Mother’s Day was upon us and before we knew it, the children were wishing me a marvelous day. We sat there, refusing to get up from bed, and just enjoying the mother’s day stories of past years.
“Remember the year you made me that crown?! “
The now-teenaged daughter shuddered, and said, “It was horrible – why did you wear it and take a photo too?! I would not have done that.”
I gave her a smile and thought to myself how satisfying it would be to see her eat those words willingly and happily when her time comes.
The most touching gift I received this year was the pair of them thrusting their favorite books into my hands with shining, expectant eyes.
“Read this one – we loved the book in our class. I really think you will like this one, even though we don’t have a dog.” said the son.
The daughter’s request was firmer. “No…no…don’t touch it like that. See – this spine? It must not be creased. A few rules with this book. I don’t want you falling asleep with the book in your hands. That causes the book to become lopsided.”
“Just give me the book! I know how to take care of books. I love them.” I said, and the son and I exchanged amused glances. He is often at the receiving end of this lecture from his sister and seemed happy to see his mother’s version was just as firm.
“Yeah yeah. But some books just have to be cared for you know? Your love can sometimes cause creases.”
She looked at me skeptically, then went to her bookshelf and picked out a book as an example. “See this one? I had to give this little guy here a lecture because I caught him bending it.”
“Love lines and laugh lines are the essence of life. Books like to have them.” I said weakly.
Really! This child.
I pulled out a favorite poem from A Sky Full of Bucket Lists by Shobhana Kumar and read out Spaces. Her haibun in between the prose was just right. It was the prose I chose to help me this time.
She shows the children how to inhale the pleasure of unsullied pages. Savour subtleties from a dog-eared favorite.
“What do you think?”
“I love the poem Amma, but just…please? Unsullied pages, see?”
I nodded and did my finest teenage imitation. “Fine!”, and muttered how I preferred ‘subtleties from a dog-eared favorite’.
“Love you MA!”
So, it was arranged that I could fall asleep reading Shiloh, but must sit upright without coffee or tea nearby, or a tendency to fall asleep with Perks of being a wallflower in my hand.
To misquote P G Wodehouse, the surest way to find love is to have a shared taste in Literature.
I must say both the books filled my heart with their poignancy.
Happy Mother’s Day!