A Lion Heart

A Lion Heart was originally written for Baby Talk! on 22nd May’12

Yesterday I took V for his vaccination where we were the 3rd patient. The first was a 2.5 month old baby who looked barely a month old. Her mother explained he was born a month premature by c-section. As the doc prepared to prick him he called for the father. The mother walked away and came and stood before us. The poor boy wailed and wailed. And what a frail voice it was!! The mother winced, closed her eyes and shook her head. While my mother patted her hand, I told her “It’s a prick that he needs. It’s a pain that’ll go away, but now it’s good for him!” What I didn’t tell her is that she has to be strong, for there will be many more situations when she’ll need a strong heart, a lion’s heart…

…that’s what a mother needs. She needs to have a lion’s heart to be strong, to face the fiercest trauma and come out of it. To be able to see one’s child in trouble and pain. To be strong enough to bring her or him out of it. To be a pillar of strength and stand up for her and him. To shield one’s child from all known sources of threat. To protect, defend and heal. A mother needs to do all this and more…

As I see my 25 year old brother battle his pains, I also see my mother who has weathered a severe burns accident launch a fresh war again. 16 years back, in a fire accident at home my mother was left with 25% burns and two broken ankles that were never treated. She walks with a limp and yes, every step even till date is extremely painful. We have seen her throw her crutches and walk by herself. We have seen battle her pains and emerge a winner. For me, she is the epitome of how much the human body can endure. But today when she sees her son battling pain, she breaks down. For the first one week after his accident she refused to feed my brother because she was scared she would hurt him. She would walk out of the room the moment the docs would enter. While he wanted to show off that he could now move from the bed to the stretcher for his bed to be made, my mother would scamper out of the room. Every child, every adult calls out for his / her mother in a moment of pain and despair. It’s taking Maa a lot of effort to overcome her emotions and stand by her son.

I can’t blame her! And neither can I sermonise her. She tells me its easier to say, “Be strong”. To ask another mother to be strong. Her pain is different from mine, I am not in her place…I don’t understand. But somewhere I do understand. And so I ask for strength. I ask God to give me the fortitude to bear the pains that V would face in life. As a mother I hope and pray that V suffers no pain and hardship in life. But then that’s really an artificial life, isn’t it? Whatever maybe stored for V in his life I hope he faces it with courage and fortitude. And with him I hope I have the resources too support him and his choices, a strength to stand by him always or bear the pains that my boy may have to face.

A lion’s heart…that’s what I want.


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