This morning, after I had my coffee, I sat down to work as usual, to catch that precious morning hour. But somehow, I could not concentrate. My eyes kept wandering to the clock, and the moment it was 8, I quickly dialed your number. My heart melted when I heard your sleepy voice. I wished I could have cuddled you awake. (yes, yes, I know you’re 20 now, so what?) After I wished you a happy birthday, I bugged you a little about what your plans were. Oh, this is just my ploy to nudge you awake gently with conversation—otherwise there’s every chance you’ll go right back to sleep. And why not? These days I am so tempted to hit that snooze button on more days than I care to admit—and I am super-grateful that I am the one to call you to make sure you are up in time for class, which, in turn ensures that I am up early.
Today was, of course, special, as you had no classes.
So, after that phone call, I should have rightfully settled down to tackling my to-do list—only, I just didn’t feel like. Instead, I wanted to sit with all our photo albums—you know, the 100+ stashed away in the last shelf of your bookcase. With zero guilt, I sprang into action. What’s the use of being a work-at-home Mom if I can’t play hooky on a weekday, eh?
And so, getting an armful of the albums and coming back to the desk was the work of a moment. Thus started a most enjoyable trip down memory street, nostalgia lane. I came across photos I had forgotten we had and had a wonderful time gazing at photos from before you were born to the time you turned 7 or 8, after which we got our first digital camera. I still recall with amusement, how I couldn’t wait for the whole film roll to finish before I went to the photo studio to cut and develop half the roll!
In the process of looking at the albums, I also came across ancient photos of my own friends and good times. On impulse, I started taking photos of the photos and WhatsApped them to my friends—and oh, it was so nice to see them all excited to see them. Who doesn’t like happy memories via photos?
While I was engrossed with this, I must have been laughing to myself—a lot and Daddy was wondering what happened. And of course he got pulled in into memory lane too for a while.
I did take a short break to cook lunch before resuming my happiness fest.
Sigh. I suppose I should scan them all—what a mammoth project that would be—but on the other hand, nothing compares to lounging on the sofa, going through these albums.
We’re eagerly waiting for you to come home. At least I am–fantasizing about watching our favorite programs together–eating dark/bitter chocolate late at night–cooking your favorite dishes…ah!
Last night, just before I drifted off to sleep after we said goodnight, I couldn’t help thinking back over the years. I am grateful to you for making me a good parent. I have learned so much watching you grow up into the fine person you are today.
I should probably be talking about 20 things I want you to know at 20, but I know that it is just as hard to raise good parents as it is to raise good kids.
“It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself.” – Joyce Maynard
I can think of many proud moments you’ve gifted us over the years. I am not just referring to the academic recognition and prizes. I am thinking of those instances where you were kind, compassionate, and generous.
When you were two, you insisted we should make sweets and distribute them to the construction workers near our place because you cared. I smile to think of how articulate you were even then. We were always charmed by how you enjoyed visiting the home for the aged nearby and spending time with the elderly folks there.
I still remember how, when we had your first official birthday party at home when you turned 5, your teachers turned up, and so did many of your classmates, with their parents. I had fun looking at those photos today! When it was time to leave, you carefully picked out the present they brought you and returned it to them, assuming that is what you were supposed to do. We then realized we had discussed “return gifts” with you and you thought you had to give them back!! How hilarious!
You may not remember this, but when you were in first grade and six years old, we had bought three sets of school uniforms that didn’t fit you by the time school reopened after two months. You had shot up a couple of inches. While we wondered what to do with them as the shop would obviously not take it back, you immediately suggested that we gift it to a classmate. We were stunned when you said that, and that’s what we did.
You were always ready to share your lunchbox with someone. I remember how you would keenly pack food for that grandpa who lived on the footpath outside the church on the way to school. In winter, you insisted on gifting him some blankets and one of my jackets. Then, when we rode past him you’d feel very happy to see him using those.
Every time we met your teachers, they told us how well behaved and respectful you were with everyone and I guess many kids are like that. But what warms our heart is whenever we bump into one of them these days, years after you’ve left school, it is a complete love fest reminiscing about you. We feel so blessed.
Remember that year, when you were in school, they had a painting contest and your artwork was chosen to be featured in the IISc desk calendar? What a happy day that was—especially when we discovered that they had selected November as the month!
We love the fact that you are generous and believe in making a difference—I am thinking of how you made it a habit to donate all your cash prizes to our local welfare home—and believe no celebration is complete if we don’t sponsor a meal there. I remember crying when you wanted to sponsor a child!
So many memories!
And of course, a special one is the email from your principal, asking me to drop in and see the notice board. I almost burst into tears when I saw a poster-size headshot of you with four others as toppers of your school, to be displayed for the whole year! And on the opposite wall, there were photos of Daddy and me, presiding as chief guests across various events ♥ Thank you for the honor.
We are always excited about your varied interests—be it music, poetry, writing, sketching, drama, dance—besides your chosen subject in academics.
Today, I am also thinking of all the criticism we faced for our parenting style, but I think we did just fine. When we look at you, we see a kind and compassionate individual who cares about others, is committed to whatever he takes up, is strong, honest and humble. I am also thinking of all the times you made it easy for us with your simple and pure logic.
We are extra-proud of you for adjusting to college life on campus, almost overnight, even though I couldn’t stop crying at the thought of you being away from home!
I realize I could go on and on. But I’ll stop here and just say…I’ve learned a lot from you. And I absolutely love you for acknowledging and appreciating every little thing!
We are grateful to be your parents. There’s just one regret, though–how I wish your Grandma was around to enjoy your growing up!
Love you more than anything in the world. And know that we always believe in you!
Our children can be our greatest teachers if we are humble enough to receive their lessons