I visit my friend and she’s at the table,
Feeding her son who is perfectly able,
To eat on his own. He’s almost a teen!
I wonder why it is that she just can’t see.
With a spoon in her hand and love in her heart,
This is her way of bringing him up.
He comes home from work and she brings him water.
It’s something she won’t do for any of her daughters.
Is this the way it should be, or is it a problem?
Is she raising a son who is likely to give trouble?
Will her son only see love when it comes with food,
Food that needs to be served in the way that she used to do?
Is this love, or is it a need for control?
A way to keep hold when she should let go?
We have to change the woman to change the man,
Before she can raise him with the spoon in her hand.
Teach her that love is letting go,
To have no need to control through very fixed gender roles.
You need to change, young woman, if you’ve married a man,
Who wants you to hold the spoon in your hand.
Teach him love that is given free of control,
So he learns to be free even if his Mom can’t let go.
I’ve witnessed a couple of mothers spoon-feeding (in a literal sense) grown-up boys – one who was a teen and another who was spoon-fed right up to the day he got married. And I decided to write a poem that explores spoon-feeding in the literal and figurative sense.
And to get people thinking about the kind of mothering that makes grown men unable to stand their ground, and stop their mothers from doing things that have an adverse impact of their wives and children. Men who let their parents do wrong, out of respect and regard for them. One of the reasons for families breaking-up is interference from in-laws (on both sides). I write here about just one aspect of this, one side.
I don’t know the answers. What is correct according to a families customs, and what constitutes figurative ‘spoon-feeding’ might be different for different cultures, and different lifestyles here in India. I would just like this poem to get people to examine their customs and ideas and see if they prepare their children for the life of today.
This is a piece of fiction, crafted to express some ideas. It doesn’t represent anyone I know or any particular family I’ve encountered.
The one who wields the belan often rules the home.
PS : The belan is the roller, used to make chapattis (flat, unleavened bread).