Fish Food!

Dressed in a sharp suit, a red tie and a white shirt, the new school principal is not among those that can go unnoticed. He is a big guy with a radiant smile and is very personable to all the students and parents alike.

“What do you mean you don’t know where the restrooms are??” I yelled, as my daughter refused to take her younger sister to the restrooms during the school play. I shoved the girls and ordered for them to march as we headed towards the restrooms. Before you judge me please let me add that I was exhausted after a long day. As we turned round the corner of the auditorium, the new principal was standing there. I would have never guessed this about myself — I smiled brightly as I saw him! I smiled so… very brightly, you would think I was watching an awe-inspiring sunset!! He smiled back and suddenly and just like that my exhaustion just melted away.

I stood placidly outside the restroom waiting for the girls to emerge. My face was softer and the fact that our seat numbers in the theatre was messed up didn’t bother me as much. My daughter looked quizzically at my smiling expression. I leaned into her and whispered, “ That principal, he’s hot! Can you get into trouble so I can meet him in person?”

“Mommy!!!” she groaned! With her index finger waving a no-no at me. I rejoiced at her reaction. Yes! I love annoying those I love!!! But this interaction like several others is the hallmark of my relationship with my children, enabling us to share stuff that I would never dare to share with my own parents!

Just as simply and casually, we discussed death one evening.

“Mommy would you like to be buried or cremated?” they asked innocently. “Burn me and throw my ashes into the waters!” I replied throwing my right arm into the air dramatically like an actress. “ Do you mean the ocean or the rivers, which one would you prefer?” my little one asked. Oh! just flush me down the toilet”, I said only half joking. “I would never do that,” she said quickly.

The conversation stopped at that as we listened to a favorite song on the Radio, each one of us a bit lost in our own little world.

“How about I put your ashes in my fishing bowl?” my little one questioned me again. I could not contain myself. I laughed aloud imagining this unusual plan taking shape. Suddenly the thought of being contained in a small bowl gave me a deep sense of safety that I have always desired. “Sure! I love the idea. In fact you guys should split my ashes and both of you can feed your fish a little bit of me every-time” I suggested still delighted by the fact that I would be somehow close to my children even after dying. I made a fish face and whispered their names in a fishy voice that sent ripples of laughter through the room. “Guess you will be pushing sea-weed instead of daisies”, concluded my older one and we rolled in laughter once again.

Rightly or not, there are few barriers in this relationship! Rightly or not I am hated as much as I am loved, laughed at as much as I’m cherished, a confidant as much as a parent! Rightly or not I love this ease in our relationship and the pleasure of laughing, even if it’s just at ourselves!

Originally published at on November 26, 2014.

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