15 January, 2021
I live in a nuclear family, my husband serves as an Officer in the Indian Armed forces and my daughter Suditi (pet name – Mia) is 9 years old, studies in 5th grade. Since the last quarter of 2018, because of professional commitments I was staying away from my family, I could meet them only on weekends. For a 9 year old, my daughter is extremely self-reliant and I guess this has happened more because of all the time that I was staying away from her. She is a bright student, loves playing the piano and is a bookworm. Both me and my husband sometimes joke that our daughter perhaps has read more books that both of us have put together.
I as usual had travelled home to be with my family in the third weekend of March and then the lockdown was announced. My daughter’s exams were going on, her last exam got cancelled. It is a ritual that she follows, that 1 week from the time her exams get over she is on her own, follows no rules. Being an Army kid, the list of rules and guidelines that her father makes her follow in my absence is pretty long. I assumed that she would get into this mode but instead I saw she was waking up on time, limiting her gadget use, basically no signs of indiscipline. There was one other thing that I noticed is that, no matter what she was doing she was always around in the same room where I was. Not only that, she was actually putting in effort to take care of me - getting me snacks, ensuring my water bottle is not empty. I was pleasantly surprised!
The lockdown kept on getting extended and none of us had any clue as to what is going to happen. Mia kept on asking me, ‘When do you need to travel back to Pune? When do you have to go back to working from the office?’ All such questions posed by her were left unanswered since no one knew what and when it was to happen. Every day before she went to bed we would lie together in her bed and read a chapter from one of her favourite books. One such night I asked her, why was she being so sensitive to my requirements and taking care of me, is it not my job as a mother to take care of her and not hers. What I heard from my 9 year old will stay with me for the rest of my life. She said, “Mumma, when you were with me all the time, I never really realised how much I would miss you when you are not there. Now that you are here, I want to spend as much time with you so that I think of it whenever I miss you when you leave”. My learning from my daughter is that - Never take people in your life for granted. Cherish the relationships that you have and put in effort to add on to the happy memories & moments with your loved ones.