If I was to play one of those word association games, along with love, affection, caretaker the one word that strikes me as the closest association with being a parent is patience. In the last six months, patience has been the greatest lesson I have learnt and continue to learn day on day in all its many facets.
Patience in working on a schedule of a tiny human being which is completely different from yours. Having been one who was out of house by 8:30 AM Monday – Friday and all calls done and errands organized during the commute to work, the first lesson I learnt was to let go of the basics. Patiently, welcome and enjoy breakfast at noon, a bath at 2 PM if you’re lucky and those birthday phone calls even to your sister can wait until 8 PM even though you’ve been up since 6 AM. Even if now, someone was to ask me ‘what did you do with your time’, I couldn’t put my finger on it. All I know is I learnt the art of not looking at clock and being ok with hanging in my PJs with my hair unwashed for most of the day.
Patience in holding back. There have been so many times already where I see this precious piece of my heart struggling to hold a toy or pull their hand out from underneath herself – a simple task to complete which I know a little nudge from me would give her what she wants. At these times, I hold back from helping. The sense of accomplishment in her figuring things out for herself is evident in the big smile she gets and the effort reduces the next time she attempts the same task. Also, a life lesson maybe …teach a man to fish, rather than giving him fish except here we talk of hanging purple donkeys and teethers.
Patience in listening. Parenting is a personal experience and in a country like ours billions of people have gone through. So really, four out of five people you meet is a parent with their own well intentioned advice and opinions. Patiently listening and filtering is the key. From unscientific words like ‘this is the amount of milk she should be having’ to in order to ward of nazar its most effective to place a kala tikka in a specific part of the body I heard ‘em all … behind the ear, on the ear, on the left forehead, on the right forehead, on the sole of the foot and it goes on. From initially being a paranoid parent and doing it all to now doing nothing and simply enjoying the advice and appreciating that hey everyone who tells me anything cares for this little person and her wellbeing. Babies are even more evolved than adults in many ways and give very clear signs to parents and caretakers – I cry only if I am hungry, my diaper is dirty or I want to sleep. Process of elimination works perfectly well.
Patience in accepting a different parenting style. While I could be smothering mom where my baby shouldn’t shed one tear and shouldn’t even wake up alone so she feels safe and secure from the minute she opens her eyes, her Dad is a doting worldly wise one. His parenting style is practical and loving – its ok with she cries at times and self-soothes, that’s what real life is you must heal your own wounds. Its ok if wakes up alone a few times, she will be startled the first few times and then learn to play on her own – on her way to developing independence. And that’s why there are two of us… one to force the other person to let go even so early on. We love you Dad , we know you know the right thing to do but it’s hard for us.. but we are learning.
Patience in love. Being a parent truly teaches you to love selflessly – to give all of you, all the time. It makes you a better person. No matter what your mood is, no matter what troubles you when you walk into your baby’s room – you let go. You change your mood and get on with being a clown, a gymnast and unlimited giver of hugs and kisses. Babies pick up on vibrations and the only ones we should give them are pristine white. What follows is… your anger and worries subside, everything else seems minimal and not so important, you bury grudges and move on faster. True forgive and forget.
It is established, babies are amazing – for everyone who is parent will agree to it but what I am grateful for is the life lessons this beautiful human being has taught me and will continue to teach me. Thank you my love … you and your other little buddies are truly God’s angels.