As published in the New Indian Express http://epaper.newindianexpress.com/340459/The-New-Indian-Express-Bangalore/18-SEPTEMBER-2014#page/17/1
Motherhood: being a mother; so much has been written about it already.
And today I’ve decided to write about it, again. After all, it is one of the biggest things that define me, no matter how I try to pretend it doesn’t.
I’ve tried to write something for a while, now. I’ve touched upon the subject several times. However, I have failed to talk about it in real terms; what it actually is, and I have a feeling I will fail again.
Motherhood is subjective. No two experiences are exactly the same, although some common threads may run through every scenario.
Motherhood is also an inescapable, all encompassing cloud of guilt and love. Both exist in their purest forms, for a mother and to a certain extent, for a mother to be.
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, metaphysical 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 their 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 in 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 my children can sleep in peace.
It’s funny how priorities shift. If we go out, I want my daughter to look like the most beautiful girl in the room. I will accessorise her like a little doll until all I can spare for myself is a quick shower and 15 minutes to dress and adorn myself in any haphazard way I can.
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 crayon, I can see, the way only a mother can, all his potential brilliance, something beyond the ordinary and I am so very proud! Both of my children, I am sure, are destined for greatness.
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 yearn to go back and watch, a few times more.
My children, as for any mother, are miracles to be witnessed with eyes wide and heart 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 will find 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.
It lifts you up so you can see the face of the divine, exhilarated at the sheer heights you have achieved, but the fear of the fall and the very brightness of that which you were never meant to see, leaves you blinded. All can become black in an instant.
No, this is motherhood: love, pride, guilt and fear.