Monday, 23 July 2012
A mother's heart
Among my many kids was Usman. Usman was the kind of kid who you would fall in love with on your first interaction with him. He was extremely well behaved, well mannered & spoke with a brilliance not common for a four year old. But he was also extremely shy &very peace loving. He was the kind of kid who would never fight back and would distance himself from whatever he had to face competition for.
Initially it was his toys, then his favourite pencil, his favourite spot, so on and later on me. I was very upset that my kid, for whom I cared so much, was distancing himself from me. Naturally I was more on the lookout for him, because I saw the Gandhian in the making. No Gandhian can survive in today's big bad world. I wanted him to learn to fight for himself to stand up for something he wanted, for instance when someone would snatch something from him he would just leave the room instead of fighting over it, lesson number 1 for me - something I still do. I learnt many lessons from all my kids but this was my first ever, and it has helped me in many situations to just walk away (for the moment alone mind you).
He would never hug me back or kiss me properly inspite of my constant expressions of love. It made me worry about him more, it also hurt me a little bit. But I reassured myself, he was a baby still in a Montessori, he would improve as he grew. I took care to not be partial towards him in my behaviour towards him, having personal experience, although limited to teachers being partial at school, I have read enough and heard even more to know how much it affects the kid and others around them. I didn't want to jeopardize my relationship with my other kids for the sake of one.
I spoke to him about it, guided him and constantly tried to brush it in him the need to not be overshadowed by others. Having an older brother who was better at sports and academics didn't help either. Nonetheless the elder one was very protective of him. If he ever saw someone troubling his little brother all hell would break loose. I pray their relationship stays strong forever.
Usman showed some improvement, learning confidence little by little. By the time he was done with his Montessori he was firmer in his stand, a lot more confident, still my peace loving baby but he had improved and no one was prouder than me. One thing however had not changed, he was still reluctant to hug me or kiss me, unlike my other kids he just would not express his love, and it still pricked me.
Soon it was his last day at his Montessori, his interview for first grade was quite good, he answered with a strange confidence I had never seen in him, his teacher had done a good job with him. I was exceptionally proud.
He came to me and was lingering around my table, reluctant to ask but making it obvious he wanted to say/ask something. I called him near me and he became shy. Anyhow he came closer and put one arm around my neck and the other on my left cheek, pulled me down to his level and kissed my right cheek. I was shocked, surprised, elated to the extend that I don't care to explain and I can't. I hugged him back and he started to cry. I patted him and asked him what happened. If someone had hurt him on his last day at school that kid would have had it from me. But he surprised me even more.
I love you Teacher. Can you please come to my new school because I will miss you so much.
My vision blurred as I wiped my eyes.
No baby I can't come to your new school because if I come to your new school who will take care of your friends here.
But teacher I will miss you so much. Please. I will be a good boy I promise.
I told him all about how exciting his new school would be and how he would not get the time to miss me. Howls got louder, the hug got tighter.
No teacher I will miss you. I will come some some times to see you.
A child, that I had mothered for 6 hours a day 5 days a week was finally ready to face his next challenge (first grade) with the confidence I had built in him, and it had not cost me his love. My mother's heart (not my mum's heart, as in my heart experiencing a mothering moment) was soaring with joy and pride beyond words.