Friday: My 7-year old (out of the blue) asked me "do you miss your work?" I am not sure where that question came from. My instant reply to her was 'No'. Of course that lead to many other questions- what exactly does dad do at the bank? why does one need a salary? does he get paid on a daily basis? some were funny and some got me thinking. I was happy for once she was thinking.
I let her question pass by, but when I got a moment in the day to think, I wondered- do I miss it? Maybe yes and no. Yes for the money, the team and the firm that I had built, PR being in my blood and it giving me a direction in life (at a stage after college when I had absolutely no direction). No because it always kept me under stress, even after years I would be nervous while executing any PR campaign for a client, I always lived with a guilt on the personal front (and felt I was missing out on so much with the kid-then just 1) and I didn't need to play 'tag' with my husband anymore (who would get home first, who would attend the PTA, who would be there at that sports day). I weighed both my options and (subjectively) found myself way happier today than I was 4 years ago. So somewhere my answer was right (from my perspective)!! But I also know that this will be short-lived. The girls are going to get busy before I even realise. And I better have my life sorted before it gets late for me. Not sure if I will want to get back to that corporate rat-race ever again, but am sure some mid-path will open up (that will work for me and for the family).
Tuesday: I had an impromptu breakfast date with my daughter. She is on her Easter break and the younger one just got back to school after her 2-week break. The mother in me was in a dilemma a few days ago- should I have them both home together so they can bond? Or should I just let them stick to their holiday schedules and focus on them one at a time. Well I opted for the latter. I decided to give each one some time with 'me', so they both can get the best of me. Of course (the guilty mother in me) will give them those few days of bonding as well!
Anyway at our breakfast date, she asked me some questions- what did you do when you were a child during holidays? Did you go for nice holidays? Did you have play dates with your friends? She was shocked that I had never heard or used the word 'playdate' in my childhood. I told her we only played!
My memory of my childhood are only the annual summer trips I used to make to my grandma's house in Kerala (India) and all the cousins meeting up there. We had simple pleasures like- scrabble sessions, hide n seek, table tennis on the dining table, an ice cream outing (walk without the elders following us). So I realised the simple things I did had a 'bigger' impact on me after all these years.
I wonder what it will be for our kids?Will it be the big exotic holidays we do? Or will it be the simple activities (maybe grocery shopping, trip to the library, weekend outings, time spent with cousins, family walks, movies together). I am hoping it will be both.So I threw back the question at her this time- what is her best memory or favorite thing so far- and promptly she answered ' trips to my grandma's house in Bangalore and visiting my brother'.
I was happy- even though kids today are being brought up differently, somewhere it all merges. We have a constant debate at home and with our friends - are we doing the 'right' things for our kids..we sometimes feel what was 'right' for us may not be 'right' today,etc. But the 'hopelessly optimistic' me feels that somewhere it's not the big things that will shape them. It's the simpler acts that may help them grow and have a bit of 'me' in them.