The day I first held my daughter in my arms I made a promise to myself. With the tiny bundle of joy in my hands, with my fingers caressing her delicate features and, with my elated gaze on her confused face that held a ‘where-the-hell-am-I’ expression, I promised that I would never let anything hurt her. I would give her a life that was better than what I had had. After all that’s what most parents wish for their children right? That their children should have a life better than what they themselves had?
I wished that I could cocoon my baby in a safe world where nothing would hurt her, where nothing would break her heart, where no harsh words would bring tears to her eyes, where she would experience only joy, happiness and success. But alas, that is not possible! Come to think of it, I actually respect the members of the animal and bird kingdom, because they let go off their young ones, after they teach them how to survive in their world.
I realize now, after much soul searching, that the more I want to protect her, the more I suffocate her. I may be thinking that I’m guarding her from all evil in the world, but to her I would just be stifling her freedom, suppressing her free will. So I have decided that when the time comes to let her go, to let her fly and find her own footing, I’ll be prepared. And as much as that thought makes me want to cry, creating a lump in my throat, I know that it would be the right thing to do. To teach her the difference between right and wrong, to bring her up with the moral ethical values and then trust her decisions in her life. Well, that does sound difficult!
So let me just enjoy my time with her, knowing that there’s still many years to go before she yells at me, saying, ‘Mom, leave me alone!’ or ‘Mom your hugs embarrass me”. Sigh!
Here are 5 things that I would like to gift my daughter this Christmas-
Education: I cannot stress enough on the importance of education. By giving the best possible education to my daughter I’m ensuring that wherever she goes, whatever situation she finds herself in, she’ll be able to take care of herself. And I know 20 years down the line the cost of sending a son or a daughter for an engineering/medical degree may cost an arm and a leg. So the wise thing to do would be to invest now for future. A child education policy that would mature 20 years later and financially help my daughter to realize her dreams is one of the gifts that I would give my daughter.
A love for the written word: I sincerely hope that my daughter imbibes some of my qualities. The way books have been my best friends for years, I hope that my daughter too finds solace in between the pages of books. Books have molded me into a better person, they have helped me understand myself and the world around me. I hope that my daughter too picks up a book and discovers her love for the written word. A love for reading is a gift that I would love to give my daughter.
Freedom to decide: I don’t understand what joy parents get in controlling their children’s life, even after they reach an age when their offspring’s can take decisions for themselves. If my daughter falls in love with a man of a different caste or nationality and they decide to get married, I’ll be Ok with it. The only thing that matters to me is that the man who marries her should be a good, honest man. The freedom to choose, freedom to make her own decisions will be my gift to her.
A sense of humor: Now, I know that this is something that cannot be gifted, it maybe something that a person is born with (Is it really?) but I would like her to see the lighter side of life. When the going gets tough, the tough get laughing. Nothing can diffuse a stressful situation faster than a hearty laugh. So a good sense of humor and a positive attitude in life would be my next gift for my daughter.
A sense of equality: At no point of time in her life, will I ever make my daughter feel that she’s not as strong as the boys or that she requires special protection just because she’s a girl. I will teach her to defend herself so that she need not ask for any man to accompany her for her late night walks. I will teach her it’s normal if a man likes another man or a woman prefers to spend her life with another woman. A person is not to be judged based on their gender, their sexual preference, their race or color. Treat everyone the way you would want the world to treat you. Respect for all and being non-judgmental are the values that I’d like to gift my daughter this Christmas.
I hope and pray that no matter where life takes her and whatever she decides to make out of her life, my daughter grows to be a kind, strong, happy and a contented woman. Amen!