Neel announces gleefully that he’s been selected to do a taekwondo kick on sports day and – break a tile!
‘Yippee,’ goes Niks.
‘Yipeee,’ I add, ‘I’m so so proud of you! Listen for the loudest clapping! It’ll be me!’
‘You’re not allowed to clap, Sir says. It will break our concentration,’ says Neel.
And then my mom’s mind starts ticking.... oh my god, he’s going to break his concentration. Oh my double god – he’s going to break a tile. Oh my god, times three - What if he breaks his foot? He’s already broken an arm, a finger...What kind of inconsiderates would make an 8 year old break a tile? Should I give him socks or shoes or a football boot with spikes? Oh my god, he’s going to break his whole leg! Can't they just make him kick tissue paper? Why a tile!
Now, you probably think I’m hyperventilation, unless - you’re a mom yourself. Then you’ll know. A mom’s mind is full of landmines and danger signs that exist nowhere else on the planet. She will see lurking kidnappers among sweet-sellers outside a school. She will see child molesters on a beach. She will see a road as a place of hurtling vehichles all intent on mowing down her one child.
So, Niks was invited to a party a few days back, and (para above notwithstanding) I’m not a mom who’s yet over the edge, so I was dressing him up and dressing up his gift, when my Ma (his grandma) goes: ‘Oh my god, a party! Which floor is the house on? Will they have windows? You know how naughty Niks is! And you know how children are always falling out of windows? How come you don’t even think of these dangerous things?’
And I realise, there’s only one thing that’s more swamped with tension than a mom’s mind: It’s a grandmom’s mind!