Most of us, urban middle class, educated, self made parents of today, were born to parents who struggled hard to make ends meet. Because our parents had limited means, they were constantly prioritizing resources. As children, we had limited reused toys, clothes and almost no fancy holidays. The paradox is that while our parents struggled financially, they made it up for the time that they invested in us. Our generation, which lives in an era of abundance, lacks the only one thing that money cannot buy – Time.
Our children have the latest clothes, books, toys, and holidays. Each day, in the pretext of being a better parent, I am searching for the one new thing that can improve the quality of life of my children. What is the one gift that will lighten up their eyes and provide mental and/or physical stimulation to them. Sadly, there is no gift in this world which has more than a few days of shelf life in our house. No matter how expensive, beautiful or creative the gift is, it would have expired its utility in the minds of my children within a few days.
I solved the dilemma about the perfect gift a few nights ago. Toyna and Yog were trying different tactics to bargain a few more minutes before sleep time. Yog held his stomach with both hands and complained, “My tummy is paining! Mummy, I am sooooo hungry!” He knows meal time is what will get him the longest time to stay out of bed. I shook my head, “No Yog! Dinner time is over. It is sleep time now!” Toyna then pitched in, “Mama, can I finish watching this movie! Only 5 more minutes left.” I shook my head again. I knew the next negotiation would be story time, which I normally give into. After story, Yog would want to go drink some water. Then he would need to pee. Then they will fight over which side of the bed, who sleeps. They they will fight over the blanket. And in the end, they will fight over me. “Yog move over, let me sleep with Mama!”
Hah! It is the same negotiation every day, resulting in the same outcomes. However, Yog and Toyna still try it out everyday. As we ended all the negotiations and they both snuggled close to me, I thought the day was finally about to end. However, Toyna had one more trick up her sleeve today. She gingerly sneaked her hand under the blanket and tickled Yog. Yog was waiting just for this moment, to peel into laughter and jump over Toyna to tickle her back. In a span of a few seconds, the peace was broken again and I had two high energy kids jumping on the bed in the darkness of the night.
I raised my voice and pulled Yog back into his side of the bed. I threatened him with Willie Wonka coming to check on kids and literally wrapped him tight in his blanket, so he could not move any more. With me finally in control, two of them knocked off to sleep in the next two minutes. I have never been into night time prayers before, but since the time these two have come in my life, it is at this exact moment, when they both drift to sleep, that I thank God for sending them in my life. They are the biggest gift, I could have ever received.
On the same thought, I looked at both their faces and realized that the best gift that both of them had in their lives, right now, was the gift of having each other. They stimulate each other mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Even on days, I barely have time for them, they are still complete with each other. With their own strengths and eccentricities, they compliment each other perfectly. I guess the bond between siblings is the best gift that we can receive as children. I am thankful to have spent my childhood with two beautiful sisters and I am thankful that my children can enjoy the bond as well. Perhaps, there is no need to provide them with much more than that.