It was five years ago – Was it really five years ago ???
It was a very warm, humid night – made more miserable by the fact that each and every person in HK had to walk around with a mask every waking minute of the day. Because HK was in the middle of a health crisis, an epidemic called SARS. And so there we were, Aparna, Daddy and Me. We were watching and helping Aparna navigate the Pocahontas CD-ROM and she was giggling away to glory at some of the phrases on the CD-ROM.
And then it happened. You physically announced your intention of making your way out into this world. You took me by surprise actually, not because it was not yet time for you to make your appearance into this world, but because of the rapidness and impatience that you seemed to be exhibiting.
My bag was all packed and ready and while Daddy was pacing the house like a cat on a hot tin roof, like he had pins and needles under both his feet, I was busy taking pains to get my eyeliner right and spent a precious few minutes deciding which perfume to wear. Weird huh ? !! Yeah – but that’s your weird Mommy for you.
I thought Daddy was nervous but that was only until we met our cabbie who was driving us to the hospital. That guy was behaving as though his tail was on fire and his cab was running not on LPG but on rocket fuel. He was scared witless. And he got us to the hospital in absolutely record time.
I remember ever so distinctly the moment you shot into this world – and I remember very very vividly the way you looked. “Oh lord – he looks so cheesed off” was my first thought, for there you were, eyes tightly shut, knees still bent as they would have been in confined space, your little fists balled and shut tight as you screamed your head off. And I remember holding your little fist, running my hand over your head and talking to you and it took my breath away when you quietened immediately. Was it my voice, I wondered ? Or was it that innate sense of security that you felt at that moment ?
No cliches – but this one just cannot be avoided. Time has indeed flown, my dear. It has simply whizzed past right in front of our very eyes and it is with a sense of wonder that I realise that you stand before us today, all of five years old.
This past year has been a rather eventful one for you. It was one in which you saw both – the worst and the best of school life. Both ends of the spectrum. You came across Ms.S, who was and will always remain one of the most important milestones, one of the most impacting personalities in your life. She laid that foundation which taught you to have faith in yourself, to approach confidently any endeavor that may come your way.
The coming year promises to be a very eventful one too. This September, as you start your first year of Primary School we would like to say the same thing to you sweetheart – have faith in yourself and your abilities. Just remember to tell yourself “I can” and you will be surprised yourself as to how much you can accomplish with that mindset.
Whatever you do, whenever it is, wherever it may be, always always remember to have faith in yourself.
You have, of late, been perfecting the art of twisting our heads around like a pretzel. With those questions of yours – a whole galore of questions. Where do so many questions pop into your head from ?, I do wonder, at times. But as you help me grey at a rather alarming and exponential rate with this ability of yours to question anything and everything, my mind does register the fact that this habit of yours is precisely what is making your knowledge base expand rapidly. So keep em coming, sweetheart. My crowning glory still has a long way to go before it turns completely silver !!! :-)
Reading is something you’ve taken to, over the past year – like a fish takes to water. Delightful, is it not ? The world of books ? May this be the beginning of a lifelong friendship with books. It is indeed a delightful world out there, my dear, amongst books. Books that are sure to kindle your imagination and send you on long, winding travels – within your heart of hearts, to your heart’s content.
Charles Eliot once said (and how true this is) :
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends ; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.”
There are moments with you when you are so completely exasperating, truth be told. There are many moments when I’ve been on the verge of pulling out the hair on my head out in clumps, all thanks to you. And that is precisely why one of our favorite nicknames for you is Mr.Exasperation. And more often than not, you do that name such sweet justice that it feels as though that term was coined just for you.
All the same, there are moments when you make my heart stop for just that bit of a millisecond, with your thoughtfulness and sensitivity. You are such a sensitive soul and that I guess, makes you so much more receptive to the discomfort of others. You have this uncanny ability to “sense” stress and irritation in the others around you. And your present teacher Ms.S was amazed at this ability of yours too. She said there have been times when, having sensed how stressed up she was, you’ve walked up to her, patted her softly on her hand and said “its OK Ms.S. It’s OK”.
And she’s also told us that you are very caring with your peers too.
May you always retain this sensitivity that you’ve been born with and that natural ability to empathise with the people around you. In the world of today, where things are fast turning mechanical at a dizzying pace, qualities of being a sensitive human being and more importantly, empathy, is a treasure that you could carry with you.
Yet again, it is this very sensitivity of yours, combined with a non-confrontational attitude, that makes me fear. Fear for you. I do so worry for you because it could make you the perfect target for many bullies. Yet again, when I think with my head, I do console myself by saying that both me and Dad were like this when we were kids. And we survived. But again, a lot many times when I look at the situation from the heart. that cold coil of fear, nervousness and restlessness winds itself around my heart and mind. There is still a lot of fear and self-doubt in you, sweetheart, when it comes to situations wherein you need to hold your fort for yourself, by yourself amongst a whole pack of kids. It does make me want to hug you and protect you within my arms but I do realise the importance of having to “let go” and let you find your own ground here. You will, I’m sure of that. You will.
You still love a good cuddle, don’t you ? And your hugs and kisses are still so spontaneous. They come right out of the blue, when I’m least expecting them. Sometimes when I come down to school to fetch you and you come running out and throw your arms around my neck in a bear hug. God ! Those are the moments I love. Those are the moments when my heart stops just that little bit.
And I will forever remember that moment when Aunty L asked you “So tell me – what did you do for Valentine’s Day ?”. All the other aunties thought you were completely foxed by that question because you paused for a few seconds. I still remember you calmly telling Aunty L “I gave my mum a kiss on her cheek”. And my heart walked out – it actually did. Pitter patter pitter patter – right over to you.
And I do hope this stays for as long as it can before those elements of “Hey don’t hug me in front of my friends” takes over. I know it is bound to happen at some time but until then, I’ll take all the hugs and cuddles that I can get :-).
Right from the time you started to smile – which was early, by the way, really really early on in life, that bright smile of yours has been your trademark, your signature. It has always been a smile that has reflected in your eyes and has always been a smile that has warmed many a heart. May you always keep that smile with you, sweetheart, and may you always spread joy, warmth and cheer to everyone around you.
Five, it is often said, is the age, that threshold between being called a “child” and “a little boy”.
And today, as you stand at that very threshold, sweetheart, there is this poem originally penned by Genevieve C. Coulson (which I’ve adapted and altered here below) that comes to my mind.
May you never be afraid to fly
May you always keep the innocence that is innate at this young age
When you are out on a branch and you feel it shake ;
Have faith that it will steady itself again.
Enjoy your uniqueness and never wish for it to change
And when you fly, go in the direction that will take you to your happiness
And do not be distracted by those which will not
May you spread your wings and fly without doubt
We do so hope that you will give yourself the chance,
To let your mind wonder, To show you the way
When you spread your wings and fly
Know that God will always be there flying next to you
Guiding you in the right direction,
Giving you the strength to wait out the storm,
Being the one to steady the branch
Above all else, sweetheart, know that I love you
And that you always have my open wings to fly back to.
Lots of Love, Hugs and Cuddles,