After a long summer break, school started yesterday again for three year old Yog. I was trying to mentally prepare him to go to school since the last few days. His response, so far, had been mixed. Some days he seemed excited to go back to school and some days he used to out rightly refuse to go to school. “ I will come to office with you Mama! I don’t want to go to school!”. As we started for school yesterday morning, he seemed pretty composed. I would not call him happy or sad. He was composed. I felt he was resigned to the fact of going to school and was mentally prepared to deal with it. He went into his class calmly, without even turning back to look at me. He politely asked his teacher where to sit and gracefully sat on the last bench in the class. On one hand, I could feel my heart swelling with gratitude and pride. On the other hand, I felt a pull at my heart as it realized that Yog was already a big boy, capable of handling himself.
Post lunch, I lined outside school for 15 minutes in the hot sweltering heat along with hundreds of other anxious parents. As I entered the school building, I could hear children howling for their mothers from every corner. Oh no! I instantly worried how poor Yog would have fared in such a negative environment. Moments later I stood at his class doorway watching him crying his heart out, tears pouring from his big eyes, drenching his red cheeks. Ah! This was expected. I would have honestly been (happily) surprised, if I saw him playing around on this first day.
Well, knowing that Yog would end up crying on his first day to school, should I have sent him to school? The answer is of course No. This first day would have come, any day he first went to school. Is there something I could have done to make the first day easier for him? Maybe Yes! I did pack his favourite snack, bottle and school bag. But honestly, in my heart, I knew that no matter what I did, the first day at school would have been hard on him. Does it make me a bad Mom? Does it make him a weak son? I would have probably said Yes to these questions 7 years ago when my daughter started school. In those days, I held myself responsible for her tears. As a good parent, I had to do something, anything to make her stop crying. In fact, the harder I tried, the more she ended up crying. I remember I used take forever to say goodbye at school gates. I used to sneak into school to peek into her classroom. I used to even end up crying with her. And yes some days, I gave into “I do not want to go to school” demands, and cuddle at home with her for the rest of the day. Did any of this make life easier for her? I am not sure if it did.
After 11 years of parenting, I have learnt that there is no good or bad way of parenting. No matter what you do, you will still be the Best Mom for your child. More importantly, through this journey, I have realized that it is absolutely OK to cry and let others cry once in a while, or all the time (their choice). Being a good parent, or a spouse, or a manager does not necessarily mean that we are responsible for maintaining a high happiness index at all times for those involved. When Yog slips on the floor and falls, he is bound to feel pain. He is therefore bound to cry. As a mother, all I can do is to hug him and tell him that it is Ok to cry. It was not the floors fault that he got hurt. It is not for me to decide, how much pain he is supposed to feel. It is also not for me to decide, how long the pain will last. If I have to be true to him, to myself and to the floor, I can just tell him that such things happen. It is Ok to feel the pain and it is OK to cry.
In spite of all the processes, standards, checklists and certifications in the world around me, I still take pride in being a human. I am not a robot and I can hundred percent guarantee that I did not give birth to robots. While I can control it, I will strive to maintain the human factor in them. This means that they will laugh like crazy, cry like crazy and maybe love like crazy too. Maybe in the future there will come a day, when the world will be full of man-made robots and man acting like robots. Maybe my children, too, will be forced to join these legions. In those days, I hope my children will, somewhere deep in their hearts, remember that it is OK to laugh and it is completely OK to cry as well.