As I sit to write today about the lessons I have learnt from my child, a slideshow of flashbacks begins in my mind’s eye and I am taken back to the day almost four years ago when for the first time I was alone with her (let’s call her P) in the house.
I remember how I had experienced my strongest bouts of fight or flight that day. I wanted to take the best care of my 15-day-old baby but along with the next change of diaper my resilience would change into exhaustion and frustration and I wanted to just run away. I often wonder how I must have felt alone for the first time with my mom as a baby. Have the fears changed? Are the apprehensions still the same for every mom?
But that day onward with P, I imbibed my first huge lesson for life – keep learning.
The other day a friend’s Facebook status read, ‘I wish life came with an instruction manual.’ And I commented ‘I wish kids too’.
But seriously speaking, thank god that life or kids do not come with an instruction manual. That is how parenting becomes a learning experience like no other. Whether it is how to dress up a doll in 20 different ways, try a new recipe, my work or even my relationships, I believe real value is added only when we keep learning. We keep our heart and mind open. It was because of P I took to blogging and what an experience it has been. It has stretched my horizons to corners I could never even imagine.
Sometimes we will fail, the whole effort would be futile but the experience wouldn’t be useless. The elation after a successful new lesson is unmatched but what is even more precious is the lesson. So as a parent we must keep learning, whether it is singing jumbled up lyrics or dancing completely off the beat, or painting with our fingers. DO it and you will never regret this one.
As a parent most of us have an undercover job too- toy mechanics. Whether it is a broken favourite comb or hair band, or it’s a toy elephant’s trunk or a giraffe’s hind leg, our children believe we have the magic. I was always very keen on craft, used to do a lot of reuse and recycle ever since I was a kid, but with P in the picture now this whole mending and repairing has become almost like my second profession.
So the second lesson is MENDING.
Throwing away, giving up, shoving it under the carpet are the easier options, the tougher and according to me the better choice to make is to mender at least try to mend whatever we break or whatever breaks in the due course of life. How often we give up on long time friends due to one bad incident? How frequently do we use-and-discard things?
The art of cherishing things ,people, moments is being lost because we are constantly looking for the new and deciding to ditch whatever develops a glitch (wow that rhymed effortlessly…a minor lesson?)
Like disposable plates and cups we have started looking for everything disposable. This has obvious emotional repercussions but see what it does to our homes and our planet. We keep acquiring new stuff and hoarding or throwing the old and with the physical baggage our emotional baggage grows heavy too. On the other hand mending is creative, therapeutic and it keeps your grey cells polished and shining bright.
“LET IT GO.” These three words spoken to a teenager in a remote monastery in Himachal did not mean much then. But my daughter has made them the mantra of my life. Because we must keep learning and trying to mend but several times despite our best efforts things do not work and that is when we must let it go and move on, this is the essence of having a regret-free life.
This is more effective for negative feelings like hatred and anger. We as humans are bound to go through all of these, but when we do not keep their residue within us we live a life more fully. Look at your kids how easily and effortlessly they forget and forgive and move on, how they do not categorise or label people based on one incident or action and thus keep the possibility of a fruitful mutual exchange of ideas and thoughts always open. How an old toy lost or beyond repair gets replaced by some new fascination.
I call my daughter my guru, my co-learner in so many skills and my co-worker on this grand project called LIFE.
The list of things I have learned from her can run into hundreds but then as she says “MUMMA JUST SMILE!!” sometimes a smile says it all.
By Pooja Sharma Rao