Many Hues of Motherhood

Published: 18th September 2014 06:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th September 2014 06:04 AM   |  A+A-

BANGALORE: Motherhood is subjective. No two experiences are the same, although some common threads may run through every experience. As I look at my children, it is impossible for me to separate my existence from theirs. Although the umbilical cord has been cut physically, a more metaphorical one exists. This cord will never be severed, cannot be removed, not even by death.

I know this, because I see it in the eyes of mothers who have lost a child, and in the eyes of a child who has lost her mother. I see the one who has been lost, there still, like a watchful shadow, and there they shall remain, the silence in between words, in the space between two worlds, summoned occasionally in a memory, a smell or a sound.

As I look at my children, one girl and one boy, one moon and one sun, as my daughter likes to say, I feel a weight upon my chest. All at once, it is a comfort and a burden. I only feel the burden during the nights when they do not sleep because of a fever or a cough, but that burden I will willingly carry just so they can sleep in peace.

It’s funny how priorities shift. If we go out, I want my daughter to be the most beautiful girl in the room. I accessorise her like a doll until all I can spare for myself is a quick shower and 15 minutes to dress in any haphazard way.

My tiger stripes and panda eyes don’t bother me so much these days, not when I look at my son hold his cricket bat or emulate his older sister when she does her homework. As he scribbles indecipherable symbols on to a page with crayons, I can see, the way only a mother can, all his intelligence, something beyond the ordinary, and I am so very proud!

I can take a million photographs of them and look at them again and again and again. I can watch candid videos of a giggle or a tumble countless times and still want to go back and watch a few times more.

My children, as for any mother, are miracles to be witnessed with eyes wide and hearts open.

I wonder why. Evolutionists will say a mother’s love serves to protect her future line. Is that why I growl like a panther at the very thought of anyone harming my offspring? Is it really so primal? Oh, the guilt! Let’s not forget the guilt. That awful feeling chases you around your own mind until you succumb. In that space between logic and reason, a mother finds a place for blame, three quarters of it resting with herself, because surely there was someway to prevent this.

“If only, if only, if only,” a voice whispers in the dark. Yes, love, pride and guilt. That is what motherhood is, light and dark, the sun and the space between the stars.


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