We had just moved to the US. I was back to grad school D to work. Life was ok, different and very new. We had an everyday evening ritual which went like this :: he would pick me up on his way home (we had only one car then), coming home we would sit at the edge of the carpet with steaming mugs of tea & samosa or alu bonda whatever was picked up on the way, laughing our hearts out at "Friends" followed by "Everybody Loves Raymond" and chatting, then I would go on to finish my homework he to his work and the day was done. Weekends were for pouring over maps to find new places to drive to and new restaurants to eat out. Life wasn't hip and happening but it was fun.
I scorned at my Mom whenever she brought up "kids" in the telephone conversation, balked at elders who suggested "what are your plans ?"
Life was ok, kind of same and not that new. All that pressure was getting on me, I thought Calvin's Mom was naive & just joking, I thought "what the heck we should have a baby"
Life was getting difficult, kind of same and not that new. The doc said I should lose some weight before alighting on the journey. So the "alu bondas"&"samosas" stopped, the time free from homework & classes were spent in the gym
Life was difficult, very different. My daughter's life formed inside mine . Every day of the 8 months was fraught with anxiety & fear. Every day all that we hoped for was her. All else in our life took a blur, while each day we prayed frantically for her to safely reach the next day within me.
Life was happy, different and very new. And then she came into this world wide eyed and wailing. She claimed all our time and attention with her being. The tiny curled fists, the pink toes, the quivering smiling lips, and those wide curious eyes. We felt relief and joy.
Life was happy but difficult, different and very new. She was so important that I gave up the job I had studied hard for all these years. I did not want some stranger to take care of her. I was afraid of everything that happened or did not happen to her. I "Googled" every word that had to do with babies. I called up the ped in the middle of the night if she had those jitters (most babies do) or threw up or cried too much. I grew frustrated when all we did didn't ease her colic.
And she grew and I grew too as a mom. I learnt to stay calm if she threw up after her meals, to smile when she went for her shots, to ignore if she threw a tantrum, to be ok if she cried a little at school, to be brave and let her bruise a little while she attempted climbing the slide the wrong way, to let her grow.
Life is not that difficult, different and still new. Life as a mom is still new, lots of new things to learn and do. Life is also about less and less time for me and my husband. The little one does not let us talk and has to butt in every discussion that we have. We have to spell out words that too in Bengali for discretion. Everything that we do needs to be explained to her. The only thing we watch on TV is "Barney" or "Arthur". Even if I snatch a conversation with D it is about how much I like "Arthur's Christmas"
This too shall pass and soon the newness will go out of my life. In a couple of years she will not proclaim in a sing song voice "Mommy is my best friend" and will not seek the nook of my arm to curl up in sleep. Till then let me savor and learn from every bit of it...
To our little girl who turns all of three this month, what I wish for her..
The Mother's heart, the hero's will,
The softest flowers' sweetest feel;
The charm and force that ever sway
The altar-fire's flaming play;
The strength that leads, in love obeys;
Far-reaching dreams, and patient ways,
Eternal faith in Self, in all,
The light Divine in great, in small;
All these and more than I could see,
Today may "Mother" grant to thee!
I also hope to fulfill her expectation as a mother as I hope she does mine