Parenting the parent

Life goes a full circle when we begin to pick life lessons and 'trends' from our children.

“Can you meet me at the hospital?" My daughter’s shaky voice jolted me out of my afternoon stupor.

“What! What?” was the best I could do. My daughter quickly assured me that she was fine, though she sounded clearly in pain. Despite her attempt to reassure, I imagined the worst. “Amma, calm down. I slipped and fell down in college and I think I’ve broken my foot.”

On my way to the hospital, I found myself cursing every red light and my absent spouse. Why was it that my husband was never in town when either of the kids needed medical attention? After twenty minutes, that felt like hours, I got to the hospital and found my daughter hobbling on one foot, while waiting for me in the lobby. 

Over the next hour the hospital had me jump through the hoops waiting in serpentine queues to pay bills or get medicines. Why don’t hospitals bill us at the end or at one go in the beginning? My daughter waited in the casualty ward all the time, moaning in pain. When I finally made it back to her, the doctor on duty gave me a relieved smile.

 I cottoned on when I saw my daughter glowering at him and muttering under her breath. But the moment she saw me, the brave trooper made a feeble attempt to smile. “Amma, chill.” Her quiet murmur soothed my frayed nerves. When had my baby girl grown up?

A day earlier her elder sister had emailed me a link to a music video that had apparently gone viral on social media. All her friends in college were talking about it and she was eager to share the news. “I wanted you to know what’s trending with the teen crowd here,” she explained. After the first few minutes of watching the video, I was squirming in embarrassment. What was the rage all about? The entire video was a non-stop shaking of posteriors by two popular women musicians.  

For reasons that I am still unable to fathom, the video had caught the headlines of nearly every major American and English newspaper and magazine. “The kids are busy recording their parents’ reaction to this video!” added my daughter who was equally perplexed with the phenomenon. As the world zoomed in on this titillating video, my teen daughter was busy trying to take off my blinders. When had this baby girl grown up?

Whether it was handling a medical emergency or educating their mother about popular culture, my children were showing me how much I still had to learn. I was picking up life lessons from my children. Only today it dawned on me how prescient William Wordsworth’s words were – the child is indeed the father of man – or in my case, my children were the mother of at least one woman, me. But I hope mine aren’t reading this article!

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