• who are you

    Recently my 5 year old has taken to asking this question, A Lot!

    It started one day, randomly and suddenly, as
    most things happen in our house.

    At first I figured it to be an easy one. “I’m your mama”! I replied with confidence. But his expectant face fell. “I know you are my mama, but who ARE you?!” He asked again, his eyes questioning.

    This is interesting, I thought. He sees me as an ‘individual’, beyond our relationship.
    “I Am Nayab”, I replied, feeling a sense of pride at raising this insightful boy.

    My answer however, didn’t meet his expectation. “But Nayab is your name,Mama. Who are you, Really?!” He asked again, a slight impatience creeping in his voice.

    Oh Dear! This wasn’t going to be as simple as I thought, is it?! Five minutes ago, when I sat down with my morning tea, I didn’t realise I’d soon be digging deep into my soul, trying to to find “myself”!

    As I desperately tried to keep my biscuit from falling in the tea, I decided to play the mommy card, “No Tea, No Talk” and escaped for the moment.

    Soon after, I got busy with my day and forgot about the question. As expected, he didn’t! So the next chance he got, he asked again, “Who are you mama?!”

    And so it began. A seemingly endless list of all the things I thought I could be. From my religion to my profession. From race to ethnicity. From gender to genes. Answer after answer after answer. None, unfortunately, to his satisfaction.

    Today while he was at kinder, I chanced upon a strange movie called “The little Prince”. In the story, the prince meets a pilot stranded on a desert and asks him to draw a sheep for him on a piece of paper. The Pilot draws one, but the prince finds it too big. The pilot tries again, the prince thinks it too loud. Again and again the pilot draws, but every time, the little prince is left disappointed. Until, the pilot stops drawing the sheep, and draws a box instead. “The sheep you want is inside this box” he tells the prince!

    And so it was!

    The prince was ecstatic.

    This was EXACTLY the sheep he wanted.

    On the way back from kinder, as our usual conversation died down, my son asked me his favourite question again.

    “Who are you mama?“
    To which I replied,
    “Who am I Beta?”

    In the reviewer mirror, I saw his little face break into a big smile!
    He thought for a moment before he exclaimed.
    “You are a BALLOON! A big fat hot air balloon!”

    So..... that’s who I was.
    Well, for that moment at least.

    Later in the day, as he played with his cars, I was the giant metal bridge. Moments later, when his cars crashed, I was the loud red fire engine.

    It turns out, In the mind of my 5 year old, I was not limited to a set of definitions. Quite contrary, to how I view myself.

    Who am I you ask?
    I am a sheep in the box.
    Anything and Everything
    Something and Nothing.
    Exactly who I want to be.
    Just when I want it.

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