An open letter from a mother to her daughter advising her to consider motherhood at the right time published by a leading Indian paper has been thrashed as regressive by my peers. When I read this article aloud to my mother, she nodded her head sagely and said, “My regards to that lady for writing this. You, younger generation, seem to forget what family is about and the importance of having a child to make that unit complete.”
I argued and tried to get her to understand…why bring another life on an increasingly violent and vile planet? ….cost of living….security….will I know this new being will take care of me when I’m infirm and invalid (her favourite reasoning being: look at you and the amount of care you give. who will take care of you)……why not adoption instead of giving birth…and so on which covered the entire gamut of arguments that my peers use.
Some time later, my grandfather, 92 and going strong, chimes in. What does it matter? In the end, she needs to be happy.
He goes on: “I was raised by my grandmother as my own mother neglected me. I was seven when I realised the immense love she gave me and how much she sacrificed for my well being.
I grew up to become a farmer and tried to help all those around me.
As I grew older I realised there is not much that we need to be happy. Money buys me goods but love buys me life.
I have lived so long because I’m surrounded by people who love me and hold me in great esteem.
I realised that my wants were minimal: 2 meals a day, my health and clothes to cover myself.
I get this from my friends, I get this from my family. And I cannot be more fortunate.
What more do I need.
I’m no longer greedy to eat more, be more or see more.
I do not have to justify my existence. I do not have to live up to expectations. I’m constantly happy with the little things that are given me.
This is what life is.
I’m happy to be able to hear, see and understand. I’m happy I’m still healthy. I’m happy I recognise those around to appreciate what they give.
After all my child, we are, but, human.”