I am told that, as an infant, I suffered from many ailments, the usual ones that some babies have to endure. My parents kept awake holding me in their arms throughout the night while I slept. Of course, I remember nothing of it. But I do recall the times during school days when I lay in bed, scared and tired and sick. I remember the worried look on my parents’ face, though I did not understand what that worry meant. I often used to wonder why people fell sick, and why it took so long to recover. And secretly I did ask myself why I was such a ‘weakling’. What I did not know at the time was that it was quite normal and that it will pass.

Today, as a Mother, for the first time I thank my stars for all the illnesses I went through, especially the ones I remember enduring. I see other Mothers running scared when their children hit their head against the table, or hurt themselves, or run a temperature. But when my son is hurt or ill and clings to me or looks into my face, his eyes scared and confused, I remember my own experiences. Today I do not have any fear when I hug him closer and whisper, “It is nothing, it happens to all children, it has happened to me too. It will pass, just do as I say.”

I believe we become grown-ups only when we realise that our afflictions aren’t the greatest tragedies in the world. When we are able to understand what our children, our parents or others dependent on us are going through, and are able to tell them with confidence in our eyes, ‘It will pass,’ that’s when we actually grow as individuals.

I see my son gain courage when he realises that his uneasiness is normal, and even his Mom has endured it in her childhood, and most importantly, that she is not afraid when he is sick.