Like every other mother I simply loved the hold I had on my son’s life, the absolute veto power with which I ruled over his little world. In doing so I felt like a queen, but ALAS! Eventually the day came when my throne was toppled and the one to do so was no one else than my son himself! Wait! You shall better understand my predicament when I share with you the events which led to this collapse of my rule.
Twelve years back…My six year old is sitting at the breakfast table fidgeting with his cereal and fruit. “Come on Son, hurry up! You are getting late for school”, I call out in an impatient voice as I run around the house trying to manage my morning chores. “Mama, I do not want to eat this cereal, I hate it. Why can’t I have ice cream for breakfast”, he asks in his tiny voice. I feel irritated because this is a dialogue we have everyday, “You know very well that you can not have ice cream in the morning, come on finish up the cereal and your banana as well”. “But why should I when I don’t like it”? He tries to argue. How to convince a six year old about the importance of a healthy breakfast? I have neither the time nor the patience to do this, so I simply say, “Because I said so”. My son looks at me with tearful eyes and spoons his cereal half heartedly.
Four years later….. I am clearing up after lunch looking forward to my much deserved afternoon nap when I see my ten year old coming out stealthily from his room. He is trying to hide his ball and bat behind his thin framework!
“Where do you think you are going at this hour of the day?” I ask him in an annoyed tone. “Mama, all the boys are playing cricket in the lane, I am going out to play”, he says in a cautious tone trying to look confident. “No, you are not!” I snap back, “This is the time for your nap! You are not attentive in the evening while doing your home-work if you do not sleep in the afternoon”, I say in a firm tone. “But Mama, all the boys play everyday, why can’t I? Feeling too tired to prolong the argument, I simply say firmly, “Because I said so”. My son looks at me with reproachful eyes but I return his gaze steadily, his eyes falter and he turns back slowly to his room dragging his bat behind him.
Four years later…. We have to go for a dinner party and are getting late. I call out to my fourteen year old who is lazily flipping channels on the television, “Son, Please hurry up! Your clothes are pressed and I am going to change, we have to set out in exactly ten minutes”, I say as I turn towards my room. He gets up from the couch and on seeing his shirt and trousers call out from behind “Oh no, Mama! Again these formal clothes! You know very well how I dislike them. I want to wear jeans and my black t-shirt, they look so cool”. “For Heaven’s sake! You know very well that you can not wear jeans to a dinner party, so many people I know are invited there and you have to dress properly”, I feel exasperated because this a routine clash between me and him. But the argument is not over yet. He says, “Mama, I don’t understand why you are so particular about my clothes, all the boys of my age dress according to their mood! Why do I have wear these clothes when I don’t like them?” As I know it would be hard to convince him, I say in a final tone “Because I said so”. My son stares at me with rebellious eyes but this time it is me who has to look away. He picks up his clothes and as I turn to my room, I hear him slam his bedroom door behind him. “Head strong he is getting, isn’t he? I will have to talk to him” I think to myself as I hurry to my room.
Four years later….I am in the kitchen giving the final touches to the dinner. My eighteen year old enters and calls out “Mama, I am going out with friends”. “But dinner is ready” I protest without turning my back. “One of the boys is giving us a birthday treat so I will have dinner outside” he replies in a careless tone. Before I reply he says, “And please do not call after every half an hour”. I turn sharply towards him and ask, “Why do you think I should not call you when you are away?” This time my son answers in a firm voice “Because I said so !”. I nearly drop the lid of the pan in surprise and am about to give an angry retort when I notice the mischievous twinkle in his eyes and the naughty look on his face.
My little one (no more!) comes awkwardly towards me and putting his arms around me says, “Mama, I love you so, but why don’t you understand that I am no longer a child, my friends laugh at me when you call so many times, I promise you I won’t be late”. He kisses my forehead and walks out of the kitchen. My absolute rule over my son’s life is over! It’s the end of an era. I realize with nostalgia as I watch his turned back but strangely, instead of feeling resentment at being dethroned,I feel a mist in my eyes as a strange sense of pride rushes to my heart.