We grow up with the idea that Mom knows everything. The big stuff and the little stuff. She knows about the time you lied about eating before dinner that night and she also knows her 8 times table. She knows its time to sleep somehow, even when you are doing your best to keep your eyes wide open and she also knows that you were very upset when you got that B+ despite secretly expecting an A. It’s partially cultural and mostly instinctive, this overwhelming trust in the mother. We place her on a pedestal, elevating her into an everything-fixer, making her life very tough, and are happily oblivious to what we are doing, until, of course the day when we ourselves are in that position.
Will I be a good mom? We all, especially the first time mothers, are plagued with this question every single time something goes wrong. A sneeze, a cough, a bad day and we are the first ones to start questioning our abilities to actually bring up this tiny thing and ensure he/she turns into a goodish human being without any disasters. We turn to each other with experiences, to the ones who had children before us with questions, and to books with the expctation that all the answeres lie therein. But it’s never that easy to take advice or adopt someone else’s method of doing anything (for someone like me), and especially not for something as huge as bringing up a child. A mere three months into motherhood and I have no idea how we made it this far so quickly, functioning on nothing more than good ol common sense and a gut feeling; but whatever it is, it has obviously, thankfully worked for us. So we go on, Naddu, k and I, listening to the words around us and meshing them with the feelings within us and hope and pray that it continues to be the smooth sailing that it is right now…
Motherhood. Atleast once a day, even now 10 weeks later, someone or the other asks what it feels like to be a mother. And in the wake of the highly enthusiastic and deeply emotional responses of people around me who have babies, all I can muster is “It’s amazing.” Lame, I know, considering this is supposed to be the most life changing event that supposedly hits a woman. After marriage of course. And when people assaulted me at marriage time with this question, I am pretty sure my response was of the same lukewarm consistency.
It’s not that I am not appropriately awed and thankful, I am, of course I am. It’s just that my words are never enough. Because the feeling is too much and the people around me too many. I am most me with the handful for whom elaborate words of intense emotion are not a necessity. Who look at me when I am with k or Naddu and understand that the feelings run deep, very deep. Maybe too deep to ever warrant an explanation or description.
From the moment the baby is born, the burning question on everyone’s lips seems to be who he looks like. The father’s side loves to claim ownership of every twitch, every smile, every nuance whereas the mother’s side looks for personality traits which are reminiscent of their genes. The subtle battle continues, fuelled by all the randoms who arrive to offer their opinions. “Naak bilkul apnee mama ki hai Naddu ki…” or “He is a carbon copy of his father…” or “Chota k lagta hai”.
N has changed so much in the last two months. There are days when I see so much of me and my sisters, my father shadowed in his face, his expressions that I am spooked by the whole idea of this little part of me. And then suddenly he will do something, a gummy nutty smile, a belly laugh or a look or a frown that will be k to the hilt. It’s amazing to see him day to day - a perfect mix of the two of us, looks wise and moods wise, and enthralling to imagine that one day, he, too will make his own choices, independent of ours, in some ways similar because of who we are and in others ways completely his own, because of who he will one day become inshallah.