May be there is some truth to the fact that having a child is your last chance to be a better person.
May be Re is my chance to be one.
Okay, a bit about his gene pool. I am one of the rudest people I know (although I think it is predominantly Gemini sarcasm, but most people can’t tell the difference). Sometimes I feel my default setting is ‘rude’, so niceness is always a bonus. My friends don’t think so, and people who know me well enough don’t think so, but for the large majority that doesn’t get there, I am that person. The OPU is no angel either, although, between the two of us, I seem to have earned the title of the ‘bad guy’ for some strange reason, since he is never ever rude to me, but I am aplenty.
But between the two of us, we seem to have birthed Mr Congeniality. Every time Re steps out, he spends an average of five minutes saying ‘Hiiieee” to every neighbour, building watchman, car cleaner, the 90 year-old great-grandmother sunning herself in her Neel Kamal chair in the area outside her ground floor apartment, the Parsi lady the floor above, who keeps abreast of my husband’s nocturnal obsessions (why does he stay up so late every night?), the lady in the flat opposite, who has a son by the same name (although he is in his teens) , and so, has a special fondness for Re, the grocer round the corner, the bhajiwala, the istriwala,kids and mommies in the park, mall, cafe, library and any random stranger we encounter on the road while walking, or anyone who pulls up alongside us in the traffic signal while driving. Hi-fives, air-kisses, hugs and kisses are doled out like they are going out of style. Thanks to him, I am employing my facial muscles for smiling a lot at random strangers, more than I have ever done in my life, and talking and exchanging pleasantries with people who would never intersect my universe otherwise. The OPU has also been making an attempt at being nice to people who he would normally brush off as ‘insects’.
Why would the two of us be gifted the “friendliest child on the planet”, I don’t know. Poetic justice, perhaps?
But I have changed post Re, even if a teeny bit, and people have begun to notice. My mother feels I am a calmer person, and more importantly, I am nicer to her. My sister feels that I have become more forgiving. My close friends feel motherhood has made me more tolerant of other people. But as for me, I am far from feeling Zen. But I can see what they mean. Being a mother makes you look at the bigger picture. It makes you raise the bar for intolerance. It makes you want to give the benefit of doubt to people when they behave in a manner not quite okay by your books. As long as the behavior is baby-friendly, all is forgiven.
I shudder to think of what my future years would be like, being mom to Mr Congeniality. Will I ever be able to break the spell of Mr Nice? Or will I be known as “that evil mom of the good guy”? Both seem fairly daunting prospects, but right now, I am enjoying the unbearable lightness of being (nice), even if I may say so myself.