My daughter has turned into a headstrong toddler and her demand off late has been to visit Bhopal. Bhopal is where her paternal grandparents live. Please do not judge me or my husband, we are just too occupied in our professions and traveling 900km without prior planning does not happen for us anymore.
As a mother my outlook towards my parents changed for the better and continue to still do as I take on motherhood one day at a time. My grandmother who we lovingly addressed as amma was an integral part of my growing up years. As a grandparent she held a special place for my siblings and me.
I have some really fond memories with her. She was a treasure trove of stories. She would often joke about how we would rinse off oil before stepping out. This was in contrast to her times where one could only leave the house with heavily oiled neatly pleated pony tails. Imagine doing that now!
I still remember how she would guide me to oil my hair especially in the center stating the oil permeates inside and the other parts of the body get their desired fuel through this exercise. I am not too sure if I followed this tip on myself as often but I have till date oiled my baby girl just the way my amma said.
I often wonder if my daughter will ever feel the same way about her grandparents.
As parents we often boast that our kids are being spoiled by the grandparents. The ones who stay with their grandchildren know the difference and the children also unknowingly develop a special bond with their Dada and Dadi. The maternal side grandparents also pour their love in the form of gifts as and when they can. It is no surprise when anyone questions my daughter on who got her a certain jacket and pat comes her reply, “Nanu”.
This past year our daughter got a chance to stay over her grandparents place for more days as compared to her usual visits. It was an upside to the lockdown. She happily participated in the festivities that came along. The occasional treats prepared monthly as an offering to God really fascinated her. Our yearly ritual of saying mourning prayers for the designated two months of Muharram made her see the culture more closely. It was only then that I realized that being around with elders does open a window to family history and traditions. The teachings that kids take away from the regular day to day chores can only happen in the presence of grandparents.
The current picture of child rearing is a bit different. As ambitious young professionals so many couples like us have taken refuge in metro cities. Our homes are equipped with everything that comforts our living and fulfills our purpose of leaving the small towns where we were born and brought up. This is not to say that our parents our neglected. They have a fancy wishful retired life back home and enjoy socializing and growing older with their set of people.
As more and more couples take time to settle down, the average age of the grandparents is more and so they are termed as the late boomers. Even at this age, the grandparents have a life of their own. They are happily thriving their second innings with their professions, passions and myriad interests. The idea is to not burden our parents by making them mere babysitters to our kids.
The modern day guide to getting more connected with one’s grandchildren features video calling as an asset. It works as a win- win situation for both sides. I as a mother and a daughter value their role in her life and make efforts to keep her interest alive in these daily telephonic video and audio banters. I can hardly recall a day when I have not shared a picture of my little one goofing around the house with my mother. Her response to the little one’s rattles and stories are some priceless moments. My mother says it gives her a feel of déjà vu of her own parenting days.
My daughter may be too young currently to understand the difference her grandparents make in her life but as she grows up I am sure she will realize how meaningful this relationship is.
As Elizabeth Goudge puts it aptly, “The very old and the very young have something in common that makes it right that they should be left alone together. Dawn and sunset see stars shining in the blue sky; but morning and afternoon do not, poor things”