Nikita(7yrs old): Mama, who do you love the most…..Naina or me?
Mama(under her breath): Oh-oh…
Naina(4 yrs old) lifts her head from the book she is coloring & watches me hawk-eyed.
Mama: I love both of u.
Nikita: Yes, we know you love us, but who do you lovvvvve the most?
Mama(in a sinister voice): Can you handle the truth?
Mama(dumps the accent): Do you really want to know?
Nikita & Naina(clambering on to my lap): Yes, yes.
Mama: You won’t like the answer.
Naina(she's got a light lisp) : That’s OK, just tell us……the throooth.
Nikita: What about Papa?
Mama: Yes, Papa, I love him the most.
Kids: ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, then what about us?
Mama: I love you both very much but you asked me who I love the most, right? I love Papa the most.
Naina(going for jugular, as usual): But why papa first, why not us?
Mama thought for a moment: Because I loved your Papa first. He is my best friend & he'll be with me always.
Nikita(hugging me tightly) insisted: Even we'll be with you always.
Mama(cradling both of them in her arms): You will study hard, become beeeeeg, get good jobs, get married & sometimes go faaaaaar away from me. But your papa will always be with me and we will grow old together.
Naina: But you are already so old.
Mama(mock pushing her away): You love to remind me, don’t you?
The whole conversation lasted maybe 2 minutes and was conducted with a lot of animation & acoustics but the truth was just that.
I love my kids to bits & can give my life up for them. But my husband matters more. Like I told them……. I’m always aware that they are there with us for a while, we do our best for them & then send them out to lead their own lives. After that we remain on the peripherals while they take centre stage. The nest will be minus the brood but the partner is there…all along....like always.
Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong in my way of thinking, then I’d think of my Mother & an indulgent smile spreads across my face.
She was the same….there was never any doubt in my sister’s or my mind who mattered to her the most. We love her all the more for it.
And my kids......I looked carefully to see if I hurt their feelings, damaged their budding self-esteem & all that jazz, but they didn't look any different to me.....I guess they were relieved that they didnt have to compete with eachother....Papa, they could deal with.
p.s - Why so sentimental, out of the blue? Maybe bcoz the anniversary is coming up:-D