‘Momma, come sit with me.’
‘Right now? I am in the middle of something.’
‘Yes, momma , right now. ‘
Child drags the said momma to the bed and makes her sit. Ok, now what? Nothing. Just sit with me. So they sit and stare. He stares out of the window and she stares at him, expecting him to tell her why he wants her to sit with him. After a couple of minutes , he puts his head on her lap, takes her palm and places it on his forehead and keeps staring out of the window. That’s it. No further explanation. Just sit and stare.
But this hyper productive momma has a hard time just sitting. She wants to do “activites” with her child. Go to the park, make some craft , bake something, DO SOMETHING. not just sit and stare.
You can guess who this Momma was and if you are a parent I think a lot of you can also relate to this.
W H Davies once said
“What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare”.
Children inherently know this. They have all the time in the world to keep starting at a bug walking on a little leaf. Heck, most of the time they don’t even need any external things. Their noses are full of wonderful things. Poke your finger and different things come out of different depths of the nose. Then inspect it from all angles. Once done, rub it off on to the closest cloth, own tshirt most of the times, and then move on to starting at something else. They are born with PhDs in archaeology with specialisation in nose excavation.
children mostly have no fomo. But parents can have a lot of fomo on behalf of the child, for the child.
This child goes to football class twice a week, although grudgingly. But what about all the other classes that he is not going to? Singing, dancing, Karate, chess, badminton, swimming, piano, advanced mathematics? What if he has some hidden talent in one of these things and he couldn’t access it because he had no access to any of these coaching classes?
The said Momma has to fight this internal battle all the time while trying to convince herself that kids need to be kids and they need time to stop and stare.
“No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows.“
Once, when the child was 3, parents took the child to a zoo. There were many different animals- a white tiger, antelopes, elephants, several beautiful colourful birds and one giant rhinoceros. The child was not interested in any of the things apart from the huge butt of the rhinoceroses. It didn’t turn around to face them a single time, yet they stood there mesmerised by his tail swatting the fireflies. They wanted to show the child all the other beautiful creatures too, but what’s the point in that when you can stand and stare at one butt for an hour?
Momma, does the rhino fart? I guess so.
It may be true that the child is the father of the man, but he definitely is not the mother of the woman. Mothers have way more guilt than anyone else on the planet. Even when children grow up and don’t need the mother as much, we feel guilty for all the times gone by and keep wondering if we spent enough time with them. There is no escaping this. Working moms, stay at home moms, smothering moms, space-giving moms, all have guilt. The only times I haven’t felt guilty as a parent is when I am sitting with the son and playing along . But then I feel guilty for not having had a productive weekend. So there no winning.
“A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.”
May be if I add a meeting to my calendar , I might end up doing it.
Title: Sit with child and stare.