24 October 2020

There's a 'some mother's child' we rarely notice


Have you tried to see people as children? It’s not a hard exercise, really. When one has lived long enough to have seen people of different ages, from infant to extremely elderly, one can look at a child and imagine what that child would look like decades from now. The reverse is also possible. We can try to draw out the child that an old person was many decades before.

That’s one way of looking at it. There’s another. Consider the following note on the subject.

‘My mother taught me to always look at people as children. "Some mother's child," she would say, repeatedly. Often, she would add something else: "That mother wanted the best for them." As in, that mother did not wish for their child to grow up to be awful, mean-spirited, a liar, thief, pauper, abandoned, lonely, addicted, so forth. That mother wanted their child to be treated well, to be loved, to be respected, to be cherished.’

If you’ve passed the school gates within which some child was sitting for an examination, you might notice anxious parents hovering outside. They worry. They pray, some of them at least. They hope for the best. They utter words of encouragement as their children walk in. They bless them. When they come out, they try to read the eyes of their children. They try to get a sense of whether the children are thrilled or distraught or feel something between these extremes. It is second nature for a parent to quickly wear the face appropriate to the feelings apparent on a child’s face. They may get it wrong, of course. Sometimes even if they get it right, a child, a child might not appreciate the instinctive response of a parent. 

One thing is clear. Most parents wish nothing less than the best for their children. We all know this. A few minutes of reflections on one’s parents, even if we are displeased with them for whatever reason at the particular moment, is all it takes to realize that we are not appreciative enough.

We all know that they played and still play (as the case may be) an important role in our lives. However, we don’t advertise the fact. Well, we might acknowledge, but that is rare, apart from such sentiments expressed on three-wheelers. Naturally, we see the person before us. We think of the individual who writes, talks or does something else. We think of a person who was reticent when boldness was required, bullish when reticence was called for. We notice a lot of things about people. We don’t notice the mother that was or is a part of the person’s life. 

‘Some mother’s child,’ is not something that comes easily to mind.

What if we did think ‘mother’? It’s not easy to get past an ‘awful, mean-spirited, lying, thieving no-good’ person, especially if he or she is in your face. It’s hard to see the person as a child. However if we made a habit of preambling ‘some mother’s child,’ before analysis and judgment, the engagement, even if it wasn’t genial, would at least not be caustic to the point of corrosion.’

It’s something we can do. It’s something we can repeat to one and all, especially our children. It’s not hard.

‘He/she is some mother’s child. That mother wanted the best for him/her.’

So very easy.

The particular child of the particular mother who shared the sentiments mentioned at the beginning, had this also to say: ‘Every time I look at someone I see their mother behind them, hoping against hope. And wherever there is a mother I see a child. It's a good enough circle for me. Blessed, in fact.’

Good enough circles. Yes. 

Other articles in the series 'In Passing...':  [published in the 'Daily News']  
Eyes that watch the world and cannot be forgotten   Let's start with the credits, shall we? 
The 'We' that 'I' forgot 
'Duwapang Askey,' screamed a legend, almost 40 years ago
Dances with daughters
Reflections on shameless writing

Is the old house still standing?
 Magic doesn't make its way into the classifieds

Small is beautiful and is a consolation  
Distance is a product of the will
Akalanka Athukorala, at 13+ alre
ady a hurricane hunter
Did the mountain move, and if so why?
Ever been out of Colombo?
Anya Raux educated me about Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
Wicky's Story You can always go to GOAT Mountain
Let's learn the art of embracing damage
Kandy Lake is lined with poetry
There's never a 'right moment' for love
A love note to an unknown address in Los Ange
A dusk song for Rasika
How about creating some history?
How far away are the faraway places?
There ARE good people!
Re-placing people in the story of schooldays  
When we stop, we can begin to learn
Routine and pattern can checkmate poetry

Janani Amanda Umandi threw a b'day party for her father 
Sriyani and her serendipity shop
Forget constellations and the names of oceans
Where's your 'One, Galle Face'?

Maps as wrapping paper, roads as ribbons
Yasaratne, the gentle giant of Divulgane  
Katharagama and Athara Maga
Victories are made by assists
Lost and found between weaver and weave
The Dhammapada and word-intricacies
S.A. Dissanayake taught children to walk in the clouds
White is a color we forget too often  
The most beautiful road is yet to meet a cartographer