To My Parents Who Always Worry
I come from a family of four siblings. We are four girls. This is how proudly I tell anyone who asks me about my siblings. And though my older sister and I are married, we are still considered as babies by our parents. So it is understood that is the same consideration given to my college going younger sister and the youngest ‘teenage’ sister. We are Indian citizens, born and brought up abroad. In our country though not often now, you still hear when a girl is born-Oh no! I wish I had a boy! Even though the parents who just had their baby girl are happy, either their parents or their neighbours would not be. The woes of having a baby girl would be played repeatedly.
In our society, boys are considered to be the shoulder for parents to lean on in their old age, a constant support in life. This boy, the heir would carry the family’s name to the coming generations in life. This boy would take on the responsibility and be the man of the house if anything ever happened to the head of the family. Girls were considered to be a constant worry. The protection of the girl from all bad things around her and getting her married into a respectable and loving family was the other major worry. And then there is also another part in life, the dowry system. Sometimes parents of the groom demand so much as dowry that, the bride’s parents would struggle badly just to meet the demand so that their ‘baby girl’ would have a beautiful future.
My mother, when she had my little sister, was very happy. One day at work, a colleague came up to her and was telling how bad that she has four girls. How sad it might be for her and her husband to have four girls and not even one boy? My mother told her that she was very happy, especially because her baby girl was made perfect by God. She came home and she told me this. And I ‘big girl’ that I considered myself; felt I would love to put that lady in her place. My mother said not to worry and it is no big deal. I remember telling her then that just because we four are not boys does not mean we can’t do things that boys would do.
I was proud that I could and did tell my mother that we are just like boys, except for the physical aspect. Couple of years down the lane there came a time when provoked, we three older ones stood up and tried to protect our parents from the unjustifiable harsh and insulting words of a relative. My parents were upset with the relative and even more shocked when they saw and heard us. I remember that day very well. Proud we girls were there at that time. The youngest one was at that time told to go and sit in her room with the music loud. We had to protect her too, as she was little. I guess the protective nature is innate.
I used to keep telling my parents not to worry about us girls and our futures. I have stopped doing that now. I believe that nothing I say would ever keep them from worrying about us girls. We are our parent’s four baby girls forever. We could become old and grey, but in their sight we would remain their four baby girls who always need love and protection from the ever changing world around us. I believe parents will always worry and it is only because of their love that worry is always around.
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