Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Parent trap

The mother is over to ease me into childbirth, as I waddle through my last days of pregnancy. We haven’t shared a habitat in a while and have different approaches to things—life, people, food—although when it comes to hospital visits, my mother has much more bravado than I do. She has, after all, squeezed twins out, had valve replacements and dealt with ICUs like it’s second nature to her.

We are both currently in parenting modes in different ways, as she cares for me and I do the same for the little one kicking away inside of me. And then of course there are my two resident feline offspring, who have also sensed that something’s up, so they are ever so gentle and clingy with me, and we also have conversations about the same. The husband, who still doesn’t speak Cat finds it fascinating to hear an ongoing dialogue that me and Nadia (my first born) or Bravo (my three legged James Bond of a cat) have at 6 am every day. Nadia seems concerned that our relationship will change, and I assure her that it won’t, and before she knows it, my child and her will be buddies. Bravo doesn’t have any such apprehensions, and is in a “more, the merrier” kind of zone.

I have always wondered whether I’d make a good mother—even though I have had (and continue to have) a pretty good innings with four legged babies— the fact that one day, my two-legged offspring could tell me (as I do to my mom) that what I’m doing doesn’t make sense, and here is a better way, rattles me.

I also have a high benchmark to live up to, as mine is nothing short of a super mom. She has balanced work, parenting, social life and family ties immaculately, and is a top scorer in each of these spheres. She loved her job till the very end (after having worked close to forty years) and won many accolades in her long career, and is still fondly remembered as a teacher. As a mother, I think she did a pretty good job of us, me and my twin siblings, though she still laments, “If only I had more time. If I could only have stayed at home..”

The problem with being a parent is that one never ceases to be one— it’s a process that begins, but never ends, like it hasn’t for my mother— I had better come to terms with that. And it’s not about cleaning poop or washing butts or feeding or any of the chores. It’s about always putting someone else’s interest before yours. Marriage doesn’t necessarily teach you that; hopefully, becoming a parent does.

Am I ready for it? I don’t know, but will soon find out.

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