It’s a holiday today, where we live. It doesn’t matter why it’s a holiday but it is one. Gy is home from school and as is classic, lolled around luxuriously in the warmth of the thick blankets till 8 am.
I let her do it since it’s a privilege she usually gets only on the weekends.
In the meanwhile, I’d been up since 5.30, worked on the first draft of my memoir, gone for my morning walk, made tea and even done a load of laundry in the time that it took for her to shake off the slumber and get out of bed.
Once she did, mom-mode switched itself on in my head as I quickly asked her to brush her teeth, have her milk, her bath and breakfast so she could enjoy the rest of the day with her dad.
All done, the two of them have now headed out to play a game of tennis followed by basketball while I sit here, winding up some work and writing this blog post.
And I pause.
It’s been a hectic few weeks, what with the move to self-hosted, attending a few events, running the household, taking care of my health, catching up on sleep and some reading. I’ve loved it. Loved every minute of it.
But today, as I sit here, hearing the keyboard jump under my tapping fingers, listening to the hum of the refrigerator as it buzzes in the background and the absolute canopy of quiet that fills every inch of the house, I wonder:
She’s growing up, this child of mine. I watch it every single day.
I notice it in the way she confidently combs her own hair, manages to gently tease the strands apart, removes the knots and tangles, runs the brush through the smooth tresses and gathers it all up into a high ponytail which she snaps smartly into place with a rubber band.
I observe it in the way she packs her books in her school bag, sorting the big books from the smaller ones, sharpens her pencils, checks to see if she’s taken everything for the day and zips it up with a smile that can lift my saddest spirit.
I watch her when she reads her books, her brow intense, her eyes unblinking, her lower lip caught between her teeth and one finger twirling that errant strand of hair that drops from behind her ear.
Thinking of all these visual memories, I realise two things:
One, these are my memories. Memories that I have of this wonderful, gentle being that will keep me warm when I am very very old.
Two, I don’t exist in these memories. I am busy doing other things while she is busy growing up. And I realised that with a pang.
I don’t mean to say we should never make time for ourselves. We should. We definitely should. But we also need to make the effort to consciously and almost effortlessly insert ourselves into the memory-making process with our kids.
It can be so easy to forget that when we are wrapped up in our work, our chores, our blogs, our social media lives, our every fragment of existence that doesn’t consciously include our children.
That is precisely why we need to unplug, rewire ourselves and give ourselves to them ever so often. We can do all of this without the scrutiny of social media or the need to be accepted by society. The relationship that matters- the special one between you and your child- is something that can never be captured quite that well on a Facebook post or an Instagram filter anyway.
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