The last time I had written anything in the form of an article or paragraph was almost twenty-five years ago when I was in school. I have always been thinking of writing down my thoughts but, perhaps, life had become too busy. I have never thought of myself as an expert on any topic, however, as the deadline for submission for article writing competition approached, I took my pen and started to pen down my thoughts.
I was born and brought up in Delhi and much loved and cared for, by my family, which included my parents and my elder brother. I have wonderful moments of my childhood, and like so many people, want to go back to those days, when life was quite simple, and people did not judge anyone by the clothes they wore, the food they ate and the houses they lived in. I believe people were not as materialistic as they are today. Relationships and kinship held an important place in all households and bonding among family members was quite strong. I joined a highly reputed pharmaceutical company as Human Resources trainee, but merely a year into it, and I got married. I moved along with my husband to the Sultanate of Oman, a very beautiful country in the Middle East, with the exquisite landscape, pristine beaches and warm and friendly people. A new chapter of my life had begun, with all its challenges, adjusting to a new environment with a new person and making new friends. There were days when I terribly missed my folks in India and used to gaze at the night sky, looking at the aircraft, flying towards my homeland, wishing I had wings and I could fly along with it and reach my people. Time flew and my husband’s love and support helped me overcome the feeling of being homesick to some extent.
Then came motherhood, praise be to God, and my life changed forever. My eldest son was born, after which I did not have time for anything, except him. He made me grow up, from a young carefree woman to a responsible mother. While I completely enjoyed my new status, there were days when I used to feel completely exhausted and drained. I sometimes longed to read a good book, but there was no time as my life revolved around my son’s activities, which I loved to do. As the years went by, I was blessed with more children and my life became extremely busy. I never thought of returning to my professional life. Firstly, there were few opportunities for me, in my area of specialization, Human Resources, and secondly, and most importantly, I had to raise my children, not only looking after their needs, but also teaching them, from their very childhood, manners and basic life skills. Both me and my husband were against the idea of putting children into daycare or hiring a nanny for them. The upbringing of a child is the responsibility of the parents. Moreover, I could never trust a nanny, so much so that I could leave my little ones to their mercy.
Like all parents, we did a lot experimenting on our first child, as we didn’t know how to raise a child. More or less, everything went fine. I used to call up my mother for advice or ask friends, who had experience. But, there were times when I was a bit too harsh on him. I regret certain things, which I did to him, like hitting him, when he used to trouble me, as he was a naughty child, and screaming at him, for not obeying me. I always wanted to see him grow into a sensitive, responsible and caring adult. I wanted to see every good quality in him and get frustrated, whenever I saw any negative behaviour. I wanted to see a perfect child. I think I was wrong. I forgot that nobody is perfect in this world. There were times when he used to write down his thoughts in a diary and when I happened to read it, it broke my heart to see his feelings poured out on a piece of paper, mentioning my rude behaviour and how heartbroken he felt. It tore my heart apart.
The years passed by and my naughty toddler, started moving towards adolescence, without me realising that his personality was undergoing a drastic change. His cheerfulness and naughtiness were being taken over by calm and composed behaviour. His light jokes were taken over by serious discussions and he changed into a quiet, “keeps to himself” kind of a teenager. I miss those days when he used to create a ruckus in the house with his loud chatter and his playfulness. He has given me proud moments in life, but I terribly miss those aspects of his personality. I sometimes think that whether he changed because I was a bit too harsh on him or I could not understand him as a person or maybe I expected too much from him. I wish I could go back in time and rectify my mistakes and tell my son, how much I love him. I just want to tell him that I am deeply sorry, if ever I had hurt him, physically or mentally. My dearest son, as long as I am alive, I will stand by you, through the thick and thin of life, to catch you when you fall and love you, unconditionally. While writing this down, my eyes become moist and as I wipe away those unshed tears, I pray, from the depths of my heart, that whatever you do in life, give it your best and you’ll always find me beside you, celebrating your successes and lifting you up through your failures.
Life is a mix of both good and bad and always remember that nothing is permanent in this world. After every hardship, comes ease. I am proud of the upbringing that your father and I have tried to give you and your siblings. The values and morals that I have tried to instil in you, will always keep you on the right path. You might falter a little but eventually, you will gather yourself and move on.
I never realised what my father felt, when he used to walk me to the school bus stop, even when I was in grade twelve, until I became a mother.
And finally, a big shout out to all the mothers, who sacrifice their careers, hobbies and so much more to bring up their children and to all the working mothers, who beautifully manage both work and motherhood. I didn’t choose to work because I knew that I could not do justice to my role as a mother and I have absolutely no regrets in life. I am happy that I was there for my children, at every step, from the moment they were born, till they started kindergarten and after that too. It is for every woman to decide, according to her capabilities and priorities. I could have earned thousands of bucks by choosing to work, but I could never earn those moments, when the tiny feet started walking, tiny hands started writing and those toothless grins of my precious jewels.
-Seemi Ibrahim (One of the Prize Winners of Article Writing Competition 2020 in the 25-44 Years Age Group)
Picture Credits: parentmap.com