Remember those first few years of courtship. Everything was new. Every look and touch was special. Every night, you went to sleep with a small smile on your lips and in your heart – thinking about that one moment that he did something that made your heart beat just a little faster. You got out of bed each morning with a spring in your step, waiting to meet him again. What a wonderful time that was…
And then romance met the daily monotony of married life. Life changed, if not dramatically atleast noticeably. You’d wake up in the morning and rush about your morning routine, in a hurry to get a jumpstart on the day. And the last words you’d exchange at night would probably be something like “Did you remember to switch on the washing machine?” Things that were cute and attractive in the pre-marriage days now became irritants. What was admired as ‘attention to detail’ got re-branded as ‘control freak’ and what was endearing as ‘easygoing’, now translated into ‘lazy and careless.’
But life went on and you fell in love again with the person your spouse really was and not the polished, best-foot-forward side that you got to see when you were both still trying to impress each other. You began to see the romance in little, everyday moments of thoughtfulness rather than the grand gestures of the past. You looked for little ways to create small moments that would lift life beyond being ordinary. And it really helped that you still had loads of that valuable commodity – time. Evenings, weekends, holidays – they were all opportunities ensure that romance did not die an untimely death.
But then that valuable community got seriously depleted by the arrival of THE BABY. All free time is now invested in him – evenings mean trips to the park, weekends mean quality time with Ayaan and holidays (as I have previously said) shouldn’t really be called holidays any more! Romance takes yet another beating but still manages to squeeze into the cramped spaces left between work, sleep and Ayaan time. It often takes forms that non-parents might find really mundane – it could be something as seemingly ordinary as letting your spouse sleep in even when you yourself are sleep-deprived or baby-sitting a cranky toddler to allow your spouse a much-deserved break to catch the cricket match or squeeze in the much-postponed trip to the beauty parlour.
So take heart all you to-be spouses and parents, romance does stand a chance even in the face of the dual battering rams of marriage and parenthood. You just have to learn to recognise and appreciate it in its different avatars.
While on the topic of romance, I was also thinking about the romance that a mother shares with her child. This is quite different from love or bonding because these are of a more enduring and consistent nature. This romance is about brief moments of magic – they may not make your heart beat faster like the other kind of romance but they still do have the power to turn your insides to mush. Here are some illustrations of the ‘romantic’ moments that I share with Ayaan:
- When he’s resting his head on my shoulder and suddenly lifts his head, looks into my eyes and gives me a gentle, contented smile.
- When he’s busy playing with his toys and then suddenly looks up at me and says ‘Mama’ and then goes back to playing.
- When I come back home, he runs towards me with his arms outstretched – it’s a moment that’s comparable to any Bollywood movie reunion scene.
- When he’s sitting in my lap and he holds my hand and lovingly caresses it, finger by finger.
- When he’s eating something that he really loves (like plain corn flakes) and he offers me a bite.
- When he gives me a ‘flying kiss’ when I put him into his cot at night.
These are the moments that sustain me in my time away from him. Whenever I am feeling low, I only need to bring Ayaan's face to my mind, smiling with utter devotion and saying ‘Mama’…