My Son, My Friend, Here’s Another Happy Mother’s Day to Me!

November 22, 2003 — 17 years and six months ago when you were born, you also gave birth to a new me — the Mother. Since that first sleepless night in 2003 — drugged and exhausted after a complicated C-Section, when I didn’t want to do anything but sleep — to today, it’s been a continuous process of learning.

At times you taught me things that even seasoned elders missed. That motherhood is not just about love and care. Nor is it just about sleepless nights or sacrifices. That’s the easy part.

The difficult part is making it about friendship and equality.

You taught me that this journey is not just a lesson in giving, but also in sharing.

It’s a lesson in re-living one’s childhood. It’s also a lesson in not repeating the mistakes of one’s childhood.

It’s a lesson that big joys came in tiny packages — that first step you took, that first word you spoke, the first apple you drew, the first Lego model you made, that first blog you wrote…

The biggest lesson for me in this journey has been patience. Patience in my case was not tackling a difficult, cantankerous child. Because you were never one. Patience for me was tackling a restless, curious, ever-inquisitive mind.

Patience for me was learning about things I cared very little about (read below 😝). Patience for me was also making you take to things I cared very much about (FIFA, current affairs, Tintin… you add on 😃).

Patience for me was googling about strange things that were most important for you — be it the atmosphere on Jupiter’s moons or the weight of Thor’s hammer.

Patience for me was also to make you learn things that were mundane for you — be it the multiplication tables or Hindi grammar.

Patience for me was listening to your excited talk about the new elements added in the Periodic Table. Patience for me was also listening to your frustrated teachers about your goof-ups on the simple elements in the Periodic Table.

Patience for me was listening to your endless chatters at any time of the day or night. It was also to come up with witty retorts during these times to show my unwavering attention.

Patience for me was to give you new ideas. It was also to not react as you jumped from one idea to another, without finishing the first in hand.

Patience for me was to push you when you felt lazy. It also was to hold myself back from being too pushy.

Patience for me was to hug you when you felt dejected, even when I felt like breaking every bone in your body.

Patience for me was to pick you up when you fell, even when I felt like throwing you down eleven floors.

I can’t claim to have been a success always. I am just a human being.

And mothers were not made to be Gods. I struggle every day, between my duties and my own laziness.

In these 17 odd years, sometimes you fell, I picked you up; at times I stumbled and you held me up. Those tiny arms and shoulders have become stronger today, and holding me up comes effortlessly to you.

But again, physical strength is the easy part. The difficult bit is managing your head — tempering the mind.

Remember the Bournvita ad on TV that made me so emotional every time I watched it — “Jiss din tum mujhey haraoge, uss din main jeet jaungi (The day you manage to beat me, that’s the day I will win”)?

The “win” here is not being more successful than me. That’s the easiest part.

You win the day my lessons in patience are finally over.

As yet another Mother’s Day comes and goes, and as I reflect back on the past year, I am amazed how you have handled yourself in this difficult year — be it the physical isolation and digital learning brought in by COVID-19, or uprooting yourself from India to Canada in the middle of a pandemic, that too in the crucial final year of school.

How effortless you have made it all seem, even when I know how difficult it must have been. (And I am sure I only know a fraction of what you may have experienced). I am amazed (and thankful too) with the kind of maturity and responsibility you have shown at a time when even many of us adults were found wanting.

For me personally, Mother’s Day has always been about us both, and not about me alone. It’s also a day for me to reflect back, and take stock of what and how much I have learnt.

Among other things, the past year has taught me to be your friend — a big sister, as you often say these days — and not a mother.

So Amen to our new relationship!

Keep going my son, my friend.

May you touch the stars that you have always aspired for. I have often told you — sleep less, dream more. It’s time now you dream less, act more.

And reach for those stars.

Meanwhile, yet another Happy Mother’s Day to me!

A writer by choice, an editor by profession, a tech commentator by chance.