“Why don’t you say anything to her?” “Why don’t you get angry with her?” My husband who was infuriated with our twelve years old daughter asked me the other day. He was somewhat right in being enraged with our super stubborn, strong willed, usually unyielding first born, who he loves and pampers to the core, but whose not so infrequent insubordination, as frequently, he can’t tolerate.
He asked me the question and it got me thinking that why I really don’t get angry with my beautiful bullhead. I know she is difficult and stubborn, she doesn’t agree much with our suggestions or viewpoints, has to differ with and resist all our advice and instructions, has a logic for all her contradictory opinions and actions and goes to all lengths to put across her arguments, but still I don’t get enraged by her mostly uncompromising conduct.
Because I know that my unruly, almost teenager is just like me. I too have always been known as stubborn, strong willed, obstinate, unyielding and all the same meaning words and I am today what I am because I never did anything that my mind didn’t approve of and had to do because people around me wanted me to do it.
I was called a rebel in my own young years and the rebel became the first girl in the ultra conservative clan to go out of our small town and study, get a professional masters degree, make a well paying career, earn own living and become independent. The rebel married the out of religion love of her life and has been happily married and well cherished since then.
I am not a self obsessed narcissist but I am proud of the way my life turned out to be and the fact that it happened because I was strong headed and believed in and stood by my own convictions. That did get me all the labels initially but now everyone I know is happy for me.
But the same important people who are happy with the outcome of my life are now concerned about the unconventional conduct of my junior self, my girl, who has to challenge every convention and custom.
Her grandmother and my mother is mostly miffed with her because she doesn’t accept any age old beliefs without a reason. I can understand my mother’s displeasure because I too was a cause of similar offense not too long ago. I can also hear her sometimes silent, sometimes spoken question that why I don’t get mad at her.
Again I have the same answer. Because she is like me so I can understand her inability to accept and follow anything she doesn’t understand and believe in. I know that she has a thinking brain which ponders over everything and comes up with original thoughts that hold her conviction and when she has a conviction she can’t be deterred.
I never did and still don’t believe in logic less conventions and stereotypes. I too challenged the dogmatic ideologies. I questioned the reason and relevance of whatever I was told to do and not do. “Why can boys do this and I can’t?” “Why do we pray to a thousand Gods?” “Why can’t I take care of my parents when I grow up?” “Why do girls have to go away from their family after marriage?”
Being born in a very conservative family and questioning everything the way I did, I did receive my share of criticism at my age but education helped me forge ahead and leave behind all that I never understood or believed in. My stubbornness in marrying the man I chose to marry against everyone’s pleasure was due to the reason that I found him to be someone who would not expect me to be someone I wasn’t willing to become.
I was an unorthodox, unconventional, radical, revolutionary thinker and this identity was important to my being and I am still not different.
And now I am also a blessed mother of a twelve years old bright, beautiful, intelligent and abundantly unorthodox, unconventional and original thinking girl, so how do I get angry with her. If I am anything, I am happy for her.
I don’t really applaud her misdoings for any encouragement is as useless as her discouragement and I personally feel resistance is fuel for thinking. Support makes the thinkers complacent. So I don’t support her but I don’t get upset with her either.
Being a mother of an independent, intelligent, inquisitive, strong-headed child is not easy. I am equally a target of her questions, annoyance, discontentment and displeasure as she doesn’t know I am like her too. For her I am not too old fashioned but still not as novel as her, so I do get my share of “You don’t know anything.”
But I still don’t get angry with her because though she is like me but she has to outgrow me as well and which she is doing already. She was probably born like me but she has to learn her own unique lessons, evolve, become much better than me and her own self and find her own path and journey.
So when she challenges my viewpoint too and offers her own piece of mind I don’t get offended, I rather feel pride becoming a lump in my throat which I swallow with the tiny bit of anger I too feel at times. After all I too am a humble human.
But I honestly don’t get enraged with my precious one because along with a hard, thinking head she also has a soft heart which melts and yields when she sees that hurt look on my face and hears a motherly emotional appeal that I occasionally make to tell her to agree to something to make peace at home with the people who love her equally but do not empathize with her unconventional ways and behavior at some occasions.
Finally, I don’t get mad at her because I can empathize and understand how hard it is be an unconventional thinker. Those who believe easily have, however flimsy and fake, but a footing under their feet and those who question have to create their own solid bedrock which when formed gives a new way of life to the world.
So rather than being angry with her I find myself sympathizing with her because I know it’s a lonely journey she has undertaken just like her mother and I so wish that she grows up into a mature girl real fast and we can find our allies in each other.
I also so wish that everyone would see her with my eyes and mind and could accept her uniqueness as I do. She is her mother’s pride because she is the embodiment of all that her mother could be and couldn’t be because she is not alone. She has herself and her mother who is rooting for her, always.