As a young mother I used to wonder what would it be like to have my child all grown up. What would he look like, how would he behave? What would he grow up to be? Doctor, lawyer, astronaut or a football star?
Watching my baby wake up just then, rolling his head from side to side waiting for his feed, unable to do much else, these were thoughts difficult to fathom. I would day dream sometimes about how I would hold my son’s hand and take him to his pre-school, how I would play hide n seek with him or how I would take him to the park to feed the pigeons. Fast forward a few years to how happy and proud I would be when he would walk by my side, at my height, or even taller than me, laughing, joking, talking about our good old days. I had conveniently missed out the years in-between!
Exhausting as it was I have thoroughly enjoyed the past 12 years as a stay-at-home mum. Driver, cook, cleaner, care-taker, baby sitter I did it all, whizzing through one day after another. Life felt like a roller-coaster ride sometimes and I enjoyed the ups and the downs, the speed and the thrill that comes with the job – managing all these roles, multi-tasking and at the same time making sure that the seat belt was fixed nice and tight! Till one fine day when just like that the roller coaster suddenly comes to a complete halt, without any warning, without giving any sort of signals – or maybe I was too busy being a mum that I did not see it coming. I LOST MY JOB.
Well, yes I am still a mother, but now of a TEENAGER and trust me that feels completely different. I wonder why nobody prepares a mother for this inevitable phase in her life. While there are countless prenatal classes, well qualified nannies and support playgroups to hold your hand through the journey of looking after a newborn baby, there is no physical support for mums of brand new teenagers! If sleepless nights, baby colic and terrible threes are a reality, so are those mood swings!
There are so many thoughts in my head, so many memories floating before my eyes. I thought it best express it as a poem. I wrote this for my boy, who is turning 13 tomorrow, on his birthday card. Hope he doesn’t mind me sharing it with you!
How did it happen?
Where did he go?
That little angelic boy of mine
Who till yesterday was only 4!
Who held my hand as we walked to his school
His tiny legs running to keep up with my stride
“Hurry up, hurry up love!” I would chant
While he would stop to stare at his shoes that had lights!
Talking about shoes
Oh what a happy day that was
When his feet fit into my size
But before I could finish my Oohs and my Aahs
And shout out to the world about this wonderful delight
He raced ahead of me and reached a UK No 9!
Do you remember those play dates
That we had by a dozen?
Almost every Friday…oh what fun!
Now suddenly mums are needed no more
To plan and to execute those afternoons galore
“I’m going to my mate’s house,” would come as a message to me
While I would be in the kitchen planning your tea.
From Power Rangers to Superman to Venom to Batman
You made those figurines jump up and fight
With a thump, a whoosh and a bang!
And while you still do play
The toys have changed
Now PS3s, PS4s and iPhones reign
Gone are the zoos, parks and museums too
Beaches and playground dates,
Now your favourite place to be
Is at home on the couch with your gadgets!
4, 7, 9
Even 12 to the best
But a 13th birthday
Is somewhat hard to digest
And I’ll tell you why
I’ll tell you why
Always excited to bake your birthday cake
I would ask for your choices much in advance
A dinosaur, a volcano or a football field?
Whatever my prince chooses, so shall it be!
And once the verdict was given
I would excitedly search
Youtube, Pinterest, even Google Earth!
But this time when I asked you “So what’s on your mind?”
“The cake in the Club” came the pat reply.
Hunting for your birthday gift
Would give me so much pleasure
From the lanes to the big stores I would walk and walk
Until I managed to find your ‘treasure’
But now when I asked “What gift would you like best?”
“Whatever” in the shrug in your shoulders
“If not an iPhone then cash would do I guess.”
While I’m wistful and scared at times
My heart swells with pride
To see you all big and grown
To stand shoulder to shoulder with you
To be able to look straight into your eyes
A swagger in the walk
A slight tilt of the head
Those signs of youth and independence
That sends a clear message
For me to take a step back now
Maybe two or three
Let you explore your new world gradually
You may not know where you’re going or when or why
But I want you to spread your wings and soar the sky
The world is waiting out there for you
For which I hope I have prepared you
Make a mistake but Learn
Stumble, but Rise
For life as you will know it, is a never ending surprise!
So welcome to your teenage years my son
Seven full years of delight
Run, jump, have an adventure
Make these years count as the best ones of your life!
Love you always,