This is a late, late post. Last month had been physically and mentally taxing because finally, my son’s formal school started in April. I had penned this down but forgot to publish it. Imagine the kind of routines I was going through…
The orientation ceremony in February, rung bells to start preparations for the formal school. New books, uniforms, bags, tiffins, etc. Covering the books and labeling them was easier than filling up n-number of forms and sticking photographs on each one of them. Nevertheless, the toughest task was programming our body clocks. So the preparations for the first day at school started 15 days earlier. Till now, I woke up at 6 and enjoyed my cup of lemon water with the newspaper till 7. And the boy? Well, earlier his day started at 8 AM, in fact, 8:30 AM in winters, but now we had to shift it by 2 hours and wake up by 6 AM at least. That meant giving up my morning peace. I barely managed to push myself out of the bed and had to drag him out too.
For obvious reasons, I had tiresome holidays and finally, they came to an end. Now he would be in school for 3 extra hours and I would get 6 hours by myself, instead of 3 (as in a playschool). Yippeeee!!! My brain heaved a sigh of relief but my heart skipped a beat. No, not because the boy was going to spend a few hours without me. He had been going to the playschool for over a year now. But he will be on his own for 6 hours flat. Boarding the bus, settling down in class. Of course under the teacher’s guidance, but definitely without that wholesome attention. Now even the student-teacher ratio is twice as that in a playschool.
Now, I won’t have to run after him for the morning breakfast. Instead, the teacher will do that for him. Wow! What a relief! But will she care enough to feed him with the same patience, I do. She will certainly not entertain his tantrums and the last minute demands.
And above all, thank god he wasn’t cranky with separation anxiety. It’s really tough to leave a crying child with the teacher. But this is the biggest reason for my heart skipping a beat. You should have looked at the other kids. They were shouting, crying and pushing themselves really hard to get down from the bus. And here my son was waving me a goodbye kiss…Phew!! I welled up while kissing him bye and I am choking again while penning this down. Fellow parents envied me for having a happy kid. They exclaimed – “How did you train him to leave on a bus?” But ask me! The ma aka dil was pounding hard. It was hard to accept that he was so grown up to not exhibit any symptoms of separation anxiety. Not even a blink or twitch of lips. The mother in me was happy to see my kid on his own but isn’t it too early for him? He has to learn to button his shirt and pant…tie his shoelaces… Use a knife and fork on his own. He needs to memorize the phone numbers and address. He has tons of things to do before being a grown-up.
It would not be wrong to say that in the scorching heat, I stood on the bus stand like a rock oblivious of the honking traffic, the sweat trickling down my neckline and the hawkers screaming on top of their voice. Because even though I came back to my home, my soul was still stuck on the bus stop waiting for my son to come back home. People are right in saying that a woman’s heart is complex but a mother’s heart is a step ahead. On one hand, I was waiting for this day and on the other hand, my heart was finding it really hard to accept. I had so many plans for the day but they all went down the drain because I sat on the window in almost Devdas style, waiting for him. And finally, when the bus halted, I had a glimpse of him through the window. His eyes were searching for me and as he stepped down from the bus, his outstretched hands wrapped around me and his parched lips said, “Mumma, what’s there for lunch? I am so hungry!!”. My heart skipped a beat in joy and my brain heaved a sigh of relief yet again because there is still time before he takes a leap out of his nest. There’s still time before he is on his own in true sense.
I know that it’s too early to fear or rejoice over that day. But I can’t help worrying about that. I don’t have any plans to make him a momma’s boy who follows his mom unconditionally, at all costs. I don’t want to keep him tied to my pallu either. But I definitely want him to stay rooted in the home. I want him to conquer the world and discover himself. But he should come back home to find peace and solace. I want him to live by the saying. “Home is where the heart is.”