‘Things I Want For & From You’ - A Mother’s Heartwarming Letter To Her Children

‘Things I Want For & From You’ - A Mother’s Heartwarming Letter To Her Children

[This article was first published on May 14, 2017, in celebration of Mother’s Day]

Dear A and A,

Through the daily rigmarole of the mundane, Mother’s Day tends to pull us out of our reverie and makes us focus all our energies onto this one day and what it may mean for me and you. At every inch of your growing up, I tend to reflect on my own childhood and try and take lessons from the same. Some of them are worldly wise, and some not so much. The ones that have stuck by me, for eternity might I add, are the ones that are subconsciously passed down to you- be it about hygiene, discipline, routine, or just basic social etiquettes, and I hope they stick with you after its been repeatedly screamed down as a volley to you both. “Keep the brush in the brush holder,” “scrape the bathroom floor after bathing”; “say your thank-yous and excuse me’s,” “go to bed, it is eight PM,” so on and so forth.

The rest of the life lessons are trickier, albeit rather important for me to pass them down, and one’s that I hope get ingrained in you and slowly seep into your blood becoming a part of who you are and what you stand for. Despite wanting two girls, I am so glad I got you my sweet little boy for it made me see things with a different perspective. I hope I am able to raise you both with lesser sexism, lesser misogyny, lesser discrimination, and with more love and tolerance towards gender, race and the unexpected. I can safely say your birth has made me want to be a better person, a better guide, a more conscientious person and a more courageous mom. It is no wonder they say not to mess with a mother. As much as you both have softened me, your existence has toughened me too.

And I hope that I can arm you with all the life skills and fortify your belief system to be able to contribute and act with just in this society of ours. I wish we get to that point in life where love will be enough, but today’s world scares me and I hope that fear doesn’t influence the way I teach and become a role model for you. So, this scared but hopeful mom wants a lot of things for you. Things that make you happy, healthy and independent, and also a constant wish that you don’t turn out to be jerks in the making.

These are some of the things I expect you both to learn by the time you leave your nest:

  1. Do your own chores - Both are expected to know how to clean your utensils, make your bed, lay the table at mealtimes, do basic cooking, go for grocery runs, manage your finances (savings from future pocket money if any). Those life lessons will help in your day to day existence and sanity. So learn them well.
  2. Love me some pink/blue - This will be a task, and it may seem fickle but there are so many underlying deep lessons to learn from. Our society is so blinded by gender discrimination, that we don’t even allow for our kids to love the colours neutrally. Pink is just pink, and not trademarked for girls, and likewise the colour blue. You both will have colour neutral wardrobes. If I hear any one of you whine about how that colour is not for boys or girls, be rest assured more of those said colours will find their way into your closet. There should be no discrimination in learning the art and skills of life. A boy can be a great cook and a girl can be a great F1 racer. Colours don’t determine gender roles and neither should you grow up with such idiotic ideas in your head.
  3. Love your body - Be grateful being born in the body that you were given and treat it with the same respect you would give someone else. Barring all sorts of trials, errors and so called experimentations, you should know that this body is all that you have. So feed it healthy food, strengthen it to the core, and love it with all the curves and love handles that come and go with it. Don’t let anyone bring you down for how you look - no one should be given the power to take that away from you. You are your unique self and no one can be like you, and you should never ever try to be like anyone else. Love yourself unconditionally.
  4. Respect others - Never feel entitled. You are not the center of the universe. You may be the center of my universe, but never ever forget that there are millions out there who are equally deserving, equally loved and equally cherished by their loved ones. My darling daughter - be strong, be opinionated, speak your mind, and command respect. Don’t be bullied and don’t ever think that being polite and being respectful should in any way mean for you to be a pushover. My darling son - strength for you is not in your manhood, but how to be gentle despite it. It is not in your rage, but how to be patient when someone at the opposite end is getting seething red in their face. It is not to overpower the weaker sex, but to let them take strength from you if they so choose. Give respect to the girls, nothing is sexier than that. Hopefully by the time you grow up our world will have less misogyny in it, God knows we need it.
  5. Stand up for yourself and others - You have a home, a loving family and a great environment growing up. Not everyone is so lucky. Be aware of your surroundings. Hope you are exposed to justice and good deeds and are inspired by it. But if there comes a moment where you don’t like what you see, then instead of changing your situation, I hope you have the strength to change that someone else’s situation. Yes, be safe, but be mindful. I sure hope you don’t get sucked in by the bigotry that’s by and large so rampant out there, despite my teaching you otherwise. Stand up to the bullies. Show empathy. Never judge anyone by their race, colour or their sexuality. See who they are as people, and not by what they represent. We all have our own demons and battles to fight, so be tolerant and be open-minded. Much can be learnt if we always try to find the best in others.
  6. Follow your passion - Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, even if it is us. Try things, ridiculous things, “preposterous to anyone’s imagination” things. Try weird things, unbelievable and unfathomable things, just try them. If you think you want to, then just make way to do them. You will have our support, maybe a non-understanding support, but an ‘unconditional love’ kind of support, nevertheless.
  7. Love fiercely - Always choose love. Whoever you may choose to love, know that it would make us happy just to know that you have love on your side. Love fiercely, with all of your heart, mind and body. You may get disappointed or you may end up disappointing, but never give up on love. Love is what holds us close. Learn from your failures and move on to build strength from it, and try to learn lessons on the way. It can only make you a better person.

I am glad I had one of each. My daughter, my joy and pride and my son, my strength and heart. I see hope in you both - hope for a better world than what we live in today.

Read Karuna Ezara Parikh’s heartwarming post for her mother here, and read four children’s unconventional interview with their mother here.