Friday, November 03, 2017

Collapse of an ego

Becoming a parent is destruction, says Natasha, a destruction of one's self, before there is creation, the soundless collapse of one's ego.

And I think to myself, after Rahul's birth, that is what this blog documented. It recorded my struggles as I fought the collapse, as I refused to acknowledge its necessity, and yet, necessarily, the responsibility of a child shattered my image of myself and reconstructed a woman I occasionally had trouble recognising in the mirror. Within a year I went from haunted college woman to strained first time mother, struggling to make sense of a human being I'd created but whom I barely understood. So much of my posts here are about me trying to figure that boy out. Of me but not me. Of Vicky, but not Vicky either. And it's not because I was particularly dense, it was just the process of becoming a parent, and I didn't realise what it would entail.

Beni's coming brought on a different kind of destruction. By then I'd already given up on my pet parenting theories and ideals. All I wanted was a baby to hold, and I got one who never wanted to be put down. With his arrival there came upon me an indescribable exhaustion that has never truly left me. I don't know what to make of it. I feel ill but I'm reasonably sure I'm not in a health crisis. My tests bear me out. I am too tired to think, to plan ahead, to do all the things (or even some) that I did for Rahul. I don't read books to him and I don't often play with him. He is growing up beautifully all the same, because that is his nature. And also because this time around, I am older and have been around children long enough to know that all they need is love. Everything else is negotiable. Does that sound ridiculously idealistic?

Beni destroyed the crumbling remnants of the mother I used to be. I wanted to shower a little one with uncritical affection, and he made it easy for me to do this. I didn't trouble to understand his nature because I knew he would reveal himself in time. (Note: the revelations are scary, this child is unnerving, but more another time.) I haven't worried over his needs because over time he is learning to articulate them to me. Even now, at the difficult age of three-and-a-half where he is struggling to accept that he cannot control his universe and his frustration can raise the roof, even then, he will quieten down if we hold him tight and acknowledge that he is troubled. That is all he really needs from me right now. And after a while, he will come apologise to me of his own accord. I find it amusing that he apologises to me the most, because I apologise to him each time I wrong him. His father and brother rarely apologise to him and in turn get far fewer apologies than I do. This essentially gentle, loving, sensitive little boy doesn't feel created by me, but I must have had some hand in his making, and he in mine.

If Rahul taught me to marvel at a world I'd never noticed before, from Beni I am learning something new of love.

No comments: