The soft cry was what made me conscious.
When I looked around and saw only happy faces, I knew every thing was all right, but still, battling anxiety I asked, "All fingers in place?" My mother was so engrossed, she did not hear. For the new dad, it was love at first sight. Even if the baby was born limbless, he perhaps would not have cared. And my brother and the cousins who had gone there to support me, the less said the better. One look at the baby and they forgot all about me.
Ishita's birth was a celebration in my family. She was the first grandchild. To witness her birth, at least 15 members of my family had turned up. Wait a minute,probably there were more. Ask Sujata, she might have the right number. I was drugged out of my mind (thank God) and have no recollection whatsoever. I am not good with numbers even when I am not giving birth anyway.
So, after a while, when I realised there was no help coming from my mom or my dad, I yelled. "Hello, does anyone remember I exist?" My husband came hurriedly to my side and said, "Need the doctor? Will call." And disappeared again.
She was the cutest baby born in the family for a long time. Actually, she was the only baby born in the family for a long time. My brother's son, who was next, came 4 years later. For 4 years, she enjoyed being the only one, pampered and loved, spoiled and cosseted. The initial years, which kind of merge in my mind, were the years of discovery. Witnessing a tiny infant, slowly growing up to be a beautiful girl. Nature's greatest miracle.
Over the years, I have tried to be a teacher, as well as a mother. Teaching her to stand up after she fell. Teaching her to talk. To read and to write. Teaching her to respect every individual, to show love and kindness...but a lot of the time, the roles were reversed. It was she who taught me to be patient. It was she who taught me to be unbiased . To find pleasure in the smallest things. To find laughter in Disney characters. From her I learned that every day was a new day and nothing was commonplace. There was joy to be found even in chasing a butterfly.
She is still teaching me. I have learned lately that my love is not always unconditional. At times I am guilty of loving less.That I am capable of harsh words.That though I am her staunchest ally, I am also her worst critic. From her I learn every day that motherhood is not easy, specially when you are a mother of a teen.
So there are slammed doors and angry tears. Ugly skirmishes and yelling matches. There are hurtful words and lack of understanding.But there is also love, beneath all the overwhelming thoughts.
Over these 14 years I have realised that my daughter is the central point of my life. Though I did not set out to be a full time mother, this is what has made my life rich. She is the motive for everything that I do and being her mother is the identity I have carved out for myself. And when I see her happy, vibrant and smiling, I know I have not done a bad job.
Happy Birthday sweetie-pie.May you get everything that you wish for in life, including that i-pod. But don't wish for a boy friend just yet. There's still some time for that.
Like may be when you are 28?