A few days ago, as I sat sipping my evening cup of tea, my daughter came home looking dejected, her shoulders slumped, her chin drooping down and her huge, black eyes brimming with unshed tears. One look at her and I knew she was making a huge attempt at being brave and holding back the tears. I smiled and opened my arms. She dropped her school bag and rushed to embrace me. Her little arms squeezing me so tightly, spoke of her torment within and her need for love and reassurance. i gently stroked her head, kept mumbling gently nonsense, as i did with her as a baby, and slowly, she began to relax. her arms loosened their grip and she let the tears flow. I stood, embracing her, giving her my strength and comfort. when I was certain that the tears had dried, I sat her down, gave her a glass of water and smiled. She was ready to talk.
Her question amazed me and set me thinking. She wanted to know how I deal with difficult times and situations when nothing is going right? When friends are jealous of me, my successes and keep trying to take digs at me. Let me tell you here that she has been an outstanding student in all her schooling years so far, winning the topper and best student awards, consistently. So jealousy was naturally to be expected from her friends. But seeing its impact on her, I realized that the matter needed serious thought.
As I ran through the million and one quips and quotes I could offer her, one image stuck in my mind. As a child, whenever it rained heavily and I couldn’t avoid going out on some errand or the other, I would pull up the raincoat’s collar, tighten the string of the hood, put my head down and walk… keep walking, unheeding the rain, the wind and the chill.
Yes, that is what I would tell her…. that image had always given me strength and courage to keep going, keep walking. I took her hand in mine and with a deep breath began narrating to her how I would go out and face the rain, the storm, yet do what task was given to me. I never refused to do a task just because of the rain. So, in life dificult situations are like the rain, the storm, it will keep coming as part of nature’s cycle. But it cannot be a show stopper for us. It cannot be that we stop doing what needs to be done, just because there is a storm. We just need to gear up with our raincoat, put our head down and keep walking…. keeping the eyes on the road, one step at a time. The storm is not the prime focus, the road is, it is important not to lose sight of the road, the storm will finish when it is done.
When I finished talking, she looked at me, smiled and said, “yes mama, we need a good raincoat and eyes on the road!” I smiled back at the gleam back in those luminous eyes.