Ever so often, we’ve all wished for things, irrespective of whether you are a believer in the power from above or not. Sometimes it is for material objects such a new car, a new gadget, new clothing, new jewellery …. pretty much anything. Sometimes it is for intangible and non-material items such as a happy and stress-free life (apparently they exist!), your kids and parents being hail and healthy and so on. The remarkable thing about wishes is that as we progress through each stage of our lives, these wishes change quite dramatically. Now while that rule may not hold good for every person, I’d bet my bottom dollar that most of us would probably fall into that category.
And it is no different when we start out on our journey into parenthood. From the very beginning, we continue to hope and wish. We hope that the little one who is no bigger than the nail on your little pinky finger blooms his/her way into a beautiful and healthy human baby. When they eventually get here, after the pre-requisite 9 months, we believe that nothing on this planet could make us wish for anything else, materialistic or otherwise. Haha - you wish!
Fast-forward to a few months later. Dogged by sleepless nights, three-hourly feeds and shrieking cries at unearthly hours, you find yourself wishing and hoping again. For the little one to grow up a little bit. For him or her to sleep through the night. For him or her to consume more milk in one sitting, so that they don’t get up in between. For them to start getting into a pattern, which is a little less stressful on us.
Once again, let’s forward this “Parenthood” movie ahead a few more months. Your little one now sleeps through the night. You’ve been fortunate enough to catch a fair amount of shut-eye through the night, though your partner (mostly the father of the afore mentioned child) is often snoring away to glory. You’ve probably even started introducing solid foods to the apple-of-your-eye. What more could we wish for, isn’t it? Let’s move on.
Your infant is now completely en-route to being called a toddler. He/She has started strutting some really fancy looking walking styles and is starting to develop their own quaint and unique personalities. They’ve started developing some dangerous looking teeth, which they aren’t afraid to use under any circumstance - sometimes for their defence, other times just to demonstrate their power to hold us ransom to their unspoken demands. They’re now choosy about their food, and very often repetition of any food item becomes a sin. Often kids also develop the miraculous ability to turn perfectly good and healthy baby food into a projectile weapon of sorts, which sometimes even makes us parents resort to hiding behind a cushion or towel. And somewhere along this phase, you cannot help but wish. For the times when milk alone provided all the nourishment that they needed. For the time to come, when your toddler can possibly feed themselves, without too much of interference from us (the parents). For the time when the kids start to speak properly rather than the mumbles that make no sense at all, so that they can tell us what they want. Since the most brilliant of scientists are yet to discover the power of time-travel, we rest our hopes on the future when the kids will start feed themselves and we can make sense of their mumblings. Surely that’s the perfect life isn’t it ?
You’re probably not entirely wrong in making that assumption at this stage. Once your little ones start tending to their own cycles of feeding, pooping and telling us their likes and dislikes, needs and wants, apart from the occasional wishing that things were a lot simpler when they were just babies, the phase from the late childhood to early teenage / pre-teenage years go through without a lot of wishing and hoping from the parents.
Cometh the teenage years, and the urgency and frequency of your wishes increase manifold. Suddenly you’d wish that your once little non-stop babbling angel would continue talking a lot more to you. You can’t help but wish that they’d involve you more in their lives and their little decisions. You hope that you’ve done enough as a parent to stop them from making those questionable choices. You hope they graduate with flying colours and wish that they succeed in every examination that the school of life throws at them - academically and otherwise. You spend every waking minute, hoping that they waltz through any troubles that they might find themselves in. This period is when your wishes free flow like water, and you find it hard to keep track of each and every one of them.
Your off-spring’s journey into adulthood has commenced, and with that your wishes take an additional form - concern. You hope that he/she finds their heart’s calling, and are able to make incredible strides in their career. When they embark on a successful career, you find yourself hoping that they will find a suitable partner who’ll be their pillar of support going forward, and hope it is someone you can pass on your batons of “love” and “care”. You find yourself wishing for them to complete the full circle and present you with darling grand-kids on whom you can continue to shower your love.
As the years go by, and you move on to your second child-hood, your list of wishes start to dwindle, but never cease. Even though your little one’s are no longer “little”, you continue wishing for their good health and success in life. Though you refrain from giving them advice on how to bring up their kids, you once again hope that you have been able to impart good parenting knowledge to your successor(s). In spite of finding some of their parenting choices “too Gen-Z” for your liking, you hope that your grand children will go on respecting their elders and making those right choices.
The transition to old age is not without its share of illnesses and complications. As your body struggles to adjust to practically everything, and even day-to-day activities become a struggle, you can’t help but keep on hoping. But the hope at this stage has now turned into a silent plea, a prayer if you will. It becomes a desire to leave your earthly being without much pain. It becomes a longing that you are able to quietly drift away into paradise without giving too much trouble to your loved ones.
You wish for the inevitable end to be smooth and swift. And as you cross over into the light, you wish one last time. You wish and hope that your loved ones do not shed too many tears over you. You hope that they continue to go on with their lives as usual. And you hope…..that you’ve done enough for them to remember you by.
“Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” ― Stephen King
I’d like to put a disclaimer to reiterate, that not all kids are alike, and the “wishing “ and “hoping” will vary depending on the kid and the style of parenting. Also, since my little one is still a toddler, the remaining parts of this post are purely based on observations of other kids, their parents and some my own personal experiences.