I’m ready for it.
I’m no longer batting it away.
I’m an Amma with a capital “a.” I am. I may not fully understand the weight of that word right now. But, I am here to embrace that word, that title, and walk around with my new bags which will soon become dented, tattered, borrowed-to-never-return, zippers broken, handle held with duct tape. Just like the India bags that sit in my parents garage.
Yesterday, at a social gathering, some other person was looking after Toor Dal (the affectionate nickname for my child) while I quickly scarfed down the Indian food, keeping tabs on what I could eat and what I shouldn’t eat (Fried pakoras is a “no no”? Come on!). At the same time, I kept an eye on TD while she lay in the arms of another woman, on the sofa across the room. The woman was gazing in TD’s eyes, moving her lips as if conversing with my 2month old. I felt satisfied with her level of caretaking for TD that I went back to eating and chatting with the various Aunties and Uncles and their off-spring.
I look up again, and the woman and TD are no longer on the sofa. I scan the room and can’t see them. I look at my mom who is in a deep conversation. Not trying to freak out, I calmly put my styrofoam plate down when a hand massages my back. A woman’s voice says, “Your bundle of joy is being passed around.” I turn around and see that TD is in the arms of another woman–a young, mid to late thirties woman. I laugh trying not to show my fear that was starting to creep into my body a few second ago.
I get up to get water and throw away my plate as my hunger has now subsided. I want TD back in my arms. It dawned on me that if it is this hard now, my attachment will only get deeper, and she will eventually be flying across country without my eyes on her. So, I drink my water, acknowledge the young woman holding her, and go talk another group of individuals.
The young woman goes into the back room with TD. The residual fear that I had put aside is now back. “Where did TD go?,” I ask out loud. My observant friend says, “She went to the back room.” The layout of the club house didn’t allow easy viewable access to the back room. I walk to the back room a few minutes later. There is my mom standing next to the seated young woman who is still holding TD. TD is fast asleep. My mom looks uncomfortable. The young woman makes eye contact with me and went back to looking at TD. The look I got from the young woman clearly indicated 1) I have no clue who the hell you are and 2) do not take this child away from me.
“I can’t believe TD is still asleep,” I remark to the young woman, “I guess us keeping her basinette in the area of the house with the most foot traffic is good.” This should address concern #1. I am TD’s amma.
She doesn’t acknowledge me with a smile. Instead, she looks at me with a scowl on her face.
Something is off. Concern #2 is going to be harder to deal with. Part of me wants to rip TD out of her arms. Part of me is freaked out with the prospect that the young woman is going to do something to TD.
After a minute of awkward chit chat between my mom and I, trying to include young woman, I conclude that said young woman was a harm to my child. The Amma Superhero almost came out but the young woman’s mom came in the nick of time. “We have to go home.” The young woman pouts, “Really? I don’t want to go!”
After pouting for a few minutes, she finally hands TD to me.
In those moments, I became an Amma. Worried, tense, fearful, cautious, unattached, attached, loving, willful, ready.
Welcome to Ammahood.
I’m an Amma.