“It is so scary, any vehicle could hit on the foot rest!”, said Mom instantly as I opened the entrance door to let her in. Her words sounded as if I was the one responsible for her plight.
“What happened, Mom?”, I asked already knowing that she was complaining about the two wheeler (scooter) ride with Dad. She comes back with Dad on his scooter after her daily evening walks in the park.
“I am not sitting on the God forsaken scooter ever again!” replied Mom.
By now I was getting irritated. I controlled myself and said in a very plain matter-of-factly tone, “You have said that at least 20,000 times before, Mom!”
This was the first time I had responded that way. But I had to say it, not because I wanted to upset Mom further or to trivialize what she was trying to say but because that was the truth! Well, the count of 20k is an exaggeration but the point is that Dad is almost 70, Mom 66 and what I have heard ever since I was a child are a lot of complains.
Perhaps we all do such seemingly harmless venting out every now and then. Things after all don’t always go as we please. But there are still some options one has:
1. Complain, complain, complain… (the chosen option always so far!)
2. Be happy that God has been kind to let you travel with your partner. (too far fetched?)
3. Convince your partner and get him to bring the car for you (too difficult , life is not a romantic movie, or may be you can give it a try and make it one?)
4. Get convinced and make your own arrangement to come back. (too bold? Going against your husband when you should instead be making sacrifices for him! How can a woman go against her man for selfish interest?)
Option 1 seems to be the wrong-est to me.
One – It doesn’t help you. Especially if you complain to me, a third person. Unless, of course, if you wanted me to help you, which you clearly don’t (as I have realized over the years). For if I do talk to Dad, you would come back defending Dad and say that “It’s okay, at least he picks me up!”. I have been confused enough and don’t want to remain so any further.
Two – It doesn’t help Dad. He is practical with a capital P! He can’t understand emotions, so either you stop coming back with him or stop complaining! Period.
Three, and most importantly (as far as I am concerned) – It doesn’t help me. Parents need to realize that the moods of parents impact the children’s moods directly. Even if I am feeling low, I should be cautious in sharing my feelings with my children, unless I want them to help me. I need to be clear how I would want them to help me. Otherwise, the sheer lack of clarity or sharing for the heck of it, is only going to cause harm to both the parties. You feel worse by re-living those moments – of being driven in a haggard scooter when Dad has two cars waiting in the garage to come out. The child (I) will feel miserable simply because the parent feels so, and on top of that, the feeling of being helpless for the person who means the world to the child.
I don’t doubt your intentions Mom. Not even once! Just that you didn’t think this would cause any harm. But well, that’s what it did!
Took me a long time (half the average lifespan in India) to realize this. It’s a very long time. A lot of life. But I have learnt my lesson. As a parent, I need to be careful, for my child will never be happy to see his Dad or his Mom unhappy and helpless. So, let me not get him or her into a situation like that unless I genuinely need them to help. If I need them to help, I would need to phrase it differently. Otherwise, don’t care to share with them. In fact, care enough not to share with them.
I love you Mom, and can’t thank God enough for blessing me with you as my Mom. You always meant the world to me and always will. I owe to you whatever I am today. As I pass on the good things to gen next, I also should put a stop to the few that didn’t work. That’s all!
The men are playing the men’s game on facebook, “No Shave November” this month. Can I challenge the parents to a No Complains December?
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