Tag Archives: realization

Part time father, full time daddy

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The alarm goes off sharp at 6AM on the Monday morning. Lazily, I turn around and hit the snooze button. Ten minutes are precious and with that I turn around and drape my arms around the little bundle that is rolling all over the bed.  I finally hit the shower at 6.30 while my daughter gets her milk and my wife begins the ritual of getting her ready for school.  We need to leave at 7.30 and its always a mad rush with us just about make it to the car, after the customary goodbyes and ‘see you on Friday’ routine……

The school bus picks her up from her mother’s place and the mother and daughter catch up over the next ten minutes before we get her onto the bus – her mother goes off into the apartment building and I drive off to work…. Well that’s the culmination of the weekend that I have spent with my kiddo until the next weekend.

I lose track of the day and get home later in the evening to what seems like much quieter and emptier house – there is no noise of small feet coming running towards me, ready to jump on me with a hug or a visibly upset little girl boxing me with all her might when she her daddy does not understand her :).  Yeah, it is much quieter and an evening that I clearly dread every day of the week.  I realise, that its amazing as I have been used to this routine to over three and a half years now and yet every Monday seems like the first.  I am not a man to exaggerate, but every Monday morning leaves a void that slowly gets filled as the week moves on only to split wide open the next week.

My wife and I sit, discuss the day, watch some TV and invaibly end up laughing at all my daugter’s antics over the weekend. Yeah, Mondays are depresessing for the world and for me even more so.  I have a shorter fuse, I don’t have time for anyone really and I just want to sit with my drink at the end of the day and not have to worry about anyone else. Wishing to drown away every other thing that surrounds my existence right now….

Every Monday I keep wondering whether I could have done things differently, been a better husband or a better parent to have avoided this dual life that my child now needs to lead.  She clearly associates weekdays with ‘mumma’ and weekends with ‘papa’.  As she has grown over the years, I have tried connecting with her during the week so she knows that I miss her and love her through the week. But not even being five years old right now, she clearly has other priorities when daddy calls her in the middle of play time with friends.  Even then, she will come speak with me, tell me what she’s upto before she runs off to play.  The girl’s a sweetheart and breaks my heart even more.

So what do I really do on the weekend – hmmm… I make sure I feed her atleast two to three meals myself, give her one bath atleast, help her select her clothes (but with her sense of fashion she doesn’t need too much help from daddy :)), help her with her homework – we agree on a schedule of what needs to be done and when, read her a couple of stories at bedtime (if she has already not passed out with all the activity over the day), take her to a mall where daddy and kiddo play games together (she does bring out the kid in me as we race cars and zoom on bikes in the gaming arcade :)).  In between, she will run off with her young friend, who she calls her little sister, go play with my bro’s pet beagle, catch a nap together, top up daddy’s drinks with ice and also watch an overdose of ninja hattori…

We make sure she gets to bed on time on Sunday night so she is bright on Monday morning and by the time its Sunday night, both my wife and I are sombre – not always because we are tired of having done much but just dreading the quiet that would descend on the house next week.

In such weekends, I have often had a conversation with my daughter which goes something like this

Me – So sweetheart, papa is really going to miss you during the week. Will you also miss me?

Kiddo – I will miss you too papa

Me – so sweetheart why don’t you stay back with papa – after you go papa will be all lonely and so sad…..

Kiddo – but I will back no papa?  Hmm… When will I come back????

Me (smiling ) – on Friday

Kiddo – see papa, I will be back on Friday, mumma also must be missing me no ?

So much of sense is a body so small is crazy and amazing. I just hope I can be level headed enough to match this pint sized person.  I can’t argue much with that and more often than not I will end up giving her a kiss as we move back to whatever we were doing before that.

So it always brings me back to the question as to whether I am really doing enough to make a lasting and positive impact on my child’s life?  I remember recently reading many articles which stressed on how fathers should spend atleast a couple of hours a day with their children, understanding their day, having a conversation, reading them stories and just connecting with them at some level so that they build that long term relationship with their child.  Well, I really don’t have the option do I?  All I can do is make sure that I connect with her during the week as much as I can or she permits with the hope that she will be more willing as she grows up and yearns for more daddy time…..

And this situation does drive me a little to paranoia most of the time – to ensure that I really get enough face time with her and yet she has fun when she comes over. After all, after a few years, she will most likely choose her friends over her ‘fuddy duddy’ daddy anyways and unless she has fun here this face time is likely to reduce even further.  So trying to be involved and maybe doing many of the things that regular dads do over the space of a week I need to sometime cram into the two precious days I have with her.  My biggest fear and also my biggest driver being that I will look back on my life and realise that I really don’t have a bond with my daughter. That is by far my greatest fear……

I recently read a proverb which I had long since forgotten – “Any man can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad”

I became a father nearly five years ago, but I hope I make a dad at some point in my life and there will really be no proof other than the bond I will share with my daughter.

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The fragility of life

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As I opened the newspaper today, the following headline grabbed my attention

Baby Falak leaves for a better world

Five surgeries and 56 days after she was admitted to hospital, two-year-old Falak suffered a third heart attack at 9.40pm on Thursday. All efforts by the doctors to revive her failed — and Falak left the brutal world she had briefly inhabited for, hopefully, a better one.

It was a tragedy that sickened and shocked a nation and had millions offering prayers. On January 18, the little girl was admitted to the AIIMS trauma centre with severe head injuries, both arms broken and human bite marks all over her body. The same day, she suffered a heart attack, followed by another on January 21. But she clung on tenaciously, to a life that had offered her nothing but pain and trauma.

Public outrage at her plight spurred investigations that uncovered a sordid tale of exploitation and callousness, and led to the arrest of 13 people accused of human trafficking. Police finally tracked down her biological mother, Munni — herself a victim of circumstances — in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. Munni, who had been separated from her three children, was reunited with them, but the happiness proved short-lived.

Falak was in the news for a while when “this story broke” but just disappeared to be one of the stories that was just not ‘breaking news’ after a point. Other stories came and went and we heard of Falak again today when she was no more. Not just as a parent but as a human being it makes me wonder and a little sick at how callously we treat the value of human life here. Till the time she made news, Falak was all over the press, who would compete to provide the sordid details of her tragedy to have that bit of an edge over the reporters. When something more newsworthy came along, she was forgotten and we just went ahead with our lives—– Me included.

What does that really say about me as a human being? Am I so engrossed in my own personal life and immediate surroundings that I really don’t see anything beyond it? A child lost her life in the most heinous circumstances and I really did nothing!!!! What’s more, will I even feel this way after a few days when the initial disgust has worn away? Am I so numb to the suffering of those who do not affect me that I really don’t care? How close does it really need to be for me to really care????

But the day was just getting started. I just got back into town to hear to the passing away of a young boy (well a very nice man really) who was family and my daughter’s godfather. In his late twenties and one of the most decent people I ever met. And POOF just like that he was gone. I had not really been in contact with him for a while but it never occurred to me that I would never see him again. I could only imagine what his parents and family were going through. It’s not easy to deal with the loss of a loved one and I can only shudder how it must be to deal with the loss of a child. Someone you have seen born and grow in front of you. You nurture them, watch them blossom with the love and grow into beautiful human beings only to be lost forever – leaving you with memories and all the things you would have wanted to say and do before they went. Always putting things away to deal with later and the appropriate time…. So when is the appropriate time?

These two incidents made me think of all the people who I have lost over the years and it all came racing back……my doting grandparents, my uncles and aunts, the classmate who I competed with to be the top of the class, secretly hating her guts because I thought she was better than me yet going onto become good friends when we moved to another city to study. I remember feeling the emptiness when one day she was gone… just like that…..just 19 years old. I remember being upset, numb and yet accepting it as a part of life and, dare I say, even forgetting about it when I got caught up in my own life…..

The other buddy who I lost – in his mid-twenties, just married and starting a new life and POOF, gone again – Just like that. It came back all over again, the good times and just how we grew up together…..

I often hear that time heals everything…. well atleast most of it…..But is that really the case? Or is it just that with time we learn to put these thoughts and feelings into the deep recesses of our heart, never to access them again and it is only when we are forced, through incidents such as this, that we have to open our hearts and remember it all over again…. The fragility of life……So has time really healed anything for us or are we just better at putting it away in a part we never want to remember and hope that we will never have to.

As I look at what I am writing there is really no connect between the two losses – in one, I am saddened at my own insensitivity to the loss of a child’s life. Could I have done anything to help that baby? Maybe not, but the more important question, really is that whether I even consider it? It did not directly affect me so why would I? Is this what I am becoming? Are there more such people like me and is this how we are as a society?????

The second loss is closer to home and has just opened pandora’s box of all the feelings that I have bottled away for so many years. It has also made me accept that I will not have all the people that I love, in my life forever. I have to accept that sometime I will be alone or will lose the ones closest to me. But can I not push that into the deep recess till I actually have to face that in person.

I read somewhere recently that “Every night we go to bed without any assurance of being alive the next morning. But still we set the alarm to wake up. that’s called HOPE”.

Is it really hope or am I just caught up in the routine of life that it never occurs to me what a gift it is to be alive and have all the love surround me….

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive. To breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.

~Marcus Aurelius

But can I really do it? Or will it also just pass and get lost in the routine of life only to be jolted back with another loss I want to avoid…….