He’s cast a spell on me

He’s cast a spell on me, and now I’m his for life. Wholly and completely dedicated to him, I’m at his beck and call.

There was a time when I didn’t believe in spells either. But sometimes I sit back and reflect upon my own behaviour, and I am so embarrassed to admit it, but all the signs are there.
When the morning alarm rings, and the choice between jumping out of bed with a spring in your step, or hitting the snooze button, is dictated not by how soundly you’ve slept but by whether lunch needs to be packed, right there you can tell that somethings not quite right.
If a single cry of pain or a simple tear can have a more debilitating effect on you than eight hours of slogging in an office or a burning high fever, that’s another sign that something is amiss.
The day a pout or a frantic flapping of hands becomes more persuasive than a logical treatise, you know you’re in trouble.
And most certainly, after waiting on someone hand and foot (with little acknowledgement and even less appreciation), if you find that instead of your self-worth being undermined, you instead feel a surge of satisfaction and pride, then that is conclusive proof that you are under a spell.

I am an educated, independent, self-aware woman. This kind of illogical selflessness, subservience, emotional unreasonableness, should simply not be possible. So, as the wise Mr. Sherlock Holmes said, when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Most definitely I am under his spell.

Not any ordinary spell. I fear I’m in his thrall.

But spells can be broken, can’t they? Maybe graduation, moving out, getting married, having his own family, or some such even will undo it? Maybe!

And then I think back to the last call for help I made to my own mother, and how she dropped everything to come to my aid, and I realise – Nah. Some spells cannot be broken.

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Written for Saturday Stream of Consciousness word prompt –spell

Goodnight

The silence is a relief. I let myself in and head straight for her room. Maybe, with him away we could have a proper sit-down dinner.

The light above the dresser draws my eye to the partially eaten pizza and open wine. She’s half slumped across the bed, one hand dramatically reaching for something. Her glass perhaps! I pull off her slippers, climb onto the bed, and drag up one leg after another. She mumbles, but is out cold soon. A gauche lipstick smudge mars her face. The pictures on the wall bear testament that she was once pretty, but years of drinking have robbed her of her youth.

“Goodnight mama,” I whisper, making my way to the cold pizza.


In response to: Friday Fictioneers, 14 April 2017
Image by: Dale Rogerson

A man and his need for transport

A man needs transport.

Be it to run errands, visit friends, or go to work. Carpooling or taking the bus is all very good, but there are distinct advantages to having you own transport.

The man at home is rather snappy of late. I’m not sure if it is the age or the stress of everyday life. I just keep telling myself – this too shall pass.
Often arguments get heated, ultimatums are issued, doors slammed. On such occasions the man’s ego requires him to ‘leave this house’ in a blaze of dust and glory.
For this personal transport is crucial.

And since ‘down the block’ is the farthest that a ten year old man needs to go, a bicycle is perfect.

Written for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers challenge, based on photo prompt by Jellico’s Stationhouse

Project Parenting

The most important and difficult project of my life is parenting and sometimes I fear that I may have screwed that up by projecting a lot of myself on my kid.

I know that’s one of the golden rules, don’t project your fears or insecurities on your children. Don’t perpetuate a cycle of bad parenting just because you were exposed to it.

God, I know the rules, and I keep reminding myself of them, but in retrospect I realise that I may have toned it down a bit, but I’m still guilty of a little bit.

It’s exam season, and people in my part of the world act like one’s entire life hinges on those Grade 12 results. Things are so extreme that we hear of student’s commit suicide every year over exam stress. I swore I would not do that, but when I see how cranky he is, I realise that I have transferred some of my anxiety onto him. I and the entire school system!

There are days I find him banging books and slamming doors. I want to tell him that its not right to project your frustration onto the poor inanimate objects, but a certain self-realisation holds me back. I remember the many times when I’ve told him – mum’s already stressed out today. Don’t push my buttons, and the look on my baby’s face that says but that’s not fair.
I did the same thing too – Projected my frustration onto a person in a position of lesser power.
Yes, I did not raise my hand on him or yank away privileges that were important to him, but neither did I totally break the cycle of abuse. I merely toned it down.

I don’t think I’ve been a bad parent. He still trusts me and respects my opinion while at the same time being confident enough to not agree with me on many things. I would like to think of that as a small triumph.
But I still wish I had been a better and more evolved parent.

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Written for the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt “Project”

Howl

Howling out at the moon
That’s what I’ll be doing soon
When my son is out of here
Off to make his own career
Empty nest is all that’s left
Yet I know its for the best
Even if it rips my heart
Having to live apart
Loving him means letting go
Got to go with destiny’s flow
I wish him well
I wish him flight
I wish him wisdom
I wish him light
I’ll watch him leave with so much pride
His father standing me beside
Together we created
Together we let go
He’ll make us proud
That much we know
The excitement to soar is in his eyes now
Of that I’m certain even though I don’t know how

 

Linda’s Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “how”, and since she did ask us to ‘Enjoy’ I decided to try something different and write a poem. Being a stream, with only pauses to think up silly rhyming words, its a bit corny, but I did have fun. And how!
Thanks Linda.

Mom, don’t…

Don’t call me baby
Not in front of my friends
I’m all grown up
I’m almost ten

Knock on my door
Before you come in
Don’t treat me like a kid
I’m already a teen

I have an opinion
You can’t just make plans
In a year I’m off to college
You need to treat me like a man

I smile through the phases
I’ll try I say, maybe
No way to convince him
That I am not crazy
Boy or man
Eight or eighty
In my mommy eyes
He’s always my Baby

Another good morning

Chores are done and the kid off to school
I sit down with hot coffee my mind to cool
But the sip freezes at the unused plate
I wonder if perhaps it isn’t too late
Once again the familiar trepidation
I push open her door with anxious hesitation
Step in and softly whisper out, “mum?”

I keep on staring feeling a light pain in my chest
Watch for the rhythmic rise and fall of her breast
Wait for the murmuring cadence of her snore
My heart at ease I step out the door
The aroma of coffee does once more beckon
But first I send a quick thank up to heaven

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The Crystal Barn

Written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt Glass

 

Crystal.

Yes that’s the word that comes to mind when I read glass. My mother has come up with a remarkable way to combine her favourite cause with her favourite compulsion. Every time our local orphanage organizes a jumble sale (and that is usually every six months) she goes there and buys all the crystal and porcelain she can find. As a result our house is gradually starting to look more like curio barn.

There is no flat surface left empty in the living room. The glass topped coffee table has crystal above and crystal below. The ornamental fireplace boasts of crystal vases in lieu of coal. We have a big basket chandelier with matching wall lights, a beautiful pair of glass bottomed table lights and at least half a dozen candle sticks scattered around, but of course the only light that we actually use is the tube light!

A month back we were visited by three rather energetic kids between the ages of two and six and I had to skitter around the room relocating everything that was fragile and within arm’s reach. The easiest place to dump them was the dining table, after which of course I was really hoping that they would leave before supper, because the table was piled high with stuff now, and if I had to relocate it all away from there, the only place left would be my bed!

There was a time when every time she came back from one of her scavenging forays we would launch into a long verbal duel. I concede that I never emerged victorious from one of those, but I liked to think that had I not put up that resistance, the size of her loot would have only grown. But now that she’s older and I’m wiser, I try not to scream as much. I am now very clumsy and tend to knock things over, or get forgetful and misplace the truly outrageous stuff. She doesn’t question me too much at such times. A subtle truce I suppose. Moreover ever since dad’s passing I’m really trying to hold my tongue. A silly ‘better a compulsive hoarder than none’, ‘try not to say anything I’ll regret about later’ theory. Of course the smart lady is really riding the sympathy wave.

The other day I told her, “Mum, you do realise that after you I’m going to send all this right back to the orphanage for their next jumble sale.” No, she wasn’t upset. On the contrary she just smiled and replied, “Yes. You should do that. Along with all the useless electronics your father had collected. Donate it all on our names.”

Dream with a pinch of reality

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so you shall become, your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be.
-James Allen

I have heard a lot of parents and inspirational speakers reiterate this quote. Child psychologists keep harping on how we should always encourage our children; shower them with praise, set high expectations because children usually perform up to their parent’s expectations. Tell your children that they can be whatever they want. But I don’t agree with this thought entirely.

I would rather tell my child

You can achieve anything you want in life if you have the courage to dream it, the intelligence to make a realistic plan, and the will to see that plan through to the end.

It is good to dream lofty dreams, just as long as those dreams are grounded in reality. It is necessary to encourage you child, ‘encourage’ being the operative word. Don’t give them false hopes. Praise your child, compliment her work but don’t inflate her ego.

We bring up our children on stories with happy endings, where anything is possible, where a little fish called Nemo, despite his limited swimming abilities, manages to have a series of adventures/misadventures and return home safely, where the rookie car Lightning McQueen, the crop-duster plane Dusty, and the snail Turbo win the race (defeating faster and more experienced competitors by sheer grit), where the princess always gets the prince.

Children, brought up in a feel-good world, imagine they can be anything – an astronaut, a scientist, an Olympian, a film star. The next Steve Jobs or Ambani. That’s natural and that’s nice. But as parents do we merely humour them and say – “of course, you can be anything you want.” I think not. I would rather say, “Well that sounds great. But remember, achieving a dream is hard work. You must plan and work towards it.”

When he was very young, my son wanted to become either a Formula 1 racer or a fighter pilot. I had to gently break the news to him that with his ocular problems, that was not a realistic dream. Naturally he ranted at the injustice of it all, but soon directed himself towards becoming a nuclear scientist, a more plausible dream. With this dream as our goal, we sat down and drew up a road map, he had to excel at math and science, he had to develop certain skills, etc. Along the way he lost interest in becoming a nuclear scientist, but his love for science remained. He worked hard and excelled. Today he can certainly aspire to become a scientist.
Of course his father would have rather he became an athlete. We tried out a different sport every summer trying to find ‘his thing’. He enjoyed his summers, but eventually his father had to concede that sport was not ‘his thing’. As a parent he had to accept his child’s temperament and cease projecting his own dreams onto the child. Just because he loves playing soccer with his friends after school does not mean that he could have become a national player by sheer hard work and grit. Talent, genetics and temperament play a decisive role.

The dangers of blind encouragement are two-fold. Unrealistic plans lead to a waste of time and money. When a student who gets average grades sets her mind on say, medical school, other more lucrative and realistic careers like human resource management or business, are left unexplored. Even worse, if they don’t achieve their goal, they feel shame and guild and are overwrought with a feeling on incompetence. The logic goes – If I could have become anything, and I didn’t become that thing, then I have no one to blame but myself, and I am a shameful loser. Anything else that they do thereafter is a compromise and they are never happy.

Help your child understand what will make them happy and help them pursue that state of being. There are many paths to that goal. Tell them that they don’t need to chase after a ‘job they love’, rather find a job that they can grow to love. Not everyone can make a career out of what they love. It’s just as well to have a career you can respect and a hobby that you love. The eventual goal is self-happiness.

Encourage your child to have lofty goals, but let them know that in addition to self-belief, it’s going to take sensible planning, a pragmatic approach, years of hard work and a lot of patience. Teach them that there is no such thing as instant gratification and that failure and work-arounds are an inevitable part of the journey. Above all else help them understand themselves.

It may be painful to be the practical dream-crusher parent who bursts their child’s happy bubble, but it will be far more painful to watch your child loose her self-esteem, because as adults we know – We cannot become anything that we want to be.

The Very Real Big Foot Problem

He hates shopping. Most of all he hates shoe shopping. He takes exception to the fact that they don’t have “white canvas school shoes” in his size. A year back it was ‘difficult’ but now that he’s a size 12 it’s become ‘impossible’.
The school regulations state white canvas Bata shoes. Bata state that their school shoes only go up to size 10. Predicament.

When did he get so big? I still have his first pair of booties, tiny little things, barely the length of my middle finger, and believe me I don’t have a long slender artistic finger. I stand tall at five feet nothing and my stubby fingers are commiserate with my size. Even when he became my big boy and started school, his shoes were the size of my palm. Then for the longest of time they were just a hand span. O, by the way, if you are marveling at my memory, then don’t. I actually have a little collection of his shoes boxed carefully in the attic. When it comes to baby shoe memorabilia, call me Mama Marcos. Now even I know that displaying them out would be too much, but knowing that when the bird has flown and the nest is empty, I can always visit the shoes, is great solace. Except for the very comfortable grade 7 shoes, I actually used them for my morning walks. Being sentimental does not mean one isn’t thrifty. During the Model United Nations in grade 9, he looked so handsome squeezed into his father’s formal shoes.
But then something inexplicable happened and by grade 10 he was Big Foot.

The patriarch Mr Knowitall attributes it to the Crocs that encouraged the feet to expand unfettered. Had we known what we now know back then, we could have bound his feet and kept them tiny. But the young man doesn’t agree. It is his opinion that after being suffocated all day, his sensitive feet need the breather that the Crocs afford them. As owner of aforementioned feet, he gets to take the final call.

We are all still staring at said huge feet when he turns towards me and whines, “Why mum? Why do I have such abnormally large feet? It’s not fair.” In that instant there is no mistaking him for anything but the boy that he is, the boy who has my heart firmly tucked in his tiny pocket.
Don’t worry baby. Adidas will surely have your size.

To market…To market…To buy a big shoe…

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image source http://www.adweek.com/fishbowldc/files/2011/08/bigshoes.jpg


Tiny