Friday, November 03, 2017

Collapse of an ego

Becoming a parent is destruction, says Natasha, a destruction of one's self, before there is creation, the soundless collapse of one's ego.

And I think to myself, after Rahul's birth, that is what this blog documented. It recorded my struggles as I fought the collapse, as I refused to acknowledge its necessity, and yet, necessarily, the responsibility of a child shattered my image of myself and reconstructed a woman I occasionally had trouble recognising in the mirror. Within a year I went from haunted college woman to strained first time mother, struggling to make sense of a human being I'd created but whom I barely understood. So much of my posts here are about me trying to figure that boy out. Of me but not me. Of Vicky, but not Vicky either. And it's not because I was particularly dense, it was just the process of becoming a parent, and I didn't realise what it would entail.

Beni's coming brought on a different kind of destruction. By then I'd already given up on my pet parenting theories and ideals. All I wanted was a baby to hold, and I got one who never wanted to be put down. With his arrival there came upon me an indescribable exhaustion that has never truly left me. I don't know what to make of it. I feel ill but I'm reasonably sure I'm not in a health crisis. My tests bear me out. I am too tired to think, to plan ahead, to do all the things (or even some) that I did for Rahul. I don't read books to him and I don't often play with him. He is growing up beautifully all the same, because that is his nature. And also because this time around, I am older and have been around children long enough to know that all they need is love. Everything else is negotiable. Does that sound ridiculously idealistic?

Beni destroyed the crumbling remnants of the mother I used to be. I wanted to shower a little one with uncritical affection, and he made it easy for me to do this. I didn't trouble to understand his nature because I knew he would reveal himself in time. (Note: the revelations are scary, this child is unnerving, but more another time.) I haven't worried over his needs because over time he is learning to articulate them to me. Even now, at the difficult age of three-and-a-half where he is struggling to accept that he cannot control his universe and his frustration can raise the roof, even then, he will quieten down if we hold him tight and acknowledge that he is troubled. That is all he really needs from me right now. And after a while, he will come apologise to me of his own accord. I find it amusing that he apologises to me the most, because I apologise to him each time I wrong him. His father and brother rarely apologise to him and in turn get far fewer apologies than I do. This essentially gentle, loving, sensitive little boy doesn't feel created by me, but I must have had some hand in his making, and he in mine.

If Rahul taught me to marvel at a world I'd never noticed before, from Beni I am learning something new of love.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

It's early in the morning

And I woke up before dawn, as happens when I sleep at a decent hour, unfortunately. I thought I'd work but instead I stayed up listening to music and wondering, for millionth time, why things that should fill me with joy make me sad.

It saddens me to watch the boys grow. There was a time when I couldn't wait for Rahul to grow older, easier, less demanding, and now that he is, I fight the urge to cling on to him for my own selfish reasons. I get fed up that Beni needs me... but when he's playing quietly by himself I go find him and make my presence felt. When they come to tell me they love me, I revel in it, knowing it's vanishing even as I do.

I've been looking at my world as though it might vanish at any moment, hating it fiercely for existing so differently from how I'd wanted it, and holding on desperately to every part of it because I built it and it's mine.

Now I'll go watch the unrelenting rain. My thoughts can remain in my head. Not everything always needs to be written down.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Love letter

This summer I learnt to love, all over again.

If you were to ask me (please don't ask) I'd have to admit that love scares me.

So every day of my life I crush my pride and tell people they matter to me.

This summer I learnt to let the last vestiges of pride go.

My little one, you come knocking to my door and ask me when I will have time for you. Not the daughter I longed for, but ever so infinitely precious. With your coming I was gifted an insight into the depths of my heart. I learnt to understand my father's heart.

And my firstborn, that keeps me awake each night petrified with fear because the world will hurt him, but the world will also welcome him and celebrate him, because that's his blessing, you make me confront every childhood demon, every maternal fear, and show me my love is bigger than my parenting shortcomings.

If you ask me (please don't ask) I'd tell you this summer I learnt to love. Without pride, without reservation, without hesitation. If you call, I'll come running. Call me and see.