You are up to my shoulders. You take pride in saying that your shoe size is almost as big as mine. And you even attempted to lift me once. I am not sure you noticed but I have been having panic attacks on and off for the past couple of weeks, and I completely blame it on you. Why the hurry to turn 10…? They say kids grow up fast, but this fast… really? seriously? you must be kidding, right?
Oh Hari, as I think back on the years that have gone by, I am filled with myriad emotions. In hindsight, it feels like I should have given you more – more of me, more of my time, more of my TLC, more balanced meals, more of this, more of that, and more of everything. But then will it ever be enough? So I glare back at the menacing self-doubts, determined not to let them undermine what we have had for these past ten years.
You are barely 10, but you have already outgrown me in terms of what I can teach you. Everyday you are broadening your horizon – you are asking me questions about world war I, II – details of which I have forgotten, you are exploring new music – genres that I am not familiar with, and you are constantly talking about sports about which I am blissfully clueless. And there are times when I am overwhelmed and I worry that we are perhaps growing apart as you are growing up. That fear makes me want to learn, and take interest in things that I am otherwise disinterested in.
Ten years have rolled by but so many of these memories are fresh as the verdant leaves on a spring day. I remember how you would be latched on to me for hours during your just born days. I remember rocking you in your car seat, listening to your breath intently, being cognizant of your every move, as I studied for CFA exams during the first few months. I remember how you would cry your lungs out at the stroke of 6 PM when you were three months old and the only thing that calmed you was swinging you in your car seat – boy, were we sore from all the swinging! And dropping you at the daycare on the first day and seeing you fall sick constantly for that second winter was one of the most difficult phases we have had as a family. I remember how I wept uncontrollably at the specialist office when he nonchalantly declared that you were a candidate for ear tubes as if you were a toyota corolla and he was your mechanic. You were resilient, you bounced back, and we escaped the surgery by a whisker – that taught me a life lesson or two! I so vividly remember so many other things – the half an hour of dedicated reading time between you and I, our music lessons at Yamaha, taking you along with me to my dance class, the pillayar visarjans and the Krishna-Yashodha dramas, the India trips, so on and so forth.
Your home and your family are your safe haven, atleast for now – “Mom, how about we all snuggle up with a blanket and do our own thing in the same room while drinking hot chocolate. What could be better than that, huh?” And your eyes are always dancing with love for Ram and seeing both of you bond with each other is my most favorite thing to do in the whole world. I swell with pride when I see you at the hockey rink, pushing yourself to do better, working hard at something you are passionate about. And reading is such an integral part of your life like eating, sleeping and breathing that we do not make a special mention about it. I love how you give me book recommendations, and insist that I read it “because I know you will like it ma.” You wrote your first fiction this year and although the editor in me was fixing the grammatical mistakes, I was beaming inside at the story plot, the humor and the vocabulary – I will always be your no. 1 fan child!
I think of you as my friend so it puzzles me when I see that you are scared of me but you have wise words even when I am second guessing myself – “I think it is good that I am afraid of you amma because it makes me want to stay out of trouble.” I like the bond we share with each other. No facades of perfection, open and honest discussion.
Hari, welcome to the double digits. No matter what, be you! Do things that you are passionate about, and give your personal best in all your endeavors. Be nice and kind to people around you. We love you from the depths of our hearts and wish you the best. Happy 10th child….!!!