Of Motherhood and Google
“Weeee…” you squeal in delight, as we ride the choo-choo train in the park for the third time that evening. Your tiny hands turn around and around the steering wheel. Your little mind brims over with thrill, laced with threads of fear in the illusion of being in command of the toy train. Your cherubic face glows; cheeks tinge a shade of blush as the cool evening breeze caresses them. Your eyes sparkle a carefree glint. You do not want the ride to end. I sit beside you, and I soak in every moment. There is a deluge of happiness. I do not want that ride to end either. I know you are safe. There are no bumps on this road.
I am a force in your life, and you look up to me. You are just three years old. Your tiny soul trusts no other. A new life in this bustling world, you are curious of its ways. Every morn you wake up with wonder. Where are the ants marching to, you ask and why does our dog not have to wear underwear? Did someone eat a slice of the moon? Could Poise pads stop bathroom leaks? Your big eyes gaze at me, their twinkle intense with determination, to seek answers. Your thirst for knowledge finds the deep sea in me. “Mommy, you know everything,” you say.
That was years ago. Back then I was your Alexa, your Siri and Google.
“Ready to go, Mom?” you ask, as your slender hands rest on the steering wheel of our five-seater SUV. Again, your mind brims over with thrill. If there are threads of fear, you do not show it. This is no illusion. You are in charge. Your face, youthful, reflects confidence. Your eyes gleam a carefree teenage sparkle. I sit beside you in the passenger seat. Crow’s feet that have just begun to mark my face, reflect worry. Soon, you will be on your own, and I do not know how the path you choose will be. What I do know with certainty is that there will be bumps on that road.
I am no longer the person you come to when your curiosity is piqued. You are seventeen years old, and you have your own smartphone. I am not your Alexa or Siri. I cannot compete with Google. Most days I am just Mom who nags you to get things done. Some days I am Mom who does not know anything. Do you still look up to me? I wonder as you turn on the ignition.
Google has robbed me of a few cherishable moments. The other day you draped the beautiful gold and blue saree by yourself. I wanted to be the one to teach you the nuances of pleating and folding in six yards of silken fabric. “You were busy Mom, so I just googled it,” you said. Or the time you made ‘Mutter Paneer’ by yourself. I thought you would do it the way I have been doing it, the way my mom has taught me to do it, the way that has been the tradition of our family. You chose a veganized version from ‘Vegan Richa’ instead.
We are on the way to the grocery store today, a route that is so familiar to me. I ask you to stop at the stop sign that looms out of nowhere ahead. “I know what a stop sign is!” you yell. I am hurt. Just then, the Carolina skies swell up. There is a sudden downpour of rain.
“Mom, where is the switch for the wipers?” you ask frantic, fumbling around.
“Google it,” part of me wants to say. Yet, you and I both know that would be the worst thing to do. The other part of me perks up. You need me, still. I lean over and turn on the switch.
You have just completed your maiden journey as the driver. You have done very well. As we unload the bags of bags, you seem pensive.
“Mom,” you ask me softly “How did you know Dad was the one?”
Now that was one question that Google could not answer. We proceed to converse about matters that belong to the realm of the heart, which terrain can be devious and baffling to anyone, including technology. We talk about arranged marriages and relationships. You listen to me, intrigued.
I light up. I am still a force in your life.
Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Vidya Murlidhar now lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband, children, father-in-law and puppy. Her writings carry the flavor of her homeland and have appeared in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’, ‘Life Positive’ and ‘Perfection pending.’ She is also the author of a children”s book ‘ The Adventures of Grandpa and Ray.’ You can find her musings on my blog ‘Mommyhooddiary.wordpress.com’