I was sitting in a Starbucks outlet savoring an ill-chosen Cafe latte (I like cold brew than hot ones), waiting for Adit to join me. Since I had let my phone battery run down to 10% and did not bother to charge it before venturing out, I couldn’t do what one usually does while passing time at a Starbucks outlet – stare at your phone, browsing through mundane stuff. So instead, I chose to indulge in some people watching – not the creepy type but the subtle type. 🙂
Everyone was busy with their phones or talking among themselves when a family walked in. From the usual Indian context setting, I could figure out it was a group consisting of a mother with her 2 kids and either her parents or in-laws. Among the kids, the daughter was the one who immediately caught my eye. She could be about 10-12 years old and was dressed in a cool t-shirt and shorts, with short hair, fancy accessories. She was really cute and carried herself well. My mind, with typical human tendencies, started its overthinking about how far ahead kids these days are.
My problem was with the involuntary sense of unease that crept in when I wondered what I would do, if I have a daughter and she wanted to wear shorts. I don’t know the reason why I wondered about that. I am not against western clothes and I do not follow the traditional ways either. It is just that I have never worn shorts and have never wanted to, which is okay for me. But how would I feel if my future daughter wants to? Yeah, a bit too futuristic but since I am 5 weeks away from having a baby, my mind goes all out like this on thinking about what the future holds for me and how I will be as a parent, I can’t help it. Back to the point, seeing that girl made me face the ugly truth in the mirror. I had this baseless notion about myself that I am very open to changes and believed in honest and friendly parenting, when the time came. Of course, it is all in theory. But the castle I had built about myself came crashing down as I realized that my mind reacted the exact same way as my parents’ minds did when they first saw me wear jeans. My mind, although it did not go all blown out at the thought, felt a bit hesitant about what others would think, if it is okay with all the bad things happening these days, and the sort.
The point here is not about clothes. It’s about this high esteem I had about myself. I had this absolute over confidence that our generation’s way of parenting would be way different from how our parents’ were. I am not saying our parents did a bad job, they did the best for the world they had. And I thought that we will do better because we know the changes that this world has gone through better, because you know, we are so in the now 🙄 . Well, what a lousy sense of overconfidence and entitlement about parenting I had, without even being a parent yet. Now I realize that I have no real clue about what parenting entails and even if I did, things are not going to work out the way I think it would. Also, who am I kidding thinking that I know this world and its ways so much? I am just a regular human who judges people, overthinks stuff, tries to waddle along life but thinks that she has a hold on what she is doing, apart from everything else.
I debated this with Adit and he had a more practical and sensible approach to the issue. Although he was aware that we were not that caught up with our next generation and that sense of unease or being left out/outdated will be there, he was sure that it was only a mindset and we would have to work on it. He was clear that when the time comes, he would be able to make an unbiased decision. He had accepted the problem with no preconceived notions of confidence and also accepted the fact that he would have to come up with the solution when the time comes. He totally agreed with my realization that we will be struggling to catch up with our kids, just as our parents do with us. It is part of the game, he said.
As I tried to embrace acceptance in my mind, I told myself – Yes, you are gonna be a parent soon. Yes, you are not gonna have a f**king clue about what you are doing. But it is okay, because you will try. For yourself and your baby. And hope to the heavens that that’s all that matters.
Until later 🙂