Hari turned 11 on Nov. 22nd. The child and his paternal patti share the same birthday per the lunar calendar. This year was her milestone b’day so we got together in India to mark the occasion.
I scanned through last year’s post and much of what I said about Hari last year continues to be true. His wit, sarcasm and buffoonery lighten my day like no other. He is a very perceptive child, especially when it comes to gauging his mom’s moods and temperament. He has an acute sense of fairness and ability to empathize. For instance, he got very upset in the airport during our recent India trip when the manager at Sri Krishna sweets yelled at his employee – “I felt like I had to speak up for him but didn’t know how to amma. He should not have talked to him like that. It’s not right.” Being the first born, he bears the brunt of birth order. He has to adjust but not expect adjustments in return. He has to use restraint although he is physically more capable. He is expected to do chores and be a good role model. For the most part, he is kind and compassionate, not only to his little brother but to kids much younger in age, never treating them with apathy.
All conversations these days have an undercurrent of wanting to be a grown up – “Mom, I think parents in India are not as overprotective as parents living in America”, “Amma do you think I could go to mama’s (uncle’s) place all by myself during the summer break?”, “Amma, I think I will weigh enough to sit in the front seat of the car next year, will you let me?” As much as he wants to grow up, not a night goes by when he doesn’t come up to me and asks me to cuddle up with him at bedtime. Or how much he needs his parents to be proud of his work – be it academics, sports or a project he has worked on.
Hari is who I think of when I get overwhelmed with things to do. Be it raking leaves, shoveling snow or micro cleaning the clutter at home, he rolls up his sleeves, and jumps right in. He doesn’t get some of the privileges that his friends get, namely, lavish screen time, generous treats and such. As much as he feels deprived, he understands and complies. Sometimes rebels.
That the days of being a young adult is not far off is becoming increasingly clear with every passing day. He is forming opinions, making judgments, and questioning boundaries. I am incredibly thankful for all the disagreements, the honest and candid conversations and how much we are learning from each other’s imperfections – his and ours, as I believe that this will be the foundation upon which his teenage and adult years will be built.
Hari – it has been another joyful year of raising you. We love you to bits and are proud of the person you are becoming. God bless you child. Always remember to be true to yourself!