It was a weepy morning today, in a good news kind of way.
After many days of having been ill at home, our eight-year-old has gone to school. When I called out her name at 5.30am, Sahar opened her day with, “Thank you for waking me up, Mamma.”
Sweet emotion: Laughing together is part of a parent-child relationship. Photo: Thinkstock
After 2 hours of morning exercises, breakfast and her medicines, we walked to the bus stop together, baby in my arms. Sahar walked ahead of us. Brave and strong. My grip on the baby must have tightened when the school bus came. Sahar got on.
My tears began to well as the door shut and the yellow bus wiped past us, fresh little faces in every window.
Strength and vulnerability, love and exhaustion, illness and laughter, courage and fear; we don’t usually expect to meet these contrary characters together. Yet they are forever marching into our life, holding hands, unaware that according to the rulebook they have no business being seen together.
Yes, I know you are nodding your head in agreement. In the business of raising families, things don’t always make sense in the way we expect them to. This used to be a lonely feeling, till I discovered that almost everyone on this ship has a private collection of his or her own set of loony moments. Tentatively share yours and watch the eagerness with which everyone pulls out his or hers.
So here are this fortnight’s secret tips. Pay attention and loony shall never feel lonesome again.
Many parent moments are designed to make us laugh and cry together, one after the other. Do it without feeling crazy. It is the next step in evolution. Lead the way.
It is normal to feel utterly sad for the things one has let go and yet be sure that one does not want them back. Feeling sad is not a problem that needs to be solved. It’s like a dark woolly cloud, or the snatch of a song. It passes.
Fear is an everyday visitor in these parts. Sit it down, make a cup of tea, and dip biscuits in it if that’s your thing. Fear is really a parent’s best friend. It is always there, we might as well befriend it, right? Never let that knot in your stomach stop you from having fun.
I learned this one from my recent extended-family-visits- a-water-park experience. It had seemed like an innocent weekend plan but as soon as we reached the water park, I was visited by waves of revulsion and horror. A heady cocktail of childhood fears and parental insecurities made me dizzy. I turned my back to my group and began to channel my inner Elastigirl. Plan an escape, somehow.
Sahar came running to me. “Mamma, I am sooo excited,” she said. Then she added, “I was very excited, but when I saw your face, I became a little less excited.”
I took out my emergency toolkit and began to screw off my stricken expression. Sure, I am entitled to my phobias and hang-ups, but why contaminate the fresh air of my children’s childhood with them. This is their water park story and the least I can do is not disable their natural sense of joy. After a while a happy bunch of cousins were squealing in the water and I had my own favourite toy in my hand, my camera.
We all know how to be informed, opinionated, stressed and outraged. It may be necessary, but adult work is exhausting. We owe it to ourselves to identify our own favourite toys. Make time for play.
Laughter is the abiding sound of childhood. And I mean the laughter of parents. Good old senseless, untimely, irreverent, guffaw-filled laughter.
Go on, put this down and laugh out loud.
Natasha Badhwar is a film-maker, media trainer and mother of three.
Write to Natasha at firstname.lastname@example.org