The other day, I had been to my mom’s place. As the kids were sleeping, I was going through the various photo albums that my mom had stored. I always love going through the old pictures, they bring back so many memories. My parents wedding albums, my 1st birthday and my younger brother’s birthday albums are my all time favourites. This time I also found my school pictures.
I came across this photo of me dressed as a butterfly. It was my first fancy dress competition in school. I was in grade 1. We had started doing the preparations days before. One of my cousins had painted the chart paper, my dad had cut the shape of the butterfly and mom had done the remaining finishing touches including the crown.
I remember that day very clearly even today including the lines that I had recited along with the actions that I had done.
I had come hopping on the stage and said,
“I am a butterfly,
I hop from flower to flower sucking nectar.
I am colourful and delicate
If you try to catch me, I fly away!”
And then I was supposed to exit by hopping again, but I had forgotten to do that and I just walked off the stage.
Eventually, the competition was over and the results were announced. To my surprise, I came 2nd. All of us including my class teacher were very happy! Back then, these competitions were not compulsory and I was the only one who had participated from my class. So, I was the pride of the entire class! The first prize was given to a girl dressed as a mermaid. I do not remember her, but I think she was a year senior.
My parents were ecstatic too. They never pressured me to win, they would just encourage me to do my best.
The euphoria of winning the second prize lasted really long, so much so that the fancy dress competition for the next year was due. And this time too, I wanted to be a butterfly. But my parents insisted on trying something new. They were quite creative and enthusiastic. So they made me a match box. But I did not get any prize for that. I was heart broken.
And the girl who won first prize was the same girl who had won last time. This time too she was a mermaid!
As soon as I reached home, the water works started. I told my mom that if I would have become a butterfly I would have won too! My mom was explaining to me that participating in something is equally important, winning does not matter always. But my innocent heart did not understand all that. I was stuck with the thoughts of the butterfly and the prize it got me.
Eventually, I grew out of it. And the next year, I became ‘Mother India’. This time too, I did not get any prize, and that same girl became the same mermaid again and won the second prize! But, I did not cry for not winning. In fact the butterfly in me was doing a happy dance that atleast I participated in the competition and did something new.
My parents were indeed proud of me.
In a matter of three years, I grew up by leaps and bounds. Although its been years since then, even today the butterfly in me comes out and flutters it’s wings when I’m with my sons!
Author’s note : This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.