(Written quite some time back)
I was playing with my ten-month old son one day when the alarm rang. I sighed, slowly tearing myself away from my little boy. It was time to pick up my other great love, my elder son, from school.
Once again, like many countless times before, thoughts of how unfair I must be to my younger one began to plague me. The oodles and heaps and piles of time and energy I spent on my elder one…humph! No comparison to the diddley-squat amount I spent on my younger one. For my younger one, I have hired help. Someone to help me bathe him and put him to sleep and more importantly, to occupy him when I’m busy…busy mostly doing things for or with my first-born! For my elder one? No way! I was a rabidly obsessive first-time mom where my elder son was concerned…no one, just no one was even allowed to touch him!
Of course I love both my boys equally and can’t imagine a life without either. While my elder one charms me with his imaginative stories and endless questions, my little one delights me with his adorable, six-toothed smile. I marvel at their differences and rejoice in their similarities. I am awestruck by my first-born’s tenderness towards his little sibling and amused by my younger one’s devotion towards his big brother.
But just as I’m an important part, if not the most important element of my elder son’s universe, do I matter that much to my small one? Does he miss me while I’m not around? Does he…love me?
I think these thoughts at least a thousand times a day; moments spent away from him, wrenched away from him, pulled away from him…for whatever reason, valid or otherwise. Does he love me?
All my friends with two children assure me that what I’m going through is perfectly normal. My mother and mother-in-law chuckle at my apprehensions in that ‘been there, went through that’ type of manner that I’ve grown accustomed to hearing from them, both being mothers-of-two themselves. Relax and enjoy them as they are, however you can, wherever you can, whenever you can. Ok, great advice, thanks, I will. But, does he love me?
I was ready to leave for school. I stood in the doorway of my little one’s room and looked at him for as long as the screeching alarm clock in my head allowed me to. I tried to fill up all the spaces inside me with the picture of him sitting in the middle of his brightly coloured toys, concentrating on one particular piece, fascinated by some detail that must have caught his inquisitive eye.
He must have sensed me standing there, because he immediately looked up, gave a whoop of delight, threw away the toy that he was playing with and started crawling towards me as fast as he possibly could. He stood up on his tiny, shaky legs, clutching at my kurta for support. How could I not pick him up for a cuddle? Once in my arms, he looked soulfully into my eyes for an eternity, his tiny hand on my cheek. He then put his little head in the nook of my neck and gave a gurgle of absolute contentment. And my heart shattered into a million little pieces.
It had just burst from a soul-wrenching kind of happiness!
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