My oldest son, Vivaan turns 3 tomorrow. In some ways, it feels like it was just yesterday that I was in labor unsure of what motherhood would mean to me. Yet, in other ways the last 3 years feel incredibly rich, meaningful and abundant with so many memories. It’s yet another example of how I can experience opposites together.
I just called my husband and told him that I was feeling a little weird that I had not purchased a traditional gift for him and that we weren’t planning to do so either but I wanted to pause, reflect and write him a birthday post that he could read later and understand a little more about what he was like at 3 and what our family looked like.
I often joke with people that Vivaan keeps our marriage in check and in many ways, its partly true. Over a year back, Sumit and I were arguing about something trivial, I suspect schedules and getting the kiddo in bed soon and my voice went up and the little toddler said – “Mummy, papa stop. I not like it.” Now that he is a little older, it seems that he understands or perhaps accepts that mom and dad will have arguments though I am trying my best to practice even more patience and kindness. However, when our voices go up (and it’s typically me as I am the more impulsive between the two of us) he checks in – “Mummy, papa is everything okay? What are you talking about?” And that’s a reminder for us to calm down even more.
Another vivid memory is that of all of us trying to share a piece of Ferrero Rocher chocolate. Both the boys were trying to eat one round solid with pieces melting on each of their faces… For some reason, sharing with mommy wasn’t part of the deal so I jokingly asked Sumit – “ Where’s my share?” and before my husband could respond, the little toddler took a piece out of his mouth and put it in mine. I experienced the power of love, the abundance of motherhood and the wonder and miracle of a child’s innocence and compassion in that very moment. One of my most powerful memories of the little bambino…
I am always humbled by his love for the little monkey. There can be unlimited hugs and kisses especially during bed time. If Vivaan is awake first, its almost given he is going to wake up Saveer. He will keep asking – “Is Saveer awake? Can I woke him up?” (yes, the grammar is broken). And sometimes he gets so excited that he can even hurt him and then there are some rare moments when jealousy kicks in and its hard to share mom and dad and there can be some hitting and tears for the baby too. I have been trying to teach him that we can have difficult feelings but we can’t engage in bad behavior. The other day, Saveer was crying and Vivaan goes up to him and said – “Brother, why are you crying? What do you need? Tell me brother, tell me.” He keeps saying – “Saveer is my best buddy” and I can often smile and tear up at the same time.
He loves to hike, spend time outdoors and cook, play in muddy puddles and make “stuff” with dad and even told him he wanted to be an engineer when dad told him engineers make things. I hope we are not pigeonholing him. He is big into spending time with his close friends and people in the family that he is close to but isn’t a big fan of large birthday parties or crowds and prefers to be in smaller circles. He struggled a lot with separation anxiety during school drop offs and is just beginning to enjoy those moments of daddy saying good bye. Just as any other toddler, he loves to ask me lots of questions and totally wants to be a part of every conversation between mom and dad.
We have a lot in common and sometimes I fear I hope I am not raising a mini – me as that is not how I want to parent. I hope he continues to question the status quo and disagree with me (without a tantrum would be nice!!) and find his own answers to life’s questions. As he grows up, I hope he finds pleasures in the little things as he does right now. I hope he remembers that its okay to fall and make mistakes and saying sorry is an act of strength, not weakness. I hope he continues to ask – “Is this healthy mama?” to develop a psotive relationship with food. I hope he remembers that nothing is more important than love, kindness and compassion and that no matter what, his family is a place where he will always be loved & accepted for who he is.
Happy Birthday Vivaan. It’s my honor and blessing to be your mom.