Dear Lil Dumpling,
Before I start this letter, I need to grab the tissues, lots of them!
For the past one month all you have been talking about was about your birthday and as exciting as it is for you to finally approach another birthday, I can’t help but wish time moved little slower. Although there were times where I felt the clock was ticking very slowly, but I can’t deny the fact that these were the shortest 6 years of my life…
As they say, the days are longer but the years are shorter and it is more evident to me as a mother of little boy who just turned 6 today. I feel that the years are flying as I desperately try to bottle up your little quirks that I love so much. I don’t ever want to forget how you pause in between the things you are doing to tell me how much you love me. I wish I could bottle your smile, your innocence and have your small hands wrapped around my neck forever. I’m not ready for this. I guess I will never be ready for this…
As I sit here and watch you running around the garden watering the plants, I can’t help by remember the time when you first entered my life. I spent hours holding you close, marvelling at the tiny life in my arms, examining the tiny but perfectly formed dimpled hands and pink soled feet. I spent all my days gazing into your beautiful brown eyes with long fanned lashes that kissed your utterly buttery red cheeks peeling in little patches. If I close my eyes, I can still smell you; the heady baby smell that was so unique to you. I lived for your smiles; even the gas-induced ones brought me joy.
Six years later, not much has changed.
I still love the way your head fits perfectly in the crook of my neck, though the sight of your lanky legs extending beyond my knees when I lift you makes me little sad. I still love to breathe in the scent of your hair. Not necessarily after long day at school, but when you are fresh from the bath. Your smiles, even the fart-joke induced ones, still bring me joy.
I still love spending time gazing and drowning in your deep brown eyes. Your eyes have always been expressive, a window to our untouched and pure soul. I see the world in them. Now your eyes are full of questions, some which I can easily answer and some that leaves me grasping for breath. The answers used to be easy. Now the questions and answers are more complicated.
I feel like it was just yesterday you were toddling along with that cheeky smile as you followed my every move. But, lo behold… Here I am today, all teary eyed as I watch you turn six so effortlessly. You are bouncing around the house eating that 6th slice of your birthday cake, which was your breakfast as well, without any objection from me. You are the king of the house today and you are making sure that every one knows it. :) I can see your joy, excitement and the pride that comes with growing older. I can also see that baby fat melting away as you have grown taller and leaner and the sad fact that you no longer follow my every shadow. When did that happen? I’m not sure how I feel about this!
Kiddo, you have inherited your dad’s goofiness, kind heart, sense of humour, talent for sports and mischievous grin. I’d like to believe that your love for books, numbers, nature and music comes from me. But the goodness in your soul and the kindness in your eyes? That’s all you.
Time is moving too quickly. I only wish I can I pause time and fill my heart and brain with all these great memories. I love to watch you grow into such a kind, handsome and happy boy. But I also wish I could go back to those days where you fell asleep in your high chair with a mouth full of food. Those are the years I can’t get back. And in 6 more years I’m going to wish the same thing. Except I’ll wish you were 6 and still snuggled up to me during story time as we laughed together at some silly and funny words.
As all mothers do, I too have dreams, aspirations and wishes for you. I have, as you can imagine, hundreds of them. But on your 6th birthday, I will limit myself to the six I wish for most.
I wish for the kind heart I see in you in today to stay firmly in place, forever. You can’t stand to see anyone hurting. That sad feeling you sometimes get when you see someone hurting or upset in your school or on telly? That moment when you say 'my heart is hurting, Amma and my eyes want to cry"? That’s empathy. That you possess this trait at your tender age is a treasure. Keep it, nurture it and don’t ever lose it. Be generous and honest with ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ as you are now. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are too sensitive.
Learn at every opportunity. Read... read a lot, not just for the knowledge hidden in them but also for the fun of reading. Books are your lifelong best friends, wisest counsellors and the most patient teachers. Travel… travel a lot. Meet a lot people from different backgrounds, learn and respect their cultures. Many things in life are learnt not inside the 4 walled class rooms, but when we step into the real world. Be inquisitive. Ask. And when you know something and know it well, teach others. Do not hoard your knowledge, share them with others. There is inherent beauty in being both student and teacher. It is a gift to learn and a privilege to teach.
Don’t ever apologize for who you are, for what you want, for how hard you have worked or where you are going in life. Do not live to make others happy or to measure up to someone else’s expectations. Stand up for your rights and fight for the common cause and justice for others. Be you, the real you and be proud of you. This is enough.
Respect. Have an open mind. Respect others thoughts even when they do not match yours. Respect time, others feeling and your country. Respect the food on your plate and never waste it. Respect your family, treasure them and your friends, be loyal to them. Respect the child in you, let him live and guide you when you stand in a life’s crossroads and don’t know which route to choose. Have imaginations of a child and hunger for knowledge even when you reach the ripe age!
Find joy, even in smallest things. Every single day, find something that makes you happy and do it. Be it big or small, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you spend a portion of each day smiling and laughing. Learn a sport which teaches you sportsmanship and fair play. Cultivate a hobby that you genuinely enjoy.
There will be new challenges that may leave you feeling anxious, frustrated and sometimes, sad. As much as I would love to see you succeed in everything you do and as much as I believe in you, I must wish you challenges. Trial and error will be your greatest teacher. Life is not always going to be a bed of roses, and remember that it is these challenges and also failures that shape our personalities. Learn to accept defeats gracefully and handle triumphs humbly. Dream. Dream big dreams, with both your eyes open, but make sure that you work hard to realise it. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. Embrace your fears and allow them to make you stronger. And lastly, don’t try to be a superman! There is a reason why he is a comic book hero and wears his undies out! ;)
You like (love) animals, music, outdoor play, riding bike, tickles, bedtime stories, beaches, chasing waves, making sand castles, jumping in muddy puddles, swimming, ball games, watching Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly, helping around house chores, and watering and taking care of plants. You dislike taking shower, water on your face face, worms and insects, spicy food, sitting still and haircuts. Your current favourite things to eat are blueberries, yogurt, ice cream, kaju katli, carrots, raw onions, cheese, ketchup, cucumber, masala dosa, onion uttapam, kichidi, pancakes, chocolate cake and milk chocolates. You get so excited about simple things that sometimes it makes me pause to think about life and what it really means. Thank you for teaching me to forgive, to love unconditionally, to enjoy simple things in life, to be carefree, to accept failures and to work on them, to help others without expecting anything in return, to live in the moment and to love our imperfections! You have made my life simpler, happier, colourful and worthwhile.
You have so much to look forward to and so much to learn. There’s something special about a mother and son’s relationship and I feel so incredibly lucky to experience that with you. The best part of my day is the joy infused by your smile as you come running and hug me tightly. I live for the moments when you tenderly put your hand on my face and ask me about my day all while planting a deep kiss on my cheeks. I couldn’t live without your affection and kindness. You light up my life and I’m so happy that you are who you are. It’s truly a wonder to watch you.
Bright, bold, courageous, goofy, lovable, happy, funny and kind. That’s you in a nut shell. I am proud that you are my son. I hope I tell you that often enough. I am head over heels in love with you, young man! Happy birthday, my buddy! May you have a year filled with fun, adventure, and lot of goofiness that you love so much.
Love you always and forever,