Our son speedily came bursting out to our lives (literally!) on a sunny autumn’s day almost three years ago. I have seen and heard many an occasion how children change your lives but you never really know until this happens to you. It’s nothing short of a miracle.
Amidst all clinical commotion, two of the most beautiful eyes were staring at me, putting everything else and all physical pain into oblivion. Those questioning eyes were full of wonder, asking me all that is on life and this world he has just come into. Little did I know that he would be the one who will plunge me into a world that I never knew exist. I would not like to compare this to anything. My experiences with abseiling, downhill skiing, white-water-rafting or snorkeling (diving would be far relevant here although not in my personal list) has given me a rush with varying bursts of adrenalin. It’s as if being in a parallel universe with that momentary feeling of time standing still. Except in this case, it is for a lifetime, for real and re-living day to day!
My usual workaholic, predictable life with carefree travel and leisure came to a screaming stop! I was seeing these eyes and tiny hands and letting them guide me to this other world. Or rather same world, yet so very different! I was teary scared but knew it had to be done! Slowly as we got into the rigorous rhythm of having a son and he discovering us, we began to see the light… little treasures that he put before us, bringing forth new meaning into our lives. If I were to try to lay out some of these precious gems I carry with me today, this would be it!
1. Life is for the living – I learned how precious time can be, not that of one hour to go before a report is due but that of every minute’s agony in labour where you feel your bones are being crushed! You wait every minute thinking this will be the moment where the pain ends and joys begin. Every minute makes a difference. Every minute counts. So does every day bringing new changes and every month bringing new milestones!
2. World is for the wanderer – There is pure joy in taking delight in the simplest things in life. Take a flight together and you will be amazed at the lengths you can go and even more in how far your child can go or can take you to. So always explore, always question, feed that imagination and you will be surprised in what great discoveries you will make.
3. Early bird catches the worm – As painful as early wake ups are (part and parcel of being a parent!), they DO have their upside… the glorious sunrise at dawn, with birds flocking in fresh, tender untouched dew drops on grass, the supremely serene scenes all around, not to forget the hot baked bread! Nature is addictive and spell bounding especially if you meet its early embrace.
4. Honesty is the best policy – We were amazed at the young mind’s acute memory, firm grasp of facts in one go, albeit his repeated questions. He is trying to make sense of this world. Be frank, consistent with the answers and help him connect the dots and there is pure wonder in how fast he learns!
5. Laughter is the best medicine – No matter how mundane an activity, it can give you endless giggles if you have the right companion (this case, your child!) who can put you in the right mood and mind to enjoy the day-to-day (including potty training)!
6. All in the attitude – On any of his mishaps, it’s your smile or frown, your words (be it kind or brash) that determine the extent of the misfortune in his eyes. For instance, in the simplest sense, your reaction to his fall will decide how much he has got hurt!! Always try take on a positive outlook, also accepting failure as an essential ingredient to healthy living.
7. ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’ (Einstein) -You come across some dark tunnels when answering some of the simplest questions and it feels good to find that light at the end, where you yourself have learned or re-learned a few things.
8. ‘Be the change you want to see’ (Gandhi) – There is new meaning in this favourite Gandhian quote, where you realise that YOU are the child’s first impression of the world, your words are echoed, your actions reproduced, your views their take and you as a person emulated. And by being loving, caring, patient, righteous for your child, you simply become a better you!
9. Hope for the best, be prepared for the worst – Whilst you try in all ways, acquire and apply the best of knowledge in rearing your child, always know that each will have his/her own uniqueness and pace, and neither are to be squashed in a rush to race. Whilst you have to edge him on to those stars, you also have to be that comforting carpet to cushion him for those inevitable falls.
10. You are your own destiny! – A child is the personification of pure selfless sacrifice and it is so easy to divulge so much so happily. But you need to keep being true to your individual self, your dreams, your desires and your own happiness. Your child needs to see the ‘person’ you are, not just the mother. You need to carve out some space just for you. Only by being self-fulfilled yourself can you take care of another’s happiness and lead him to his own aspirations down the line.