About my boy

This time, next week, my little one, you will turn seven. That’s officially the age, in my head, when kids stop being cute and move on to being hyper annoying. Actually, till I had you and your sister, it was age five, but you’ve disproved that. You’ve managed to remain cute a year longer.

When I had you, you weren’t pretty. To be honest, I didn’t even want you. You were a surprise, one I couldn’t get used to or enjoy. Your lactose allergy meant you cried every time you were fed, and we didn’t know. So you cried some more. That didn’t endear you to the postpartum depressive mother that I was. A child who would only feel comfortable if I carried him, or soothed him or fed him. No one else would do. When you were six months old, and beautiful as a rising sun, I watched you watch me wherever I went, while your grandfather held you. In your limpid eyes, I saw a yearning that I had never seen before. You watched as I gathered your sister in my arms, the light from the window turning your wispy hair into a softly-glowing halo, your mouth just a little open, cheeks begging to be kissed. Your eyes followed me every where. That day, I found your mother. Till then, I was your caregiver; you just happened to be born in my womb. But that day, your little six-month-old being, waiting mutely patient to be given the same love I was showering on your sister, chiselled past the barricades my mind had built around your presence. Like a dawn wiping away a night, and taking over a sleeping land, your hunger for love, your quietly powerful insistence that you were my child too, woke me up. You had walked in and turned on the sun.

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Since then, I haven’t been able to stop wanting to cuddle you till you rub off on my skin, and keep you safe in my physical heart, forever. With each growing year, you present to me astonishing gifts of and from yourself. Your utter and complete joy, your immense and gobsmacking ability to be the bigger person when there’s a conflict, to say, “It’s okay, Amma, let Shyama have it,” to understand instinctively that illness needs care. Where do you come from, my little man? Where did you learn to listen, and consider what the other person is saying? Like when I said a particularly difficult child in your class might be a bully because he has no friends, and you insisted, crying, that no, he had no friends because he was a bully; but you went back the next day to make friends with him. You came back and said, “You might be right. Maybe he’s lonely and that’s why he bullies us.”

How did you learn, tell me, to forgive so easily? And so wholeheartedly? And how does your heart break so badly, that when you cry, I want to give you the world? I wonder if you  know how much I cherish that you want to hold my hand when we walk, whether it’s up the stairs at home or walking down a street. I wonder if you know, that the first time I saw you run a race, you waited for the people you left behind to catch up with you. That for an entire two weeks, when you were a chubby, incredible cuddly three-year old, you spent frantic amounts of time collecting dried leaves because you hated that they fell from trees. And then you refused to step out because fallen leaves would make you cry. Where does this heart of the tenderest flowers come from, my little one? And more importantly, how do I send you out in the world like this? How do I let you go be with people who do not know compassion from a compass? And now that I do have to send you out, how do I make sure your light shines, your compassion, your heart and your infinite kindness are not lost? How do I ensure that you  know those are good things to hold on to, to wear as a badge, to share and to teach? How do I teach  you that those are not weakness, but magical strengths that will be your biggest allies when life gets tough?

When you cry, my darling, and go  limp in my arms when I gather you up, it is the most heartbreaking thing I have experienced. I am engulfed by the pain you are in, even if the pain is of having to bathe first, before your sister. Or the pain of not getting to sit by the window seat in the bus. I hope things that hurt will always be so small; and that if they are big, as you grow bigger yourself, I hope you will always knows that a good, hard cry will always clear things up inside you. The outside mess always clears up on its own.

Two weeks ago you told me about your … erm… girlfriend. I asked you how you knew she liked you. You said because she said so. I hope you will remember for the rest of your life that that is the only way to tell whether a girl likes you: that she explicitly said so. Not because she smiled at you, not because she chatted with you, not because she let you borrow her water bottle. But because she said so. And I hope you’ll always notice the little things about her, like you do now. What do you like about her, I asked. You said, “Her voice. It is so delicate.” For a six year old, you’re pretty darned sweet. I hope you’ll always enjoy shopping for saris, or noticing how a girl looks. “That lipstick really matches your teeth, Amma,” will be the best compliment I’ve never fully understood. If you’re into girls, little one, they like this stuff. And if you are into boys, I am pretty sure they like being noticed and complimented too.

I am very little of the mother you deserve. You are much, much more than the son I deserve. Thank you for making my life easy, when everything else around me is difficult. Thank you for ridiculous jokes, your joy, your utter and complete adorableness. Thank you for being a grown up, even though you shouldn’t have to be. Thank you for coming into my life, and turning on the lights. Without you, I would only be half the person I am.

 

Happy 7th, my little one.

Love,

Your Big One.

11 thoughts on “About my boy

  1. ChhotaShakeel

    It almost seems like you want him to like boys, with the cross-dressing and constant spurring to like boys. I’m all for encouraging the kids and their embracing their sexuality but your posts are tipping the scales over, almost as if you’re willing him to go against what comes to him naturally and be homosexual.

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    1. Iceman

      It almost seems like you have been left by society to rot alone inside that hopeless mind of yours and you seem to have resorted to spraying your words online. I’m all for anonymous regurgitation of opinions, but your post suggests that you like to go on witch-hunts, of women you don’t agree with, and gatecrash with irrelevant arguments, on little sweet moments, such as on simple open notes left by a mother to her son.

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  2. malati bhaduri

    i’m speechless. every word here resonates what i feel for my 12 year old. thank you for writing this. i am smiling though i have the hugest lump in my throat and my eyes are glistening.

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    Reply
  3. Brown Girl In The Wring

    ChotaShakeel,

    Maybe think about how wonderful it would be for kids struggling with their sexuality to know that they have their parents support and love no matter who they love, instead of being stuck in your privileged heteronormative mindset.

    Ok?

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  4. amreekandesi

    Sandhya – this is just beautiful. My eyes welled up reading the post. You son sounds like a beautiful child. Rare for children to have such compassion/sensitivity at the age of 6. God bless him.

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  5. madhuarora

    Sandhya, I have traversed a similar journey with my son…. from wanting to have a girl, to being sad about having a boy, to learning boys are fabulous, and now 6 years later being unable to function without him. My son has made me a stronger feminist. My son has made me understand how unfair we are to little boys sometimes, right now he faces a bully of his own in his school bus, who makes fun of my son for liking “girly” things. But at 6, my son just laughs it off, while at 36, I worry about how it impacts him. He is my shining light, and he has seen me through a lot of tough times. I think, we the parents, need children more than they need us.

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  6. musingswithasmile

    This is one of the nicest article I came across.with few big fat tears and lot of same warmth I re-lived my postnatal period. The moment that transition from caregiver to mother is indeed close to heart. Wonderful article.

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