I started to read English novels in my teens and since then have read only one novel in Malayalam. Somehow for me reading a book in English is a lot more enjoyable than reading in Malayalam. But there are books that I read when I was very young that I still remember fondly. One of which is Muttathu Varkey’s Oru kudayum kunju pengalum.
Growing up in a dysfunctional family, the one and only thing I ever wanted was love. I was willing to give all that I have, so I could get some love. I tried being the best sister I could ever be, just so I could feel the love Baby and Lilly had for each other. But then you learn that not everyone is lucky to feel the love of a sibling/parent.
Yaya had an art extension project to do yesterday and she had asked me if I could give her some money to buy some snacks after school. I told her to take the money from my wallet.
I was home when she came back from school. As soon as she opened the door, she called her brother’s name and gave him half of the pizza bun she bought, for she knows how much her brother loves pizza. Then she called her sister and gave her half the bottle of the coke she bought. My son gave a bite of his pizza bun to his youngest sister and she shared the coke with her brother. Yaya didn’t have to bring the food home, but she did.
I don’t have anyone to share their pizza or coke with me..but that is ok..for I know that I raised my children well..I didn’t pass on Amma’s legacy of divide and rule.
Ps: does any of you know how to propagate anthurium from cuttings?
Few days ago, my youngest told me very casually “mom, I have been selected for a challenge program, but I don’t want to do it”
Her timing was impeccable. I was doing my assignment ( as usual, the very last minute) and really didn’t have time to even think about what she said.
Yesterday, I received a call from the school principal. Apparently, she was selected for the maths acceleration project at a local university and she told the Principal that my mom doesn’t want me to do it.
I have never been the kind of parent who push children to achieve great things. I got plenty of mottas ( zero marks) while I was in school and still turned out well. ( Blowing my own trumpet eh?) Both Yaya and Toothless are very much like me and are autodidacts. Yaya is now teaching herself to speak Russian and has already started preparing for the SAT. I never asked her to. Baby was different from all of us from the beginning.
From the time my children were little, we played this game called “who is first?”. In order to get everyone out of the house on time, I devised this game where If all three of them got ready and were buckled in the car before I got ready and started the car and drove to the end of the driveway. they won. Every 10 points got them a treat. In the past one year, I never got a single point. Baby wins each and every time, not because I am slow, but because she leaves the car door open, forcing me to wait for her to close the car door, while she aramse put on her shoes and buckled up. I don’t know why Yaya and toothless never thought of doing that. ( I have to admit, even I never thought of doing that)
I didn’t want to force her to attend the maths program, but I worry if I did the right thing? Her teacher chose her based on her meeting the selection criteria and she didn’t want to go because she finds maths boring.
“It” is the elephant in the room and its name is sex. This probably is the most difficult topic that I have faced until now as a parent.
There is me and my background as an Indian who was taught that sex before marriage is wrong, then there is me the quasi feminist who believe that a woman’s body is her own and she has a right to do what she wants with her body and there is me, the parent raising children without any cultural taboo and finding it difficult to cope with it all.
My friend who is a staunch Catholic told me about the story about the double bed. Her 17 year old daughter was going out with a boy who was her friend since grade 7 and also the son of her ( mother’s) best friend. The boy has spend many nights at their home and one day the daughter asked her mother “Mom, do you really mind buying me a double bed?”
The progression from single bed to double bed was inevitable. You could blame the mother for allowing the boy to stay over or you could think of yourself the same age and remember all the things you have done.
She also told me that she would rather have her child safe in her own home than be somewhere else where she might not be safe.
I want my children to be safe. I know sex is going to be inevitable. I don’t know how to handle when my child request a bed upgrade. I can hear amma saying “azhichu vittu valarthikko”
Yesterday when I went to pick up Yaya after her guitar classes, the moment she opened the car door, she said
“Mom, guess what?”
As you all know, that one question gives me the heebie jeebies. There are endless answers to that question and as usual I imagined all the worst possible outcomes.
“what happened? ” I asked her
“S and N are dating”
S is my friend’s daughter and I consider her as my own. S’s mom met her husband when she was 16 and they have been married for 18 years. ( One of those teen love that is still going strong)
“Gosh, she is at the same age when her mom met her dad” I replied
“Yup, I said the same thing to her and she actually cringed. She is not in love with N mom, it is just a physical attraction”
My daughter’s response was such an eye opener. When I was her age and had a crush on a boy, my mother imagined me marrying him and all hell broke loose at home. Her attack was two pronged, first was that I was too young ( mottennu virinjilla ) to have any sort of attraction to the opposite sex, she insinuated that there was something wrong with me, because my feelings were not normal and good girls from good families wouldn’t feel the same way. Second , she listed out why a marriage with “that” guy wouldn’t work out. The odd thing is, I had not thought of marrying the guy either, but I didn’t know then that love and physical attraction are two different things. I learned from Amma that you marry a guy whom you are attracted to, which was such a wrong thing to do.
The good news is, my daughter is matured enough to know physical attraction and love aren’t the same. One of these days, she will bring a boy home to introduce us to him. I hope then I will have the maturity to accept that she is living her life and I will be happy for her and won’t do anything that will cloud her judgement.
Time is flying.
From a little girl who used to make me read to her every hour of every day, my oldest daughter has grown from a child who spend all her time with me to a teenager who is hardly home. Every other day she has a party to go to, a gala to attend etc.
She and her friends have progressed from having ‘crushes’ to serious dating.
I thought I was prepared when it came to raising teenagers..but the unknown is so damn terrifying. I worry so much about their safety.There was an article few days ago in the paper titled, things I didn’t know I liked..the writer mentioned, all her life she hated getting her sleep interrupted and now she finds the sound of her daughters high heels clomping on the pavement in the middle of the night, waking her and the rest of the neighbourhood soothing. The sound of clomping heels tells the mother that the daughter is home safe after a night out.
I dropped Yaya to her work place on Saturday morning and picked her up from her friend’s house on Sunday evening. ( in between she went to see a play, attended a Halloween party, had a sleepover at her best friend’s place and attended another birthday party the next day).
I do not want to be a paranoid mother, but I was tempted so many times to call Yaya and ask her if everything is alright. I didn’t call her because I have to let her go. I have to let her find her way.
Every hour I checked my phone to see if there is a text/missed call. I kept awake all night worrying about my baby girl.. She phoned me at 5 pm on Sunday, all cheerful and happy and asked ” mom, can you please pick me up at 6.30 pm?” she had no idea that I missed her or that I was worried about her. She said ” I love you mom, see you soon” and put the phone down.
All these years, I hated the phone ringing. In fact my landline automatically goes to the answering machine because I hate to talk over the phone and now I wait for the phone to ring..