Li'l A is a toddler crawling through one of those giant mall play tubes. He doesn't walk yet, and he seems to be having a good time. I used to call him "Aachu" back then--a mispronunciation of his name and also a mispronunciation of the Telugu word for love "Aasa." Kind of like how "Holla" is neither "holler" nor "hola"--but actively alludes to both. But, I digress.
It starts to storm, getting both late and dark at the same time; I start to call Aachu, but he doesn't show and I'm immediately scared and frantic. Then in that weird third-person narrativity of dreams, I can see him inside the tube and realize that he's crawling away from the sound of my voice as fast as he can. And not merely to be naughty or prolong playtime but because my voice terrifies him. This was at a time when his GERD-y refusals to eat and my Indian mom instincts to overfeed as much as/whenever possible were at the point of worst conflict.
I cannot begin to describe how sad and disappointing it was to see his fear. And I cannot begin to quantify how much I backed away from my pig-headedness about eating right away.
I think I remembered my dream because I heard Amy Chua (the infamous tiger mom) on the radio this morning and she described how her daughter would yell that she hated her. I'll admit to being the mom who expects all of Li'l A's grades to be As, to asking what happened to the missing two points on a quiz that garnered 98/100.
But I wouldn't be able to deal with my kids not loving me.