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SMALL STEPS BIG DIFFERENCES
RADHIKA RAMBLES | 07 Aug 2009

As the child grows ....a mother goes through a sea change in feelings...A story of the journey of motherhood...

The tiny fingers gripped the huge palm tighter…The smallness of her hand was really miniscule in comparison to the huge size of her mother’s hands….warm and soothing, firm but convincing. Katie looked up to see her mother’s face …and turned her direction towards her mother’s focus of attention.

“Clear the way for the children, monsieurs et Mesdames…” boomed the voice of the burly security guard at the gate of Springdale Nursery. The first day of school and all the anxious parents had gathered at the entrance to the school. As the bell struck and signaled the time of beginning of school, the parents started waving goodbye, giving hurried last minute kisses…bear hugs, warm embraces…emotions were high and flowing.
 
Katie’s grip tightened…and she thought to herself, “No, I am not letting go of my mama’s hand…I am gonna take her inside…”…Even as she was lost in these thoughts, Rachel bent down, fixed Katies’ satchel properly, adjusted her pinafore and gave her one warm peck in her cheek… “Be a good girl…ok? Mama will be waiting for you right here…Go off you go…”
So saying and leading her into the corridor of the school, Katie stood there looking at her mother…big tears in her innocent eyes.
 
Rachel patted Katie on her head and asked her to be a brave mama’s girl…and fondly led her in….Rachel sat with Katie on her bench. The parents were allowed to be inside the classroom on the first day of school. Rachel felt that only Katie was the best dressed and best looking child in the class. How mothers can be self effacing…is a proof of nature’s way of sending across the warmth of motherhood all over.
 
After quarter of an hour the parents were asked to go out. Hardly had the parents moved out of the room, than they heard a din which they would forever cherish and remember in the years to come. The din of the two three year olds wailing at the sudden separation from their mother. The noise of wailing infants, sobbing miserably as if doomsday had come calling on them.

Feeling really proud but beleaguered, feeling satisfied but insecure, the mothers walked out of school and waited the full hour outside the school. As the bell rang after an hour signaling end of the first day of the tot’s school, the parents rushed to the gate each one trying to be the first to see their child come out. And as the tiny tots came out, tears trickling down their faces, with dirty cheeks and running noses, open shoelaces and broken buttons, satchel in place but hair all in a mess, the scene was like a battle won and the warriors being received. Each mother wrapping her baby in her arms, lifting her up, checking to see if her child was alright and then tightening her with a hug.

But Katie’s tears remained every day for the next week till she settled down in her classroom. Katie shone like a bright star and was the teacher’s favourite. A year rolled by and soon it was time for the summer holidays to begin.
 
Very soon Rachel and Katie were again at the gate but this time she was in higher nursery section. Again the small fingers gripped the huge hand tightly, the grasp tightening as the school gate neared again the reluctant goodbye, again the slow turning back of the bobbing infant head, tears welled up, with a single question on her lips...“You would come to pick me up, won't you?” The fond waving of a goodbye till the small infant figure disappeared amidst the crowd into the school rooms. The long wait till the school was over and Katie rushing into her arms.

Five years passed and Katie was now in the second grade. Yet the first day of school was always an experience of excess salt water for her tears. Katie had now grown into a cute chubby seven year old…yet her eyes were the same…welling with big tears, Katie would pause at the gate for Rachel to give her a kiss and then ask “ Would you come to pick me up?”

Rachel failed to understand how Katie never failed to cry ….on the first day…even as her grades soared and she was good at everything…Katie remained the crybaby till the seventh grade.
 
The tiny hands had now become young hands, the small baby had grown into a beautiful 16 year old. Katie had now become a lovely looking teenager and she was with Rachel in her first day of college.
 
Rachel accompanied Katie to her classroom, waited outside to see if there was anything else to be done and then it was time to say goodbye. Rachel hugged Katie and planted a warm peck on Katie’s cheek. Katie hurriedly said “Ok, mom, I am going in, bye..”

Rachel slowly walked down the steps and edged along the corridor and she got herself a lemonade and in slow steps walked out of the college gate.

This time at the gate there were tears but today they brimmed in the mother’s eyes…How times change Rachel suddenly realised that her child had grown into a confident woman….from the small fingers that clung to her hands…years back…to confident hands waving a goodbye…Rachel had traveled a long journey of motherhood….