Some want to have a nice dinner for their birthday; some want to go shopping, and this boy wanted to go swimming in a pool.
Swimming pools and India don’t really belong together. But for little boy’s birthday wish, mothers have to make possible everything, even in India.
Of course, our little green paradise with our small hut didn’t help in this situation. As we hadn’t been in the middle of nowhere in India, a few hotels with pool standard were around.
And so, we sneaked in a well-known hotel where we had celebrated New Year’s two years before. We pretended being residents, and swoops… we jumped into the pool.
It was hard to get little boy out of the water. He’s a fish and uses to play for hours being a real fish.
The offer of having some sweets with his older brother in his favorite restaurant took his pool session to an end. Thank Goddess Sweets!
Being a mother in Switzerland means doing all, and all means all: working 100 percent, looking after my two boys, taking care of the household, and above all trying to have a relationship with a man.
But let’s not talk about the fourth thing! This is another story. Let’s talk about the three other things which are in total already much too much.
I’m not complaining, not at all, because I wanted it this way. I certainly wanted to be a workingwoman and wanted to have kids. But nobody asked me whether I wanted to clean floors, change beds, wash cloths, fix lights, heating, shower nozzles, toilet boxes and so on and on.
I’d rather sit and write than arguing with youngsters about their consummation of computers and smartphones games or telling them twenty times to feed their pets, etc. But I’m not complaining, because I wanted to be divorced and educate my kids according to my style.
So, what’s the point, you may be asking? The point is that I cannot fill well all these roles because it would be a 300 percent job. And it’s pretty hard to confess that I’m not a perfect workingwoman, nor a good mother and at least a busy housewife. I’m constantly facing insufficiency.
And in order not to drive mad, I have to eliminate certain roles at certain times. Some days, I laugh at my kitchen disorder. Some days, I let the boys go on a long leash. Some days, I feel like writing and not working for money. And some days, I don’t know what should come first…
Can you follow me?
5.12 p.m. after school
Big boy: “Why are you so late from school?”
Little boy: “Am I late?”
Big boy: “It’s 10 past 5 and your school finished at 4.20.”
Little boy: “No, it was 4.30.”
Big boy: “No. It’s always 4.20.”
Little boy: “Okay… I had to walk back to get my bike.”
Big boy: “But to walk back takes me five minutes.”
Little boy: “But I didn’t walk fast.”
Big boy: “You played games on the phone with your friend.”
Little boy: “No…”
Big boy: “Come on. Or you’ve played foot with your other friend.”
Little boy: “No… I was alone walking back.”
Big boy: “I don’t believe you.”
Little boy: “Leave me now…”
Big boy: “So, tell me what you’ve been doing.”
Little boy: “I told you.”
Big boy: “You don’t need 50 minutes…”
Little boy: “Hmmm…”
Big boy: “I’m sure you played games…”
Mom: “Stop…! Please!”
The point of view changes when you have kids. I didn’t want to recognize for a long time because I didn’t want to feel different than people without kids.
When I didn’t have kids yet, there were two points of reference: my parents and myself.
Since I am a mother, there are three points of reference: my kids, myself and my parents.
It is so much different because there is the responsibility.
Whenever I think at myself, I’d rather remember first my kids and in a second point myself.
I don’t count anymore as it was before.
I think this is okay because it is always helpful in life when one can step aside and let other people be in the center – even when they aren’t your own kids but acquaintances, colleagues from work or friends.
I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood playing together with other children.
Maybe, it is because my mother wanted us, my brother and me, to be around her when we came back from school.
Maybe, she was feeling so lonely at home when we were at school and she was happy to have company when school was off.
She was upset when I spent the whole afternoon on my bed in my room reading books.
She wasn’t happy when I brought my friend with me and when we were knitting pullovers and drinking tea during our free afternoons on Wednesdays.
I should have been my mom’s unique friend.
What a destiny: Being born for replacing her difficult childhood during World War II by a happy motherhood.
It is a rainy day; school is off. The kids are playing, but not playing together; rehearsing a own play to invite their mothers to come and see.
They close the shutters because there has to be special light. They organize popcorn and syrup. They write an invitation card for theirs mums; they even create a form, which has to be personally signed by the invitees.
It is amazing how creative children can be. They give themselves names like Max or Alina instead of Leonard or Ellie.
In the play, they talk to each other as if they were adults.
It is wonderful to be part of this play and even more as spectators.
Time stands still.
Memories of the own childhood pass. It also has been a rainy day.
The three kids laugh and take me back to their play.
In thirty years, this moment will be part of their memories.
They play around; they have big fun.
The little one grew up in India, the older one in Switzerland. The one speaks Tibetan, the other one Swiss German. Both know a few words in English but not much.
The little one is living in a boarding school in Dharamsala, the older goes to a Swiss public school. The older one has around stuffed animals in his bed, the little one cannot imagine what this means.
The little one doesn’t have any memories of his mother because she left him when he was two years old; the older one calls about fifty times a day “Mama”.
Maybe, the older one will be traveling again to India as an adult with his girl friend or his brother. Maybe, the little one will be living in the Tibetan community in New Deli and running a travel agency.
Both boys will be having friends and no barriers to share time with foreign people.
Three weeks in India, four weeks back in Switzerland: four weeks of school, homework, getting up at times when one likes to sleep. Tough times.
But there are all the memories of our traveling in India.
Memories of rich experiences, of living two days in an Indian train, meeting so many different people, playing games on the mobile phone and eating ice cream with an Indian boy.
Or joking around with Tenzing, our “big brother” in a small hut which serves as living room, kitchen and sleeping room at the same time.
It is great to have all these pictures stored in our memory when daily life is difficult to stand.
Maybe this Indian boy hasn’t seen any Europeans before; maybe he is shy by nature. His father in his traditional dress took him to town to buy a few things.
Which world will he be living in in 20 years? Will it be the modern India? Will he be doing the bookkeeping or will he be developing computer programs for Swiss companies?
Or will he be living with his kids and with his wife in a small hut, with a water buffalo at the backyard?
Is it already defined how his future will be? Or are there many paths with a lot of junctions and side ways?
Many questions and many possible answers.
He’s got this bright smile on his face. It is promising.
Two years passed that I took this picture. So many things have changed. Now, my ten-year-old is discussing with me why I dare punish him by shutting down his iPod for a day; he is arguing with me because I push him to go to the Wing Chung classes on Tuesday and Thursday he wanted to sign on half an year ago or he doesn’t understand why I ask him to help me in the kitchen when he has so many more important things to do.
He is only ten years old but his hormones must do many somersaults per day. He starts crying when I treat him “unjustly” as he says. Three seconds later, he is looking at me as if I were a total stranger. Mum, he goes, you look awful, take off your glasses.
We will be having so many discussions in the future until he will reach majority. He has to strengthen his personality by finding out in which way he is different than me.
When we will get there, we will certainly laugh about these discussions we are having now and I wish he would still have his charming smile on his face.