Many years back my daughter had once asked me, ‘So Ma, what defines you?’ The immediate prompt for that question was a hoarding we had just crossed with those very words ~’what defines you’~ being used as an advertising slogan. ‘My children’, i had answered without a seconds hesitation. A further ‘aww’ and ‘why’ from her led to some reflection. Perhaps i couldn’t really articulate all the emotions and sense of fulfilment motherhood gives you; yet i was unequivocally certain that whatever the attendant trials of parenting, children truly are your life’s most prized possessions. No professional pinnacle achieved or any other life-achievement for that matter can ever equal the spectrum emotions motherhood gives. Your children are the ‘grace’ life bestows on you, and i was sure nothing could beat the experience of that moment when you are handed that little human you have given birth to.
And then your little bundle grows up and has a child of their own and you have another chance to relive that wondrous feeling, only this time it surpasses the original. I used to hear my mother and mother-in-law often reciting an old proverb in our language “asal se sood pyara” (loosely translated it means that the interest amount is more dear to a money lender than the principal amount and the proverb is widely used to say how grandchildren are loved more than our own children). As we awaited the ‘grand’ news, i confess i was as nervous as i was excited and often wondered if i would turn out to be the kind of love-struck-grandma so many of my grandma-friends seemed to be? And then when you become one you realise that that aspect is a given! Grandparent-love is like a viral condition you have to come down with!
As we get together as a family to celebrate the little ones first birthday, i can’t help but reflect on what it is that makes this milestone of life so special and remarkable. People have different takes on the experience ranging from the sentimental to the humorous. There are those who with delightful wickedness tell you that it is the perfect opportunity to get even with your own children for past slights, indiscretions and sleepless nights (the foamy love you may camouflage it all in, notwithstanding!) Jokes apart, the fact remains that as a grandparent there is no compulsion to follow rigid-parenting-routines nor is there any dilemma of responsible parenting. The delicious joy that makes being a grandparent so worthwhile is that all you are required to do is to use your resources and time to spoil the grandchild! Your own child is often aghast at all that you let the little one do, but who cares? The bottom line is that grandkids are for spoiling and grandparents are duty bound to do so ~ it is the law of nature!