There used to a time when my birthday excited me as much as liberating myself from the shackles of childhood to become a free grown-up.
Ironic though that now that I have touched and tasted the seriousness of adulthood, it feels liberating to go back and taste the silliness and joys of childhood once again!
When the schools close for the summer, my children begin their birthday countdown. The excitement touches crescendo as that one day in the year, when they officially become one more year older, draws to a close.
Sid tries to be discreet but Little Princess holds no inhibitions in giving us clear-cut details of her expectations, leaving us parents with the task of downsizing it to a practical alternative.
There have been celebrations, cake and joy, about a kilogram’s worth by the scales.
As they roll over to getting another year older, I dread the thoughts of a time when their books and toys will no longer litter the floor or when they will no longer find my silly cooked-up stories funny, that age and day when the ‘cricket fever’ is high and the brother and sister will chose corners to watch a game in all seriousness than knock a tennis ball with a bat pulling on their white school socks to double as gloves, the day when every task is undertaken after serious analysis done with a need for perfection and not simply for the joy of doing it — an age when they are closer to the achieving the seriousness of adulthood.
When my friend, Sindhu, suggested that we catch up along with our children at Motion Gate during holidays, I thought it was a great idea. But upon our arrival, when she suggested that we join our children on the roller coaster and shake awake the child in us, I resisted.
For the first half-hour, I volunteered to stay put on terra firma clicking pictures along with Little Princess who was restricted from certain rides due to her age and not because she was a spoilt sport.
As the afternoon waned into evening, the ebullience of happy children and their parents and my persistent friend got me to loosen up as my inhibitions did a 180 degree turn.
We were soon travelling alongside Kung Fu Panda on an important but dangerous mission, we laughed silly while we traversed the world of Smurfs and the haunted Hotel Transylvania, enjoyed the water spray between rafting through the waters (albeit for the gentle hearted), cycled on helicopters that went about in circles, mounted ourselves on animal figures on a merry-go-round and smiled at the sight of the father of a little girl shooting a video of himself mounted on a roaring cheetah that timidly swung up and down with his adorable daughter giggling in the background, among so many other fun rides that took us back in time to the joys of childhood that lay curled up in the shadows of our very serious life as an adult.
The light-hearted memories of that day were a reminder that when my children are carefree and happy in all their silliness, when they are seen zipping past in odd costumes that often consist of a favourite part of my wardrobe or the mess that the ‘fun’ leaves behind in their wake, I can occasionally loosen up and dance alongside them to the tunes of the joyous music of childhood while it lasts before we reach a day and age when they have become serious grown-ups and I am left with the many hats I wore while playing Mommy, a perfectly clean home and lots of beautiful memories.
Now this task, I wish to undertake in all seriousness, seriously!
— Pranitha Menon is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @MenonPranitha