Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My raison d'etre

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?


Nupur said...

A very Happy B'day to Ishita :)

Aparna, I have mentioned earlier as well..though I'm not a mother yet but your posts about motherhood touches that 'mother' part in the woman in me.. I really love reading all the experiences you share and I learn a lot from them !

Have a nice time with the B'day party !

Kavita Saharia said...

HAPPY BIRTH DAY TO ISHITA...you are lucky to have Aparna as your mom .Beautiful words Aparna !!

The Panorama said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter:)

Bhavya.B said...

Happy Birthday Ishitha....

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to Ishita...I loved the "yelling matches" part. :) No matter who wins, you always end up feeling the pain!!!!

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday to Ishita!! All my best wishes to her! :)

The Holy Lama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandhya said...

Happy birthday to Ishita!

You have the best mom in the world who understands her and your plus and minus points, unlike most of the moms who think that they know all and the children know nothing type and loves you whole heartedly... God bless you all!

28? No, no..25 should be OK!

SJ said...

Happy Birthday Ishita!

Apanatva said...

Belated bday wishes for dear Ishita . I was travelling missed so much....lots to catch up with .
I am mother of three daughters .All are grown up Two of them are happily married and settled abroad .youngest one is also in u k missing them .
Teenage is the period when you have to play a role of friend most of the time .

Apanatva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Holy Lama said...

Happy birthday, Ishita. And mama's watchful glance will help you.:)

Mustaf said...

Happy B'day to Ishita :)

For me, these memories are so fresh, everyone was busy with the new born. I could not care whether a boy or a girl, how he/she looks etc etc..I could only ask doctor how is my wife? really those moments can never be described, it is just to be realized with your everything :)

And that 28 thing is not late??Or is it from that "helicopter mom" :P?

J P Joshi said...

A very happy but belated birthday wish for your daughter... a beautiful post.. enjoyed reading it doubly... as we are with our grand daughter and are once again amazed at how much a child can teach us on how to live, while we try to impart knowledge and wisdom to it.

Our children taught us and the lessons were soon forgotten...now our grand daughter is teaching us the power of a smile, living life in the present, recognising God's creation - big and small without biases. Hope these lessons stay with us...

Yes, a child is the best gift of God and is every adult's raison d'etre.... so rightly put across in this refreshing post...grand children are even better because they come at a time when one think how wise and mature he/ she has become........ Loved the post.

गौतम राजऋषि said...

a very-very happy b'day to lil Ishita...!!!

and as always your words are mesmerising.

Nona said...

Happy Birthday to Ishita. What are the plans?

Samvedna said...

Happy Bday to Ishita !

Your posts make me feel so nostalgic, all fond memories come back.

Children are such beautiful gifts of god...they reach us so many things in life.

Shankar.Nash said...

Many more happy returns of the day to Ishita.. wat a cute and loving way of spreading the happy birthday message.. like ur style where u have condensed the gist of 14yrs in a small blog post.. same way for ur other daughter too....

hope ur daughter reads this blog..and i am sure there will be atleast a moment of tear filled eyes and lots of hugs..

sujata sengupta said...

Happy Birthday love!!!So momma finally did write a precious post for you! So did you recieve it with a smile or a shrug?? ipod just now boyfriend next year!! tell mom if you dont start now you'll end up like her and me!!!

aMus said...

that's a lovely birthday message, aparna...and it is so true, most of what you've written...my boy is 12 and the skirmishes are on too here :)

but then we learn from them, we always do...

have a rocking day , ishita and many many more!

Mustaf said...

"ipod just now , boyfriend next year!! tell mom if you dont start now you'll end up like her and me!!!"

Sujatadi, what a comment. I am still laughing :D:D what if your daughter sees this comment and comes with her boyfriend very next day :P

Sharmila said...

Amen! :-)
Wish Ishita many more happy and healthy returns of this beautiful day! :-)
And you are a great mommy Aparna .. those slammed doors and tears mean normal. ;-)

ani_aset said...

twentyyy eighhttt? heavens sake :)..i thought the current gen was progressing on that front faster..its time to accept reality miss mommie ;)

Aparna said...

What a great compliment Nupur, I am ovewhelmed. Thank you very much. And thank you for your wishes.

Thanks Kavita. Difficult to believe it has been 14 years.

Thanks Panorama.

Bhavya, thank you.

Jyothi, the doors slamiinig and temper tantrums are now a daily occurence. Hope things will improve in future.

Purnima, thank you. I have conveyed the warm wishes to her.

Sandhya, thank you. 25? Let me think about it.

SJ, you keep disappearing. What are you up to these days? I have conveyed your warm wishes to her.

Apnatva, daughters are the best. I know I will miss my 2 when they leave home. Thank you for your wishes.

Holy Lama, thank you. Mama, like big brother, is always watching:)

Mustaf, I go on a short holiday and look what happens! Somebody becomes a father. Mishti kothai? Enjoy the days as a new father. It is a wonderful feeling. Best wishes to you and your wife and child. (Boy or a girl?) And 28 is just the right age na? And I am trying to keep Ishita away from Sujata mashi's influence.

JP Joshi, thank you for sharing your wonderful feeling.Having a child is special, but the feeling for a grand child pales in significance, thats what my mother always tells me.All the best to your family.

Gautam Rajrishi, thank you for your wishes. Ishita is not so little anymore:)

Thanks Nona. Dinner and movie:)

Antarman, thank you very much for your beautiful words.

Shankar, thank you so much. Ishita generally reads all my posts... so far she is silent:)

Sujata, I will keep her away from your influence. Will see what your opinion is when Toshali turns 14.

Suma, I am hoping the skirmishes will end soon! But till then, enjoy the fire works.

Mustaf, don't listen to sujata.

Sharmila, thank you so much. And I am hoping that those doors survive till she turns into a responsible adult :)

Ani, will 27 do?

Destiny's child... said...

Happy birthday Ishita! :)

Aparna, what a sweet way of wishing your daughter. Did she read this? If yes, then she would have had tears in her eyes. :)
it's so , so touching...
Like Nu said, your posts do touch the motherhood instincts in me. :)

ani_aset said...

aww ok..just because a mommie says so :)

NR said...

Hppy Birthdy Ishita....!!!

Mom is the best teacher for her kids...!!

Sumandebray said...

Happy Birthday Ishita!
Many many happy returns of this day.....
Aparna .. .28? Nah!
what has she done to you

BK Chowla, said...

Happy b'day to Ishita.
My compliments to you for being a good and caring mother.

Smita said...

This is such a sweet heart warming post :-)

Belated Wishes to Ishita :)

Blunt Edges said...

happy b'day ishita :D

n plz tell me she read the post...she would love it :D

n 28??? hope she doesn't read that line ;)

Anonymous said...

happy birthday ishita!!

all your posts are so touching..
but wait, 28!!! its too late..i hope your daughter is smart enough to ignore the last line;D

Deeps said...

there are quite a few october-borns in the blogville,aren't there?Sakshi,Sowmya and now Ishita!

Happy Birthday,Ishita! May God bless you with all the happiness in the world :)

ZB said...

Happy Birthday Ishita....Ishita is the name of my sis-in-law's daughter, who is 2 years old.....The first para is so true in my case.....i still remember how tiny she was when i saw her for the first time, after a day of her birth....Pink and folded hands and that innocent expression...I will never foregt it my life.......how special can children be to their parents.....you know only once you have ur child. TAKE CARE..

Anonymous said...

Haha :D

The last line reminds me of my mom's reaction when I told her I'd found The Guy. :P
Moms will always be moms!

Happy Birthday Ishita :)

Tomz said...

My heartfelt happy birthday wishes to your daughter Ishita!
I can see a mother tensed over her upcoming boyfriends.
28 is too old for today's girls to get committed temporarily to some one.
I remember my cousin sister, who remained the only kid in the family for a long time.
I can see that each of your posts in succession are getting more emotional.
Thanks for giving me a wonderful reading experience!

Neha said...

please wish your daughter on my behalf...and Ishita is my sis in law's daughter's name too (ZB, let's list out our similarities one day, what say?)...she is still enjoying all the pampering, love, attention from all of us, she is 12 now...

my bro was blessed with a daughter too two months back, so we all are still very happy happy like she is born an hour back...not a single day passes by when we don't buy her a toy or a cloth..:)

Gymnast said...

Happy birthday Ishita ! Enjoy 14 , for before you know..you'll be a grand old woman of 22 like me!

28? Lol...i am pretty sure this little instruction is going to be disobeyed!

Sakshi said...

Ohh am late as usual..well I think I better say that I am fashionably late as I was not busy with anything :(. Belated happy bday to one of the most intelligent and funny Libran I have come across. So did she get that ipod? Aww hope that's the only life supporting system she will get for another 4 years.

Psst psst what did Sujata mean by saying she will end up like mama and me?? *sakshi in her curious george avtaar waiting for the answer*

ROFL at don't wish for a boy friend yet...

Swatantra said...

Nice post from a mom to daughter!! Great!!

Kavi said...

Belated birthday wishes to Ishita ! And such lovely writing !!

Many congratulations to you too !

Aparna said...

Happy birthday Ishita...

Shachi said...

Happy birthday to Ishita :) May she have the bestest year of her life ahead :) Love n hugs, Shachi.

Meira said...

Going by the way we kids usually are...she'l get the boyfriend before the ipod. I did..got the boyfriend,went ahead and married him...still waiting for the ipod. :P
Gosh! Motherhood is challenging!!!
Happy Birthday Ishita :)

Aparna said...

Thanks Destiny's child, yes she did read the post. No idea about the tears though, she never told me anything.

Thanks Anirudh, I knew I could always count on your understanding :)

Nazish, thank you very much. Motherhood makes you a teacher, it comes with the job:)

Suman, why is everybody protesting about the age? I think it is perfectly right. Why would she want a boyfriend before that?

BK Chowlaji, thank you.

Thanks Smita :)

Blunt edges, she did read the post, though she did not comment.

Wishes galore, as all of you are protesting on my dictate on the age thing, I am reconsidering.

Thanks Deeps,,both my daughters are October born :D

Thanks ZB, it has been 14 years and I clearly remember the day she was born.How she looked, what she did. Very special day.

Ki, please tell me you were old enough when you found your guy.

Tomz, temporary commitment? Thats even worse than having a boyfriend before you are 28. Thanks buddy. I am glad you liked the post.

Neha, theres nothing like pampering a new baby in the family. It is a very special feeling.And if it is not your baby then all the better. No work and pain, bas jab marzi give a tight hug to the baby. Sheer bliss.

Gymnast, thanks. 28 is too late you? May be I should reconsider.

Sakshi, better late than never.
She has not got the ipod yet. May be next year :) Both Sujata and I were scared of our respective parents and never had the courage to fall in love with any boy before marriage! Thats why she thinks our daughters should enjoy some romance and have rocking love lives before they get married. I am planning to keep my daughters away from her corrupting influence.

Swatantra, thanks.

Thanks Kavi!

APARNA, thank you!

Shachi, thank you very much. I am sure Ishita will have a very good year ahead.

Meira, boyfriend before ipod? Thats a scary thought. At least you married your boyfriend. What if she just decides to live in? Horror!!

Ire said...

Awesome...Ishita is lucky to have you as her mom! And belated happy birthday to her.

G S Pillai said...

Best wishes to the Helicopter kid!

Unknown said...

A very happy birthday to Ishita! I envy you because you have a very understanding mother like Aparnadi. Very well-written and easy to comprehend, Didi.

Onkar said...

I join you in wishing a happy birthday to your daughter. You have brilliantly summed up the feelings of a mother.

Ann said...

First time here,with all tears reading this.I feel that am writing,my God thats the honesty and innermost feel of a mom..who cant cry ? touched my soul

Happy B'day to Ishitha..

R. Ramesh said...

hi my dear friend..this is just to say hi..bhalo???

Nupur said...

This made to the final selection for voting :) Good Luck