Recently we took Arpana for a stroll to a mall. Dawson is totally against going to malls and exposing Arpana to the ‘temples of materialism’. But I don’t really think that an occasional window shopping does any harm. I love to look at people, watch body language, and also reminisce some childhood nostalgia.
This mall had a spectacular display of a dinosaurs. Dinosaurs moving their heads, making loud noises and swishing their gigantic tails. Since we parked the car on a higher level, (and Dawson was in no mood to go to the ground floor), we decided to show Arpana the dinosaurs from the cafeteria in the upper floor. Arpana has never seen such a sight, so she was totally ‘waawed’ before her brain would process and ask us a long set of questions.
Just then, I saw a lady of around 60-65 years of age, pushing a wheelchair which carried a young man (30-35 years of age) with severe cerebral palsy. She was weak and lanky herself, but her hands and arms looked strong and well-built, ,maybe from all these years of serving her son.
She pushed the chairs and the table, brought the wheelchair close to the railings and showed her son, “Papu anga paaru, dinosaur” (Papu, see there is a dinosaur). The young man twitched his head and smiled intensely. He kept looking, he could not ask questions, he just looked again and smiled.
His faithful mother kept talking to him, describing the dinosaur. Every time his mother spoke and showed him the dinosaur, he smiled. And every time he smiled, his mother’s face glowed.
Meanwhile, Arpana got back to reality, and started asking questions. But I was just too engrossed in listening to this great mother’s conversation with her son.
I began to wonder, all my efforts as a parent to bring joy to my child, all my pain to do her daily chores, and all my strain to teach and train her, seemed so tiny in comparison to this great mother’s zeal to bring joy to her son.
I began to question my motives, am I really THAT selfless when I try to make my child happy, is my ONLY intention, just to see a simple smile on my baby’s face? Do I really have the heart to be THAT persevering as a parent even when I don’t see proportional rewards ?
Sometimes I think that special children are indeed special because they have extra-ordinary parents.
I’m always pushing Arpana to behave,eat, learn, or do something. I once asked her, “What do you think is amma’s job?” And she said, “To scold me and beat me when I do wrong”, then I asked her, “Okay! so, instead of me, do you want another “kind” amma who won’t beat you” . She hugged me and said, “Illa ma, vera amma varavae koodadhu, vandha pichiiduven” (I don’t want another mother, if she does come I’ll will beat her up) knowing well, that she’ll be reprimanded for using that phrase!
After seeing this great mother in the mall, I pray,
“God give me that kind of heart, to persevere, to reach out not just to ‘push’ her to become something , but to strive to bring joy to her heart from the simple things in life.”