wish that you get everything that destiny has in store for you and more. I am very proud of you for the person that you have turned out to be. You are my best Mother’s Day gift ever!