Friday, December 12, 2008

Auntz-the tiny species

Being an Aunt is not at all the rehearsal for being a Mom. I discovered that.

How many times in life you get scared to the bone-marrow?
Age-7. Groping in the dark.
Age-16. Board Exams.
Age-18. First bunk for a movie.
Age-23. First Interview.
Age-25. First elopement (doesn't apply to all I know)
A soft, puny, extremely delicate midget of the size of your palm and with no bigger body organ of significance except a pair of the most articulate and curious stand in front of this strange species called a baby...and your best friend watches you intently...waiting for you to take the pink human mass in your hands!!
I check back in the dictionary and 'scary' is just not the word.
It's so much more strange and serious than that.

Holding a few weeks old (Ok, may be I should use the word 'young' here) baby in your hands is a completely alien feeling. It's a feeling that travels from being petrified to blank to weird to anxious to seraphic.
You are not sure whether you can manage not to bruise that lovely Johnson & Johnson's face before you muster the courage to take her in your arms. And then you are not sure if her questioning eyes would condescend enough not to bawl to glory while doing the honours in your arms. Would she accept my brave efforts? Would she scream now? Would she be comforatble in my gauche hold?

But then something totally unexpected happens.

She manages to scrutinise my face silently and then rewards the valour with an angelic smile.
A smile that only babies can manage. A smile that shines on you right from the eyes. A smile that is the best synonym for contagion, for bliss, for being touched.
And before you even realise, you establish a lifelong camaraderie with a four week young (see I corrected) buddy.

Meanwhile, your best friend, in her newly-acquired designation of a Mom, is still waiting for some comment, the long-awaited compliment. But who cares? Who has the time? You are busy conversing in baby babble about the many nuances of life with the new found friend. Wish there was a Do-Not-Disturb placard on diapers too.

Good Morning!
The world has changed for you a little..or more.
You are an Aunt now. Yes, officially, the Mausi of this angel.

And even if the poor parents struggle to convince you about the vices of lollypops, Candy jars and lap-times, there's no argument cogent enough to reverse the zeitgeist.
"I am the naughty Aunt. I have all the right and I will spoil her all the time." You announce back.
"From cookies to huge Teddys to Playstations to Short-skirts to Boy-friends. I take up the Pamper-zone. You don't tresspass in my territory and I would reciprocate the same etiquette for your discipline-territory."
"Come On." you continue reasoning with the Mom. "Your role is different. Allow me the luxury of mine."
And moreover, our gang of girls can bestow the blue-eyed baby all varieties of Aunts.

Some would teach her culinary secrets.
Some would bequest her the craft of shopping.
Some would make her the heir of long-nurtured rhymes, songs and Lullabies.

And I can finally pick huge piles of tiny-tomes from the Kids section of Crossword, my favourite zone, (which bestows me many curious eyebrows when I spend three-fourth of my visit here instead of joining the grown-up sections of Pulp fiction, Self-help and abstract authors).
Wow, I can actually buy those Peter-Pans, Heidis, Enid Blytons, Pirates, Fairies, Pixies all over again. And I would have finally a nice company to read them with.
As I walk away from the book store, all elated, I feel like giving my new friend's Mom a big hug.

That's the best present she has given me for our lovely past together.

I can't however because she is busy swinging her sweet-eyed cherub when I meet her.
But my eyes hug her nevertheless as I find time to discover that my silly-old friend has turned so beautiful.
Her eyes have a different dignity, happiness and soul now, as she graces the experience of being a mother.
That's something we Aunts can never emphatise with.
And so, because the Aunts know that she would be a Super-Mom, we can have all the fun as the Super-Aunts.

It's not rehearsal. It's recherche.
Something you won't understand till you face a baby.
It's not scary.
It's different.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pratima. I loved your post. Haven't held such a 'young' baby in my hand...yet. But will be doing so in a few days. A dear friend's baby girl. Hardly a month old. I found a name for her - Iva - which means (in Jewish and Japanese) - God's gift. Now I am no believer in God. But reading your post makes me feel that this is what you must feel like when you hold something so pure :-).
You write very well. I am glad I came across your blog. I am commenting using a link to my fledgling blog. Have just started blogging. Hope to have more thoughts up on it soon.