25 May, 2009

Happy Birthday Abhay :) !!

You stand before us today – all of 6 years old.

As you step into another threshold of life – one that is sure to bring about wiggly teeth :) and a certain squeamishness about “girls !!”, I cannot help but marvel at the way in which you’ve changed over the past year. What makes it even more special, what makes this phenomenon even more amazing is the fact that it has unfolded right in front of our very eyes.

Everybody knows that children change as they grow but to have actually been in the loop, to have watched you take those first steps towards self-confidence and self-identity is something beyond description. You started this journey with a quite an amount of trepidation and nervousness. As your confidence in yourself grew, layer after layer of the earlier anxiety and apprehension were shed along the way and to have been a spectator to the way in which your personality has bloomed/is blooming – is totally beyond description.

There was a time when I used to worry about how you would fare in the midst of other children because there still was that element of fear in you. That element of fear which used to bring about the “flight” response in you rather than the “fight” response. And yes, I confess to having spent many a sleepless night wondering how you would be able to stand up for yourself once you started primary school. Now looking back, I see that my fears were rather unfounded. It took you a while but I cannot help but admire the manner in which you’ve learnt to handle situations. Now when I look at you in school, I do realize that for the tiny midget that you are in terms of height and body weight, you’ve certainly made your presence felt among so many other children.

The same little boy who used to hang back and get bullied and pushed into the end of the line at the beginning of the school year – is now seen actively competing for what is “his” – no matter what the outcome.

There was a time when I used to worry about whether you were just that wee bit too clingy. And it used to make me wonder as to how you would learn that one has to “un-cling” oneself from one’s parents. I used to take faith in the hope that it would happen all by itself and that you would grow out of that clingy phase.

The same little boy who used to insist on sitting on mommy’s lap or hold onto mommy’s finger everytime he saw her around – is now making sure that he is not anywhere around mommy – when she goes over to school every Friday. Just a wave and a quick “Hi” and a smile is all that Mommy gets at school – that too from a very safe distance. The same little boy who used to hang on to mommy’s coattails for dear life – is now exhibiting a body language in public which says “Who knows what’s with Mommies – they might actually reach out to hug or kiss their “grown up little boys” – that too right before all my friends. Ooooo ! That’s sheer sacrilege !! Yikes !!!! Better not take a chance and get too close.” And in doing that, my dear, you do make me smile :).

There was a time when we, at home, used to refer to you as “chaaron taraf gopiyan, beechmein kanhaiya.” (the little boy who is surrounded by girls all the time). You were definitely more comfortable spending your playtime with the girls of your class. Not that it worried us – not in the least. We know that you are pretty much a Ladies’ Man :D. But you definitely used to avoid going out and playing with the other boys in your class – mainly because boys tend to get so much more physical whilst playing – the pushing, the pulling, the elbowing – it’s all a part of the game as far as boys go. And that was what you used to shy away from.

The same little boy who used to avoid the “physical” pushing/pulling/having fun of playtime is now found literally rolling on the grounds at school – alongwith the other boys. It seems rather natural to you now to indulge in all that pushing and pulling. Grazed knees have begun to be looked upon as souvenirs to be displayed rather than bruises to be covered with bandaids.

There was a time when butterflies used to scare you. A butterfly flying merrily in the park used to frighten you enough for you to hide behind daddy or mommy – or even your elder sister, for that matter. House flies used to make you scream in terror and mosquitoes could feast on you – safe in the knowledge that you would do nothing to them.

That same little boy is now found in the company of as many insects as possible. Spike the Beetle is one such example. Ants, beetles, spiders (oh yes ! ) – there’s a certain fascination for anything that creeps and crawls and has more than four legs. Much to Mommy’s consternation actually – but then again – that just makes the whole insect mania so much more fun !!! This insect mania which has taken such strong roots that you actually are on the lookout for a spider – as a pet !!!! Thankfully, you did let slip that you intend to use a matchbox for this purpose. So NOW do you understand why there is not a single matchbox in sight at home ??? !!!! Oh Yes ! I’ve hidden them all !!!

There was a time when a slight raising of Mommy or Daddy’s voice used to make you dissolve in tears. For that matter, even if the look in their eyes changed to one of sternness – it was pretty much enough set the tears off.

That same little boy now holds his ground even if voices are raised. That same little boy has figured out ways and means to talk his way out of situations wherein his parents choose to get stern with him. That same little boy has discovered that a smile can indeed open a 1000 closed doors. That same little boy has figured out that he has a mind of his own, that he has opinions of his own, that he has thoughts which so uniquely define “him” as an individual. That same little boy has now realized that he is an entity in himself.

There was a time when we used to worry about how you would be able to compete with the outside world – given your gentle nature and your sensitivity. We used to fear for you in that your sensitive side would not be able to tolerate failure. We used to worry for you in that gentle people, more often than not, get trampled in the rat race.

That very little boy now plunges headalong into situations. That little boy now calls himself a “risk taker”. That very little boy now does not hold back assuming that failure could be the outcome of his endeavor. That very little boy has learnt that what is important is to give every situation one’s best – irrespective of whether one wins or loses. That very little boy has learnt to enjoy this process of learning – this process that only life tutors – if one is willing to take the risk.

There was a time when you used to take everything and anything to heart. Every little thing used to grate on your sensitive nature and reduce you to a mushy pulp of tears – so much so that you would not see straight for many hours after such an episode.

The other day, you got your lunch back almost intact because you’d been too busy talking to your friends at school during lunchtime and as a result you did not have time to eat. Now one firm rule in the house is that one does not waste food. And I took you to the cleaners, I really gave you a piece of my mind . And while in the middle of all that ranting, my mind did register a very important fact. That somewhere along the way, you had learnt to “let things slide”. That you did not take things as much to heart and as personally as you used to. The message that I was sending across to you that day “food is not meant to be wasted” did get across to you. And while part of me was seething, another part of my mind did have to concede that I really admired was the way you handled yourself . You looked at me in the eye and said “I’m sorry Mummy. I will not waste my lunch again – ever”. More than the words themselves, what really scored a point that day was the attitude “I admit I made a mistake and I won’t make that mistake again”.

Yet – despite all these changes that we see in you – that sensitivity towards other people around you, that sweet sunny smile and disposition – remains intact. And I do hope this stays with you for life – for it indeed is a gift.

Through it all, as I teach you things – I also have to acknowledge the fact that I do learn so much from you too. The one very important lesson that you’ve taught me is that “it takes very little to make someone’s day”. Just a cheery Good Morning, or a sunny smile, of a quick wave of the hand go such a long long way in cheering people up.

You still retain the ability to pick up on people’s distress signals. How you do it, I know not. But fact remains that you do. There have been times when I’ve felt low and there have been so many times when my train has been chugging along – fueled by those bright sunny smiles of yours or those impromptu hugs that you so liberally dose me with within the confines of the home :). Those innumerable kisses that you dole out so liberally (within the safe confines of home, of course) – go such a long way in reviving and cheering my spirits.

With both you and Aparna growing up, there are indeed times when I feel so sorely tested as a mother. But truth be told – I do feel blessed too. The feeling of seeing one’s children growing up is a very rich one. Richness beyond measure. It has been and it will be a honor to be able to teach you things and at the same time it is indeed a privilege to be able to learn from the both of you – as we all trudge along together in this journey called life, nestled and huddled in our very own nest.

This journey that you are traversing towards your self-identity and towards independence, albeit in bits and pieces – is one that brings to mind immeasurable joy and a few shades of wistfulness too :).

This poem that I’d once read somewhere – totally sums up what I’m trying to say :

Years of you belong to me ;
Times you will never recall.
Nursing by nightlight, singing at midnight,
Watching you laugh and crawl.

Sitting with you to watch the rain ;
Splash down upon the window pane.
Catching expressions that cross your face ;
Even in these mindful days.

Now as I watch you grow and bloom ;
I won’t ask you to stay behind
for my time with you I will hold dear ;
and know that a mother’s love, you will always find.

Happy Birthday, Precious :) and here's to many many more.

With all my love and then some,

Maiyya :)

post signature

25 voice(s) said so:

Tharini said...

Happy sweetest birthday to the sweetest little boy! He is such a looker in that picture Gauri! *sigh*. Swoony! And it seems to catch his entire personality in one go!

Its amazing how well tuned you are to all these little things about him!

Kodi's Mom said...

Happy Six, my dear dear Abhay!
you are handsome and sweet and so lovable. wonder how mom's going to keep the kannaiyas off you ;)

Just Like That said...

Happy Birthday to you, dearest Abhay! We've loved watching you grow too....God bless. :-)

Random Thoughts said...

With gentle footprints
She came into our hearts…
And somehow…
We know our lives will
Never be the same!

Random Thoughts said...

Then there was the sound of stampede
And till date our life has not steadied
In came Abhay into our life
And "no more no more" announced the Wife....

Sree said...

Many More happy returns of the day kiddo.. God bless!!!

Nishita said...

Wishing Abhay a very Happy Birthday !

Altoid said...

Happy 6th Fearless one :)

Suma said...

awwww...what an absolutely lovely post, Gauri (I could relate to so much in this...the sensitivity, the charm, the wistfulness)

happy 6th Birthday, dear Abhay :)

DotThoughts said...

y birthday dear Abhay! What didcha get? what didcha do?

Keshi said...

what a wonderful boy and a wonderful post for him!



karmickids said...

Happy budday Abhay...whachyugot, wheredcake, where d redurngeef....

choxbox said...

happy budday abhay!

Swati said...

Happy Birthday Mr E. God bless you!

Sujatha said...

That was an absolutely delightful post. You are lucky and so is Abhay. A very happy birthday to him and congratulations to you and your husband.

Suki said...

What a touching post, Gauri.
Happy birthday to Abhay, and - as Sujatha says - congratulations to both of you for being such wonderful parents.

Suki said...

Award for you here, G - http://the-light-of-happiness.blogspot.com/2009/05/i-was-just-about-to-get-self-righteous.html . In fact, you're doubly awarded since your email sparked off the awarding-post!

mnamma said...

Belated Birthday wishes Abhay!!!! Wishing you many many more!!! And a very beautiful post Gauri :)

Aparna said...

Belated Happy Birthday to your son.
Our children are so precious to us. Before we know it, they are so grown up and ready to face the world on their own.If only I could hold on to the present tightly...it will be so difficult to let them go when it's time for them to fly away from home.

Poppins said...

Coming here after such a long time and what a post to come to! Happy 6 Abhay. I love how you've written this 'coming to age' sort of post. It showed me how things will be to come, and how fretting now is so useless, because children will and do bloom provided you're always there for them.

Lovely lovely post. Lovely lovely child. God Bless !

Gauri said...

@ All : Thank you all so much for the warm and heartfelt wishes that you've sent his way :).

Sue said...

Aww, happy belated birthday, darling.

dipali said...

Happy belated birthday, Abhay. Such a lovely post, Gauri.

memyhubbynbaby said...

Belated Happy Returns of the day Abhay! Thats a lovely pic and a very sweet poem.

Neera said...

I am sorry for having missed ur Birthday dear Abhay. Heartfelt wishes for u for a wonderful year ahead. Congratulations to u too G and V.

It was lovely to get glimpses of his blooming personality and the poem was such a befitting ending. Loved it.