This is something I picked from the past, the year when my son turned eighteen and I am proud of the way he chose to celebrate his coming of age.
His birthday was on a Saturday, and disappointingly for him a holiday. So apart from the usual phone calls from relatives and friends and meeting a few guys at his coaching class, the celebrations were postponed to a later working day. The kids nowadays don’t waste their holidays you know; they train for TOEFL, they learn French, German or Spanish or at least practice their music at the weekends. College seems to be the place they hold celebrations at (I wonder where they do their studies)…And all this weekend business is absolutely their choice, no parental pressure making decisions here. So we just had a quiet family dinner, complete with the grandparents, celebrating another suffrage in the family.
The 4th of February was the first working day after that. He had told us that a coaching class after college hours that would delay him and when he dropped in at past 6 in the evening he was glowing with pride. He is normally a very soft spoken person, so I was amazed at the way he raised his voice to call me right from the gate.
“Amma! Do you know what happened today? I donated blood!”
His voice trembled with a sense of achievement I felt a shot of pride run through me which turned immediately to concern. I volleyed a whole lot of questions at him, ‘when you did it, for whom was it given, where did you go, who called you, did you eat well before that…” My husband who had followed me out to the verandah hearing the commotion, took him up from there, and asked a lot of fatherly questions till the poor guy held up his hands and said,
“See, last week too somebody needed blood and a couple of us from our class had gone to the hospital but they didn’t accept our blood saying that we weren’t old enough. I pleaded with them saying my 18th birthday is next week but they didn’t oblige…Now they can’t say no to me at least…”, the satisfaction in his voice was evident.
I was amazed to hear from my son about the number of kids in his class who were waiting for their eighteenth birthday to happen to donate blood. And all of them know their blood group and Rh factor perfectly well. And we call this generation irresponsible? We think they are indifferent citizens? Not any more and not at all…
I have lost count of the number of times I have donated blood and the persons I have done it for, it has always been a matter of habit for me every couple of months, but when I see my child adopting my sentiments, I feel a sense of satisfaction that is much more than what his good report cards have so far brought me.
It is a matter of pride to me that my son is a responsible citizen!
Suneetha is a writer by passion, profession and hobby. She writes fiction in English, poetry in her native tongue Malayalam and journalistic features in both. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org