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My Birthdays

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A family is a unit. It’s an all encompassing medium which moulds, breeds and nurtures us into a being which we are today. The healthy development of family bond is vital to the well being of community and nation as well.

As a child, our parents are world to us. Saying so, there are about more than million kids who experience parental divorce each year, and infidelity is among the top factors associated with divorce. A child’s understanding of adult issues is very limited. Children at their tender age are incapable of comprehending the relationship dynamics. When a parent cheats on his or her spouse, a child feels as though cheated on and betrayed as well. Infidelity affects them deeply.

The emotional impact is deeper and has long- lasting impression. They begin to question the very foundation of their own relationships. The vicious cycle of shock, anger, anxiety, confusion, shame and then helplessness reruns again and again. The influence is such that the child afflicted, faces issues regarding trust, honesty and faith in future relationships all through out life mostly.

I present below a simple short story to illustrate how a child feels with this unexpected violation when being faced by parental infidelity, which was written by me few months back for an organisation devoted to social justice and welfare of community in large. The language is kept simple for the very fact that it delivers the internal conflict and dilemma of the affected child pertinently. The purpose of sharing this is to feel hard, feel deep and ask,

How infidelity can affect a child’s life?

Does it leave scars that lasts a lifetime?

Regardless, they are clearly impacted,
What if we ask children what they think about their parent’s infidelity?

“My Birthdays”

Tomorrow I am going to be twelve. My birthdays were always special. Something magical about it you know! For days ahead I would plan my dress, theme and flavour of the cake, list of my close girlies, whom I would call and invite personally. 

How I loved getting wished in the early morning wee hours. Papa would give me a warm hug and sing,
‘Happy Birthday to you….Happy Birthday to my Princess’ quite gleefully and then Maa(Mom) would stealthily place that gift under my blanket which I would uncover in a while. It used to be such a surprise! I love surprises.

Surprise it was. But this time, I just don’t want this one. I never thought that my life will change like this drastically forever. It’s been seven months since they don’t talk to each other properly except few necessities and unpleasant exchanges. We don’t eat together anymore. She watches her TV in bedroom and he, in the living area. There’s no family movie time anymore. Sometimes, he comes very late. Earlier he never did that.
I hear the bitter words and see the enraged expressions from distant. She cries and seems not at ease. Papa seems unpeaceful too. To tell you the truth, I too have lost my peace.

They think I don’t understand a word as i am a kid. I am just twelve. So, they give me all silly flimsy reasons. They used to tell me grown-up people fight and then make-up. But they never do that anymore. I know they don’t love each other anymore. Maybe they have moved apart. But Mom used to say
‘We are a family and that love is a thread which keeps us knitted and bonded together. And being a family, we stand for each other up until the last day.’
So what is it that changed everything?
Almost everything!
What happened?

I know what happened. I heard everything. He loves someone else.
Does that mean he don’t love us anymore?
Is he going to leave us then?
But I love both of them. I want both -Maa and Papa. We are a family – Maa, Papa and Anu.
What was my fault? I just want to have the same old family back where we loved each other deeply and ate, slept and watched TV together. I used to feel so protected and intact.
Now I feel hurt, insecure and vulnerable. You know, sometimes I feel so ashamed and embarrassed too to say the least. I used to think that when people love each other, they don’t break each other’s trust. They care for each other. They are committed to each other.
But Now I question,
‘Does LOVE even exist?’

He was my superhero.
Why he did that to me?
Maybe men are like this. If Papa can do that to us, any other man can. I will never trust a man anymore. I don’t want to marry when I grow up, not even a Prince Charming.
What if?

I know my family is broken and I have to live with this secret eternally, buried safely dearly inside my heart. I don’t know if I will ever feel secure again. Time might heal the wound but the scar will remain forever; ingrained.
It will remind me not to trust someone, not even a close one. It will torment me not to love someone ever deeply.
Today, I am sad.
I am angry and confused too.
In a moment I lost my childhood and with that my faith in relationships shattered. I feel unsafe and betrayed.

Anyhow I don’t wait for them anymore. I just pray if that wretched day could be skipped, or missed maybe!
Honestly sometimes I question,
“Why even I was born?”
“My Birthdays”
…………….will never be the same again.