Its 10.00 clock in the night, some would say pretty early in the day to go out looking for a boy who will turn 20 next month. But yesterday night I did just that. I dragged my husband out of bed to go looking for our son as there was no response to calls I made to his mobile phone several times nor a reply to my text messages. The phone was switched on so I could not figure out why he was not answering it. I knew he was having a Halloween party at his college till 8.00p.m.but this was two hours later than the time he told me he would finish.
Halfway into our drive from home, he calls and the first thing he asks me is, ”Amma, why are you calling everyone? I had left my phone in the bag so could not answer.” I brush off his question with some vague answer and say I did not call everyone. ( Just two friends and the mother of a friend.)
The simple answer to the Why? question should have been, “Because I am a mother.” Plain and simple. Just being a “Mother” is enough reason to overreact at the smallest hint of a perceived threat to their offspring. Most times these threats are imaginary and something the children would brush aside without blinking an eye. For me it an instinctive reaction. I can’t help it and I know it’s certainly NOT JUST ME. I am not aggressive by nature but when the “MOTHER” in me kicks in I am a Tigress. It’s funny how I completely change and become the over protective person trying to shield the children from all kinds of things. And I am not even close to being a very hands-on mother. The Tiger Mom is not me, but it’s also very much me.
Later back in bed that night, I stay up thinking that it’s time to let go. In December he will turn 20. He is legally an adult. He can operate his own bank account, he has got his own driving license, he is entitled to vote whenever the next election comes around and he is old enough to take a wife if he so wishes. (At this point he made it known to me he has no intention of ever getting married and I have in turn told him it’s a wise decision as I have no intention of taking care of grandchildren in my retirement years. )
I get annoyed at times when my mother still calls to check if I am getting late to come home, when she asks if I have had my meals, when she gets overly worried if I complain of being unwell. I am itching to tell her I am a grown up woman now, I can take care of myself but I don’t. It’s true what they say. For a mother her children will always be her little ones. It’s one home truth that will not change.
“You are special. You understand me,” said Anoushka when I met her last Sunday. Her words almost made me cry because Anouskha is a beautiful and intelligent 27-year-old girl who has lived almost her entire life on a wheel chair. We were at Anoushka s house to send the day and it was truly a memorable and inspiring experience for me.
I first met Anoushka less than a month ago at my sister Indini’s birthday party. They attend the school for differently abled persons in Colombo but while Indini suffers from schizophrenia, a mental illness, Anoushka suffers from a physical handicap. But both those with physical and mental handicaps have their fair share of challenges to overcome and issues that have to be dealt with a lot of patience.
Though confined to a wheelchair, Anouskha has her dreams like all of us. The first time I met her she asked me to find her a boyfriend. That is when I asked her how old she is. “Twenty Seven,’ she said. She asked me how many kids I had. “Two,” I said. She said she wants to experience motherhood. To feel what it is like to carry a baby inside of her.
It made me think later that being a mother is indeed a privilege which I have almost always taken for granted. It was, for me, something I excepted to happen soon after I got married and I did become a mother within little over a year of being married. But that was after suffering a miscarriage. I had always dreamed of being a wife and mother from my young days probably influenced by all the fairy tales I read and later by the Mills and Boons romances. I always wanted to be the perfect wife and mother which I have to say I have not even come close to becoming. But I think I have managed to raise two decent boys and hope they don’t get into too much trouble in the future. That of course time will tell. I ve also managed to juggle home life and work, thanks greatly to the two grandmothers who pitch in to help out so generously.
But getting back to the issue of motherhood, what I now understand is that it’s not something that can be taken for granted. Not by a long shot. When I see my friends struggle to get pregnant and when my own sister is struggling to be a mom, I know that nothing in life can be expected to take a certain path.
Looking back – miscarriages, Caesarian sections, stretch marks, leaking breasts, sleepless nights and emergency trips to hospitals, all seem worthwhile.
It’s so easy for any of us to be on the other side by some twist of fate and Anoushka’s words made me realize that nothing should be taken for granted in this life.