I confess old wives tales had misguided me.
In every party,
In the park, in the lift, in the club,
Experienced and confident,
The young and the not so young mothers
Conspiratorially assured me.
“Not showing much! Easy Pregnancy? It will be a daughter.”
“Daughters are easy to bear and bring up. ”
And “Daughters are such angels.“
I hoped she’d have my sister in law’s hair …
My brother’s eyes.
And her dad’s knack for sports.
And then the much awaited first cry
like in the movies …
I had grabbed her greedily
To see the face
that belonged to the tender feet that had been gently kicking beneath my ribs all these months.
The first thing I had seen,
even before the misshapen head and the flattened nose
was a dimple on a yet unwashed cheek
I had never given much thought to babies …
and then a strand of hair from my perspiring exhausted head
Caught in her little fist.
That strand of hair could actually have cut her skin!
This little demanding thing for all the noise she made |
For all her capacity to keep a family awake
Couldn’t open or close her fist at will.
She couldn’t see clearly,
Couldn’t scratch herself,
She didn’t even know I was her mother.
But she learnt fast,
She would pretend to choke to get me to attend to her immediately
And give herself away with a wicked victorious grin.
This little miracle
That changed our lives
She became the centre of our being.
But where was that angel I was promised?
No lipstick survived her
No book could be read except to her
Although Walt Disney collections echoed in the house
The endless circles and spirals she drew on every piece of paper
looked nowhere like Minnie and Micky mouse
Did someone say daughters are innocent?
The little mermaid’s washroom dilemmas were a matter of grave concern
Moisturizers were applied to teddy bears and clean blankets
Porridge was fed to all soft toys (what mess!)
Dolls had high fever
and they were read to
And often responsibility forced upon us …
Oh how I loved to see her asleep!
Daddy’s shoes were preferred to her own
My skirts were worn as off shoulder gowns
When she was five, I was advised to use my perfumes sparingly
And take good care of all my clothes
She couldn’t imagine what she’d inherit
If I finished everything before she reached my height.
But they grow so fast,
Soon you have nothing left in your wardrobe
that’s entirely your own
And then you hear yourself wonder
she is seventeen!!
Time truly does fly …
So I call my mother
“I am going to have an eighteen year old child! Can you believe it, she will be eighteen!”
“So what did you think IHM,
after seventeen she was going back to being sixteen?“
Edited to add: You may also like to read ‘What are little boys made up of? ‘