27 years old…that was me, when my daughter entered my life and we started on that amazing journey called motherhood. A year and 7 months later, my little one joined us and added some much needed ballast to our skimming yacht of maternal confusion, joy and wonder.
It was mainly confusion those days. And that confusion had percolated into every aspect of my life for the last few years. It was like standing at a point where a million roads converged and went forth. In every direction, stood a question clouded with doubts and perplexity. Had I been a strong and independent woman ( I had got married without the consent and blessings of my parents)?! Had I been a good daughter ( my parents had put their heart and soul into our medical education)? Was I a good doctor ( I had put my love and life before my profession and decided not to specialize in any field)? Would I be a good Army officer ( I so wanted to continue with the services, but who would look after the babies?), would I be a good mother ?!
In the midst of all this foggy uncertainty, a single resolve shone through the mist and kept me on my chosen path. The resolve to begin and end each day with heartfelt gratitude—for being gifted the chance to be there for these two lovely babies. The resolve was tested daily– strained to the limit by sleepless nights, torn ear-lobes and broken spectacles; inexplicable bouts of crying and fretting; meal times made of tightly shut lips and frowns on little foreheads. But the resolve got polished and strengthened too—the daily wonder of growth, giggles, goobagoo and glup-glup; the big smiles and bigger hugs and adoration; the joy and chaos engulfing me when I would enter home. Two babies and two doggies and one husband! Yes, those early days of being wonder mom to these toddlers, did a lot for my self-esteem and satisfaction quotient.
Life had arranged for some tricks and prepared lots of challenges for the not so distant future. The not so distant future found the girls and me in a tiny village in Oman with school just 85 kms away, a few good friends in the distant city, a daily 10 hour busy practice for me, and many many other matters, including a slowly disintegrating marriage between long distance spouses. It was my time for juggling and keeping many balls in the air. I am sure that there must have been many a time, when some of those balls came crashing down on those two tender heads. It was my time for de-programming my old brain circuits and making a new set of rules and values. These values and beliefs became the bulwarks on which we built up our unique family edifice.
The girls believed that watermelon segments were the pizza pieces which smart kids ate on TV, that soluble Vit C tablets became magic “gummi-berri juice” ( favorite drink of their favorite cartoon serial), that there was a monster inside the car stereo who would eat up their fingers when they inserted the cassette. Yes, I was an unscrupulous mother when it came to ensuring a balanced diet at home, and a good work-fun balance in life! A few rules—clear the room before sleeping, thanking the cook for food served, and clearing the dinner plate at meals; A few fun outings—late night movie shows with midnight drives, sunrise drives to the beach, any-time drive to visit friends; A few good friends—weekend fun times for the girls while I would be busy with my practice; taking in festivals and celebrations and Chinese dinners…and the years rolled by.
The years rolled through boarding school separation angst, the girls finding their feet, their poise, their individuality and themselves, me finding my role changing from benevolent dictator to beaming advocate and the three of us finding our strong and deep bond remaining unchanged through the years. It has been strengthened by the “downs” while the “ups” have celebrated what we share.
27 years have passed since motherhood entered my life. It has strengthened and empowered me, enlightened and trained me, yet it has never been allowed to overpower me. As Mom/Ma/Mazza/Mother, I was given a chance to find new ways to grow, to accept the girls for what they are, not what I wanted them to be (yes, I have to confess here, this was not easy at the best of times!). I learnt that I can unlearn my childhood values and insert life’s lessons where they were needed. And I learnt to cook.
In these 27 years, the girls have stabilized and grounded me. Without them, I would have drifted into the sky like a helium balloon and floated into nothingness. Our shared laughter, good times, tough times and challenges have laid the soil for independent thought to sprout and strong decisions to emerge. They support me, question me, bolster me up and (sometimes) tear me up..I continue to grow and learn, continue to walk down the road less travelled and continue to spend every moment with gratitude. So, so thankful for being mother to the girls– for nurturing and supporting them during their growing years, for watching over them while they took tentative steps out of the family nest and now, for sitting quietly in this little hamlet and watching them flying solo and flying high.