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Why Hope Springs Eternal For A Parent

11/06/2015 8:09 AM IST | Updated 29/08/2016 1:45 PM IST
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Mickey Mouse shaped balloons are for sale at Disneyland, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif. A major measles outbreak traced to Disneyland has brought criticism down on the small but vocal movement among parents to opt out of vaccinations for their children. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

We've all wished for things, regardless of whether or not we're believers in powers from above. Sometimes it is for material objects like a new car, a new gadget, new clothes, new jewellery or the likes. Other times, it is for intangible things like a happy and stress-free life (apparently they exist!), your kids and parents being happy and healthy and so on. The remarkable thing about wishes is that as we progress through each stage of our lives, they tend to change quite dramatically.

And it is no different when we start out on our journey into parenthood. From the very beginning, we continue to hope and wish. When the baby is in his or her mother's womb, as tiny as the nail on your pinky finger, you hope he or she blooms into a beautiful and healthy human being. When they eventually emerge into the world, you believe that nothing on this planet could make you wish for anything else, materialistic or otherwise. Ha! You wish!

"Dogged by sleepless nights, three-hourly feeds and shrieking cries at unearthly hours, you find yourself wishing and hoping again. This time for the kid to grow up a little bit."

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. This time for the kid to grow up a little bit. For them to sleep through the night. For them to consume more milk in one sitting, so that they don't get up at night. For them to start getting into a pattern that would make our lives easier.

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 too, though your partner (mostly the father of the aforementioned 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? Let's move on.

Your infant is now completely en-route to being called a toddler. He/she has started walking (in all kinds of styles) and is starting to develop a unique personality. They've also started developing some dangerous-looking teeth that they aren't afraid to use under any circumstance - they use them for defence or to attack anyone who stands in the way of an unspoken demand. They're now choosy about their food, and there are some culinary sins they do not forgive. Often kids also develop the miraculous ability to turn perfectly good and healthy baby food into a projectile weapon of sorts, leaving their parents cowering behind a cushion or towel.

"Your offspring's journey into adulthood has commenced, and with that your wishes take an additional form -- concern."

And somewhere along this phase, you cannot help but wish for the times when milk alone provided all the nourishment that they needed. Since even the most brilliant scientists are yet to discover the power of time-travel, we rest our hopes on the future when the kids will start to feed themselves and we can make sense of their mumblings. Surely that would be the perfect life?

Cometh the teenage years, and the urgency and frequency of your wishes increase manifold. Suddenly you'd wish that little angel, who would babble non-stop once upon a time, would continue talking 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 life throws at them -- academically and otherwise. You spend every waking minute hoping that they triumph over any troubles that they might find themselves in. This period is when your wishes flow like water.

Your offspring's journey into adulthood has commenced, and with that your wishes take an additional form -- concern. You hope that they find their heart's calling, and are able to make incredible strides in their career. When they embark on a successful career, you hope that they will find a suitable partner who'll be their pillar of support going forward. You find yourself wishing for them to complete the full circle and present you with darling grandkids on whom you can continue to shower your love.

"You try to hold off on the child-rearing advice, but you hope they've learned something from how you did it back in the day."

As the years go by, and you move on to your second childhood, your list of wishes starts to dwindle, but it never ceases. Your child fully grown, but you continue to wish for their good health and success in life. You try to hold off on the child-rearing advice, but you hope they've learned something from how you did it back in the day. In spite of finding some of their parenting choices "too Gen-Z" for your liking, you hope that your grandchildren 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 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.

As Stephen King once said, "Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

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