05 August, 2010

Mothers, Grandmothers and then some ...


(Image courtesy : fotosearch.com via Google)

The past four weeks handed me a rather unique perspective. One that I’ve not so fully experienced before. Over the past four weeks, I had the opportunity to be a child and a mother at the same time.

I learnt more about motherhood over the past four weeks than I have over the past 10 ½ years since I stepped into motherhood. Like I said before, a change of perspective alters a lot of things :-).

Macadamia and Pecan sure had a lot of fun at my expense, for, this was an extended period of time when they saw me at the mercy of my mom. They saw her “mothering” me (and I mean mothering in all its abundant glory) and it tickled them pink.

It’s not that we’ve not been in this situation before .... we’ve been together before when we visited Bombay. This time around the difference lay in the fact that all of us were at home all the time, free to lick each others’ brains out to our heart’s content and to drive each other nuts (up the wall and over the ceiling and then some) with no restrictions whatsoever. The nutty siblings were having their summer holidays, I was having a break from my teaching sessions and my mom was visiting.

We would have plans to go out somewhere and the nutty siblings would be lazing around with not a care in the world. As I normally do, I would issue gentle reminders (the stress is on the word gentle) for them to get dressed and ready. Over the past four weeks, as I issued “gentle” reminders to Macadamia and Pecan, another “gentle” reminder would come flying my way – from none other than my own mom. Macadamia and Pecan would then end up behaving like a couple of Santa’s unable to control their mirth. Imagine that ! “ho ho ho ho ho ho” ...... a constant stream of “ho ho’s” for a few minutes that seem like a lifetime !!

When I had to go over to the supermarket (which happens to be a whole 7 minute stroll from home), my mom, having peeped out of the window and having sighted clouds hovering somewhere over Beijing or Taiwan, would insist that I carry an umbrella because “It is going to rain !!!!”. If she had her way, she would have had me carry two umbrellas all the way to the supermarket and back, just in case the first one did not work or was damaged in some way, you know. And the Santa’s would be back, making no attempt to hide the profoundly hilarious situation that was unfolding right in front of their very eyes.

“You are not eating enough” is something that has been sprouting out of my ears over the past four weeks. I’ve heard that statement so many times that it feels like I have a banner stating “you’re not eating enough” stuck on my forehead. “Eat !!” my mom would say, time and again, thrusting the jar of cookies (Good Heavens !!) or the tin of biscuits (Oh ! Good Lord). “No !!” I’d say. “I don’t snack between meals.” “Just because you eat one biscuit does not mean you’re going to gain weight” my mom would counter. “It’s not a question of gaining weight. I just don’t snack between meals, as a rule.” I would counter argue, as my hands would suddenly be infused with life. My hand would turn so lively that I had to muster all my will power not to let my hands go over and clutch handfuls of my hair. Macadamia and Pecan, in the meanwhile, would be sipping their cold chocolate milk or their malted soya milk pretty much like cats licking cream. They were seen exchanging rather knowing smiles. What better than a tall glass of cold chocolate milk, a nice chewy chocolate chip cookie or a brownie and some live entertainment. Entertainment where their own mother was being “mothered”.

A speck of dust would, at times, make me sneeze and my mom would proclaim “Uh Oh ! You have a cold !” and a huge tub of Vicks Vaporub would be placed in my hands. Ewwww !! I hate Vicks Vaporub or any of those greasy stuff that is meant to be spread all over wherever one chooses. And my mom happens to swear by Vicks Vaporub for anything and everything right from sneezes to aches and pains. I would steadfastedly refuse to even touch the tub of Vicks and my mom would be heard saying “You never listen to me”. “Ah ha” said Macadamia once “we are watching you” !! with as much of mock seriousness as she could muster, before all hell broke loose and Pecan started to laugh.

Just before we left home for the airport yesterday, my mom said she’s leaving the tub of Vicks Vaporub behind for me to use !!! Macadamia and Pecan were found rolling on the floor !!

A tug of war would ensue whilst doing the dishes. It is a wonder that all the Pyrex dishes are still in one piece, what with me pulling it from one end and my mom from the other. I would want to do the dishes and she would want to do the dishes too. I would say “you go get rest. I’ll take care of the dishes” and she would say the same thing to me and on and on we’d go until we sounded like a couple of parrots in an aviary. Just once, I was going around muttering to myself “Why can’t parents listen to their children every once in a while ?” and heard a little giggle. Turning around, I came face to face with Macadamia, who gave me a rather smug, self-satisfied smile and said “I wonder, too.”

There was this one time we got into one of our rather ‘infamous’ arguments. Vic called to say that he’d got mom a new cell phone. The message duly conveyed to mom, we got down to the interesting business of having a “debate”, with mom insisting that her old cell phone was in good working condition and me insisting that it was high time she changed her cell phone. The nutty sibs retreated to the safe confines of their room and a good half hour later, were found peeking out of their room pretty much like a couple of mice peeking out of their homes. The “debate” (as the nutty sibs called it) raged for a while, reminding me of good old days :-).

Yet again, there would be times when both my mom and the nutty sibs would give me some respite and leave me alone :-). They would form their own little cosy coterie – the three of them. They would be found chopping veggies sharing a cutting board, they would be found peeling and separating the cloves of garlic from the pod, they would be found playing a game of Uno or The Game of Life, they would be found saying their prayers. Little snippets which leave themselves imprinted on the canvass of the mind.

Yesterday night, there was one hand less to be dealt while playing Uno. It has become a tradition of sorts – the whole family plays a few games of Uno at night before bedtime. Over the past four weeks, my mom has mastered Uno too, thanks to the nutty siblings. Yesterday night, instead of dealing five hands as had become a habit, we dealt out just four.

I did not hear my mom repeatedly telling me to have my coffee in the morning today. I did not hear her saying that a single slice of toast that I normally have for my breakfast, is simply not enough for me. Today morning, there was no chatty conversation flying back and forth, simply going down memory lanes or exchanging recipes or little tips on cooking.

Mom called from Bombay this morning to tell me she’d reached safely and that there had been no problem whatsoever on the way. That was when I realized that I’d missed hearing her voice today.

I realized today what had probably been on my mind for a long long time now.

I realized today that the last time we left Bombay to get back to HK, I had been feeling totally down in the dumps – not because we were leaving Bombay but because my mom was going to be all alone again.

Funny, is it not, the way the penny drops ?

5 voice(s) said so:

vidya said...

Nice post :)

I so miss my mom reading this post... but she is gone to a place where i can never get her back :(

Long time reader first time commenting

Vidya

dipali said...

Such is life, Gauri- we can only try and enjoy the good parts!

Gauri said...

@ Vidya : Really sorry for your loss. Memories are precious - hang on to those.

@ Dipali : So true !

Anonymous said...

Every once in a while we come across a post where we have so much to say to the blogger but have no words to express them.

Do keep writing,

Till later

take care

Anu

raadha said...

very true

i had the same experience when i stayied with my mother.
the b4est part was the children enjoys the whole lot.