It’s a lovely summer evening. The breeze is brisk and cooling, toning down the intense heat a little. You go down for your regular evening walk-and-talk routine with your friends, and as you try to locate them, you are stopped by a group of moms.
We’d like to tell you something about your daughter, they say. And then the adjectives come tumbling out. Awesome, helpful, such presence of mind, so well-behaved, so good with children… You listen, rather bemused. Your heart is not exactly swelling with pride because this is, you know, how it always was. Your little girl has always been like this.
The overt acknowledgements are, however, so welcome in this day and age when disgruntled complaints are the order of the day. You feel happy that they have taken the time to acknowledge and appreciate. You thank them, and then you add, very clearly – this has nothing to do with me, this is how she is, this is her innate nature.
They dismiss this with a shake of their heads. Clearly the parents are to take credit for this darling. But no parent can really teach a child to have empathy, to have an overflowing love for children, to have presence of mind. It comes from somewhere deep within.
This is my little darling all on her own. We don’t deserve credit for that. What we have simply done is to let her be. For that, I don’t mind taking the credit.
When I told Lil D about the profuse compliments, she was shy. I hugged her and said: I am proud of you. You are a good human being, and this is what we would like you to be. This is more precious than anything else.
It was when I told her this that my eyes welled up. My Lil D is no longer little; her shoulders are squaring up to take over the burdens of the world.
Here’s wishing that she spreads happiness always.