Now that my wife has become mad about MAD, for the past few weeks I am the baby sitter for Paavani for roughly 6-8 hours per week. One of the best pastimes is to take her to a park where she sits on the swing for a long time. During our recent ‘swinging’ session, a woman aged mid- to late- forties came with her toddler daughter and placed her on the neighboring swing.
As I pondered on her age and having a toddler at such an advanced age, I imagined all sorts of issues that she may have gone through to successfully deliver this toddler finally. Subconsciously, for some unknown reason, my mind had placed this toddler as her first born. So it came as a pleasant surprise when I saw a girl in early teen come to the swing and play with her younger sister.
This made some sense now. But I still wondered why there was almost a decade gap between the sisters and why the parents had not planned it properly. The bored mind keeps wandering I guess, so my mind kept running to find answers. Just then, another girl came near the swing. This girl was older than the toddler but younger than the teenager. Now it all panned out right. “Equi-gapped” three children.
The effort of bringing up a child in the modern day world is tough mainly because the families are tending to be more nuclear in nature than extended. If the families are extended, then there are more people in the household to take care of, or even be with the infants and the chore of bringing up a child doesn’t seem accentuated as compared to the mother alone (or day cares) attending to the baby as in the case of most nuclear families. With such a scenario, having 3 babies would take a toll on the mother in specific and both parents in general for almost 2-3 decades. With one toddler, it has been years since we went to a movie theater and we have cut down on vacations to a trickle. With a children every once in 3 years, parents have to do so many sacrifices till the children are on their own. Much of prime life would be done with by then!
I remember telling many folks that I am just drifting along on the River of Life, going where it takes me and making occasional minor adjustments with no major goals or targeted achievements. With one child, this river has suddenly become swift; and it is as if I am river rafting now – barely able to be aboard the raft with waves crashing all over. There is hardly enough time in the day to work, to sleep, to relax, to play. The To-Dos keep growing bigger and bigger. And it will become hectic and hectic, what with the daughter’s extra-curricular classes (yet to enroll!) and school and what-not. I am beginning to feel the middle-aged time-crunch.
How ironical it sounds. I am in the park on a weekday at dusk swinging my child on the swing and playing with her, and yet I feel I am time-crunched.