Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A letter to my daughter


My dear, 

A few days back, you could sit only with support. We would put a blanket around you and you would play with your toys for hours. Now, you can sit without support. You roll around and respond to our smile. How my heart melts to see your eyes twinkle with that sweet innocent smile! You have also started watching nursery rhyme videos. 

I can’t believe that it has been seven months already. I look back and find that times have passed very fast. It is like only yesterday that I held you on my bosom as an infant. I now realize that even when you have grown up, you will remain a child to me and this is how all mothers must feel. I have seen cases where parents love their children and are over-protective of them. This I now know is not because of any ill intention of not wanting to give freedom to their children. Their children, no matter how old remain children to them and they are afraid that they will be hurt, and they think they should be there to protect them. Parents naturally feel that it is their responsibility to do so. 

When I tell you that you will be a child to me always, I do not mean that I would want to be over protective and will cocoon you in my care, not letting you explore your own world. I will protect you from fire or any accident that is in my control as you grow up and when you have come of age to judge things on your own, you will do so. But some things are out of control and you must know that a mother cannot protect you from everything malicious and cruel in this world.  And when you need a friend, I will always be there. I don’t want to be a mother who oversees your welfare and forget your true feeling. More than anything, I want to be your best friend. I would like you to run to me after school to tell me your exciting experience and what new things you have learned. My child, I can’t wait for you to talk – because I know I have so many stories to tell you as you will have to tell me. I already see us walking to the park or going shopping – you in a lovely colorful dress, your sweet smile never leaving your face.

People look at you and say, ‘so cute! and I mutter a thank you but I was struck by what a new friend I met couple of weeks back told me. She told me that we should never tell a baby that she is cute, but instead we must say that she is clever. Because, when she grows up she will want to be cute and good-looking and will put every effort to look good. I don’t know how true that is, but of course, not just as mother but as the first person you have known, I would like you to be a bright, intelligent girl than anything else in the world. It doesn’t matter if you don’t look all that good. Rest of the world will fall down beneath your feet or at your level naturally, if you have the wit to know what you want and how. 

My little darling, for now, all I can do is marvel at how fast you are growing up. And I must tell you that, I enjoy every bit of my time with you and I am a proud mother. 

Love,
Signed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Being a Mother and a Student

I’m a mother of a 7 month old daughter and a student. I could have put my studies for later, taking priority to raise my baby first but I thought since I’m not growing any younger, I could as well take up both together, no matter how challenging that is. Also, I am not the first one to do that. I have heard of many mothers who pursued their career, even when it took them away from their children. And so I hopped onto that boat and here I am.

In the beginning, I returned home to find that my baby had cried looking for me, wanting nothing but mother’s milk. I realize that to babies, there is nothing more soothing and comfortable than being on the mother’s bosom, sucking milk. She isn’t crying as much as she used to but it is going to get worse – because soon, she will recognize me and she probably won’t even want to stay with her father. Children and their mothers are so emotionally attached that no words can explain. I wonder if fathers feel for their children as much as mothers do. There is an unspeakable bond and love between them.

I am jostling around at the university: rushing for the class and lectures, running here and there in between to attend to things – like to the bank and health centre and all the while, my heart is racing, always thinking if my baby is fine, if she isn’t crying for me, if she has been able to sleep. And then I realize a mother’s heart is never totally at peace. Until she is with her baby, holding her baby’s hand, rubbing her head and singing to her, no matter what she is asked to do, her mind is always where her baby is. And this worries me. Will I be able to concentrate on my studies? I even question, ‘Will I be able to even get a pass?’ A friend told me that it is easy to pass – and when I narrated it to another friend he said that it is, but it is difficult to get outstanding result. And I think all Bhutanese who undergo masters are aiming for that. If so, I can’t be the only one struck on not knowing how to concentrate, while I have already chosen to take the challenge, which means, I have come half way from being a good full time mother.

But come to think of it, I could never, ever have left my daughter behind. It will never be my career or her. If I have to choose, I have to choose her. Oh, if I haven’t yet learned which one is more important, I have learned nothing. I know it will be hard; it is hard for all mothers situated like me but I think we all come out fine in the end. If my daughter wasn’t here with me, I know I would have been doomed psychologically. I could be calling home every day, crying alone and wishing I had done the right thing. I’m glad that it never even occurred to me that leaving her could be an option for me.

I see couples without children walk with ease and comfort while my husband and I have our daughter in the pram, having to lift it up sometime. There are others who have brought their children with them but none as young as my daughter. There is always something that you need to carry or do for baby but despite the occasional smudge of ‘Oh God!’ you enjoy that you are grooming up a person, the choice of how you draw her life depending on you. It makes you a creator and you want to be the best artist at that.

Yes, I am a student but I’m a mother first.