Several days after we had moved to Bangalore, Ads casually remarked that he liked Bangalore much more than Gurgaon. I asked him why. The pleasant weather? The large flat? The open spaces? His own room? His own bunk bed? The prospect of an extra-long summer break? For a 7-yo, there were reasons aplenty!
Instead, the brevity and simplicity of his answer took my breath away.
No, he said. I like Bangalore because you play with me here.
I was staggered. Probably I had hoped that he hadn't noticed? That I had not played with the most important people in my life for the past year. I hadn't gotten myself messy and hot and tired, laughed at silly jokes, and run around with them. I hadn't had the time to play board games. I hadn't had the energy to read books every night. In fact, while I was trying to keep it all together as a single working parent, I had done nothing more than the bare minimum of attending to their basic physical and emotional needs.
I had been a good mom, but only just. Certainly, I hold myself upto very high standards of customer service (!) when it comes to being a mother/parent. Last year, I had a tough time achieving my targets :(
No guilt-tripping here, no remorse etc (I don't do those). Just the increasingly loud voice in my head, getting more confident by the day, which is pulling me in a certain direction and towards certain choices. I can't ever be a stay-at-home mom (it's nice now, it's only been a couple of months but soon I am going to be pulling out my hair in large handfuls!) but I don't see a full-time career happening for a few more years yet. Not unless my parents decide to move in with me and give me a hand (Amma and Appa, are you listening? :))
It's that time again when well-meaning people begin to ask me when I am getting back to work, me having exhausted my relocation excuse, having had my summer holiday and having the kids back at school. I don't know, folks. My daughter's back home from school at 12.30. We have a leisurely lunch. We talk about what we did at school/home. Amma, you're sooo lucky to be at home, she says! We nap. I kiss her about a million times. We wake up. I have chai. We pick up a grubby older brother from the bus stop. Hectic activity ensues. Tennis class, music class, homework, park, bath, dinner. Sleep. It's humdrum but it's beautiful.
I will start getting out and talking to people and see if some work on my terms, comes up. I'm going to keep my career going, but I won't be driven crazy-busy by it.
Just so long as I can play with my kids!