Little Kay was sad. After returning from school, she quietly changed her clothes, grabbed a glass of milk and some cookies, and went to sit on the windowsill in her parents’ room. She loved to sit here. It gave her peace. She sat there drinking milk and munching on her favourite cookies, while she waited for her mother to come home.
When Antara came home, she found her precious daughter Kay, sitting on her favourite window sill, looking outside while tears rolled down her cheeks. Alarmed, Antara rushed to her daughter to check if she was hurt. Seeing her mother, Kay started crying loudly.
“What happened, sweetie? Are you hurt? Is it paining somewhere?” she asked. Shaking her head, Kay kept crying. “Darling, you need to stop crying and tell me what happened!”
“I…I..tried for the e-extempore c-club b-but everyone l-aughed at m-m-me!” wailed Kay. Antara’s heart broke into a million pieces hearing her daughter talk of failure. She knew this was just the beginning. Life will bring more failures and her daughter needed to be strong in handling them. Kay was almost seven but couldn’t speak properly yet. She was on speech therapy where she was showing marvelous progress. But she still stammered when excited or upset. In her excitement for the tryouts, she must have stammered in front of the other children and what resulted was in front of her.
Taking her daughter into her lap, she rocked the child while she spoke to her softly. “And what happened to your football match?” she asked.
“We w-won that, m-mamma!” she smiled as she said, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.
“What! And you didn’t even tell me about it! I had to ask you about it, Kay! This calls for a celebration! I’ll call papa and tell him, we are going to eat Chinese tonight. Your faaavourite!” she hugged her daughter as she said.
“But, m-amma. I didn’t m-make it t-to the e-extempore club,” she whimpered.
Ignoring her daughter’s words, Antara asked, “Tell me, what else happened in school today? Did you get your Math test marks?” she asked as she continued to rock her child, holding her tight in her arms.
“F-full marks, m-mamma! R-ritesh l-lost one m-mark in a s-silly mistake!” the child replied looking up at her mother’s face joyfully.
“Look at you! A football champion AND a math whiz! Good lord, Kay, you make me so proud to be your mother!” said Antara, her eyes twinkling.
“Look Kay, you succeeded in two things today while you failed in one. Do you see how you are sad about what you couldn’t do? Who will celebrate what you could achieve, then? Will all the hard work you put in for football and math go to waste?”
Kay had stopped crying and was staring intently at her mother’s face.
“Try for the extempore club again, next year. Work harder on your speech; you are already so much better! You think today’s failure is permanent? No darling, you can win it the next time! But in the meanwhile, be happy about the good that happened to you. As you grow older, what I am saying now will make more sense to you. Remember honey, always focus on the present and the positive. As for the extempore tryouts next year, work harder and you shall get what you want!”
Antara noticed that Kay had started smiling now, the prospect of a new challenge intriguing the tiny mind.
She picked Kay up and sat on the sofa. Dialing her husband’s number, she handed the phone to Kay saying, “Tell papa about school today…”