Thursday, 13 June 2013
She doesn't understand why her mom is becoming like this. She hopes its not her fault. She tries to think if she has done something wrong, but she can't recollect. After the baby was born mummy had been going through a very common cause of post partum depression and unknowingly let of all the steam on the helpless 4 year old. It scared her, kind of, every time mummy overreacted for something small. But it was ok since mummy always made up for it later with longer goodnight stories and butterfly kisses and even chocolates before bed. Sometimes she wonders if it's the baby's fault - she loves that baby brother of hers and its hard to imagine that bundle of tears and softies doing anything wrong. But it's ok because at the end of the day mummy still kisses her goodnight like always.
She cries, not because mummy scolded her but because she doesn't understand which rule to follow. She only talked rudely to the uncle because he was teasing her brother. It was bad of him to do that - but mummy said that you must always respect elders. But mummy also said to always watch out for the baby brother , to never let others trouble him. And that she took more seriously than anything else. It was the most mature thing she could do at that age. But it's ok because mummy explains the matter later to her in clear spelt words.
She's not happy when mummy and daddy announce another baby coming in a few months. She remembers what had happened the last time there was a baby in the house. Not to mention the distribution of the already reduced minimal attention she craves from her parents. But her parents seem very happy so she thinks it will be ok just like last time.
The day the baby comes she is super depressed because mummy has already been in the hospital for 2 days now and she hates the friends house she and her brother have been staying, just because it's not home. She had also been praying fervently for a sister but daddy said it was another brother so she wasn't very happy about it either. Still she decides its ok because there is nothing she can do about it.
She's even more irritated when she finds out the baby is colicky and that the doctors had to cut and stich up her mum's entire tummy when the baby was born. She worries that mummy will not heal so she helps as much as a 9 year old can. When mummy shouts and over reacts and more than occasionally neglects she understands it's because mummy is in a lot of pain. She starts helping in the kitchen and vacuuming and she tires faster than before but it's ok because she over hears mummy telling her friends that her daughter is an angel. It makes her happy to know that she is useful and can help her mummy. She smiles because she thinks now she is all growed up.
She can't sleep at night because the baby wakes up wailing. She names the baby Dino because the baby starts crying with the loudest vocals she has ever heard- just like a dinosaur. One day when mummy is really tired, Dino wakes up and starts roaring. She tiptoes into the hall where mummy has quite literally fallen asleep. She doesn't want to bother mummy so she goes and picks up Dino and he's soft and smells of baby powder and it touches a cord in her memory and just like that she starts rocking him and humming and walking around the room inspite of mummy's constant reminder that she must only sit with the baby in her lap. And when Dino stops crying and starts smiling she feels great and she knows he is never going to be Dino again because this moment has made her the big sister again - Just like the last time she had a baby brother. And all the work she does and the tired she feels is worth it because when she turns around with a rocking baby in her arms she expects mummy to shout at her for being reckless , but mummy has tears in her eyes as she kisses her and says your brothers are lucky you are their big sister.
She's upset when mummy is trying to teach her something in the kitchen and is getting restless. She can't learn the way mummy wants to teach and mummy can't teach the way she wants to learn. She is growing up and she and mummy have more than just a few strings out of place. She feels like mummy has become distant to her, she feels doubt and rebellion take root in her heart - but she knows it's not mummy's fault, its her own hormones so she shuts her mouth and doesn't answer back a word no matter what mummy says or does - even though in her head she enacts out a completely different scenario. She wonders if things will remain the same by the time her hormones are normal. There are times when she thinks that she will never grow up and be like her mummy - But it's ok - for now - because she has learnt to maneuver around her mummy - be invisible except when needed.
She sees her mummy through a series of health issues and is always by her side. And she is the one who has to face mummy's mood swings. Obviously it stings but she knows it's a psychological issue with most people who have health troubles. Sometimes she wonders if it really is the hormones or if it is just the fact that mummy needs to let out the frustration-you know like mind over matter, taking control of your actions instead of allowing the hormones to rule the head. She says it's ok because in her religion a mother is the one deserving the highest degree of respect regardless of how the mother behaves with you. And really she loves and adheres to that concept like her life depended on it.
Now that she has really 'growed' up and she and mummy have had the ultimate heart to heart girl talks and complete chic-flick moments and now that she knows the story she calls her mom's life, she understands - better than ever before - that she has all along been the punching bag, in essence, the rock in her mummy's life. It makes her feel humbly great, or greatly humbled or something like that. All those times, all the hurt, she thinks was ok because atleast it spared her brothers from the wrath she faced, because were they in her place they would not have been strong about it, they would never have been patient enough, it might have broken their family apart.
She understands her mom's words now - just like angels never doubt God's judgement or decision, regardless of how they feel, they follow orders, they do not question and above all they love their master relentlessly - she had been mummy's little angel - in every sense of the word. She thinks back and tears fill up her eyes because she thinks of how imperfectly perfect it was - it almost trips her by surprise - and because there is another secret she will never share. She had mummy all to herself before those brothers were ever born and mummy had never been as sweet as that or as loving as that to either of them - because she will always be the first child, the first joy in their lives, the first answer to their prayers. She was given attention and love and pampering for so many years more than her brothers and nothing - absolutely no amount of hurt she faced the rest off her life and none of that attention she desired but never received - will ever compare to those times when she had her parents all to herself. She remembers vividly the treats, the piggyback rides, the caressing, the kisses, the goodnight stories, the tickling fights, the fussy eating, the long drives to the places they wanted to show her, the pride in their acknowledgement of her- she remembers her parent's laughter from those days, their touch, the way they smelled, the things they did - everything. Sometimes she thinks these memories she has of her parents from before life lifted its fairytale facade over her, memories her brothers will never have, the things she knows about them, the way she has seen them - they are a loaded diamond mine that she will never share not even with her brothers. Maybe it makes her selfish but her secrets with them - they are hers to keep, and try as she may she could never completely explain to her brothers these memories - & they make up for everything she feels she missed out on later.
And now when she thinks back on her life - she realises her life wasn't just ok - it was justified.