Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Without Hiatus

I often try to think back to the time when I was J’s age to see if I can remember who or what was at the center of my universe. While school and friends formed the substantial periphery of my world, parents were at its center.If memory serves, I felt the need for both yin and yang to define completely the dependence I had on my parents – emotionally and physically.In my mind they had different roles in my life and I could isolate the need of one from the other. So when I was down with high fever, I wanted my mother by my side all day long but if it was a bigger kid in the neighborhood bullying me, I preferred that my father set him straight though my mother might have just as easily been able to do so.

There was a division of labor in my mind, a clear separation in roles and responsibilities. So if they left me home with the domestic help and her kids to go to an occasional New Year party, I did not resent being left alone but got quite agitated if they did not return exactly when they had said they would. A whole host of fears would descend upon me – what if something were to happen to both of them, I would have no one to take care of me. What if something happened to one of them – how would the one left behind and I cope.

When I heard their footsteps outside the door and the sound of the key turning in the lock, a sense of calm would descend on me. My world had stayed out of harms way, all was well and I could now go to sleep - the smell of perfume and make-up on my mother and that of stale smoke on my father were signs of normalcy I had been waiting for.

Unfortunately for J, she is not able to separate the need for security and protection into its yin and yang components as I was able to. She is not able to let go of her need for one as long as the other is around. For her it has always been an all or none situation. While I am not her father and can never be one, I find myself constantly stepping in and out of that role in her life - trying to substitute that which is missing the best I can. Neither of us are consciously aware of what’s going on but J and I are constantly twined without a hiatus and sometimes it can be tiring for both of us.

1 comment:

Priyamvada_K said...

HC,
That was such a heartfelt post - constantly twined, indeed. I do not know what to say.

Will just give mom and daughter a big hug.

Take care,
Priya.