It’s happened again. The oldies packed up and left for the US of A early this morning to see their latest grandchild. If he weren’t the most adorable child on earth I might have resented it, but as it stands I am aching to see him myself and can’t deny them their happiness even for a fleeting second. But more than that I am astounded by the depth of despair I feel as I realise that my parents are on another continent. I moved out of home at 17 and have been independent so I’m not really one of those who needs them around for their help. But the knowledge that they were just a phone call away (in my own time zone!) was invaluable. Even at 32, I feel as sense of loss … as they say in Hindi, sar se haath uth gaya. I miss the protection that knowledge offered and it gives me a taste of what the loss of a parent will be like. Sorry to be so morbid and not to trivialise the loss of a parent, but yes, it makes me realise how much worse that will be.
Anyway, this is my darling little Baby Button, growing up so fast, so far away.
Please take a minute to soak in the cuteness that is the love of my life.
As is usual with my parents around, the chaos abounded. Suitcases weighed, packed, unpacked, redistributed, all while the kids hopped in and out of the suitcases. Sad that G’Pa-Nana were going to see Baby Button. Upset because I made the mistake of telling them when he was born, that he is their baby brother. Unable to understand why their grandparents are off to see a baby brother who rightfully should live in their home. The Brat wanted to talk to Tambi (maama) this morning and tell him what he thinks of people who make off with his siblings. With great difficulty I put off that phone call until it was morning for Tambi. The Brat is a man. Words don’t come easy to him and it’s taken me a long time to teach him to express himself. I’m angry, he whispers into the phone. I am angry with all of you. Why isn’t Button coming to India? I want him to live here. Tambi pacifies him … he’s a small boy, he can’t travel yet.. he’s coming to see his bhaiya soon… But words do nothing to heal my gentle son’s heart.
The Brat breaks my heart everyday. He’s not even laid eyes on the Button yet and he’s already so emotionally invested in him. Even when we drop by at Dipta’s, the other kids and the Bean will smile and kiss little Diti, but it is the Brat who will sit for hours and marvel over her little toes, gently stroke her soft hair and beg me to let him hold her for a while. So you can imagine the little heart overflowing with love for this brother he has so eagerly awaited. The brother that God sent us in Maami’s tummy.
G’pa got rather upset at the last minute and wanted to take them along (koff koff, the growing senile no doubt as he edges closer to 60). I even got read the riot act for not getting their passports made as yet. Excuse me? This is the conversation we need to have two hours before the flight takes off?
The problem with G’Pa is that he can’t bear to see his grandchildren upset and he can’t wait to hold his new grandson in his arms either. He doesn’t want to see pictures, he doesn’t want to hear voices on the phone. He just wants to rock his grandson to sleep in his arms and bury his face in the baby neck. I am glad I am not in his place today, missing one set as I head out to another one. On the other hand, as I pointed out to the teary old man, it’s a blessing that he has so much grandchild love to soak and revel in. And I made a mental note to get the kids’ passports done this year. Next year the oldies can make good on their threat and take the kids on a 17 hour flight. Better them than me. If I go, I’m going with the OA and getting a proper holiday, thank you.
I’ve spent a month racking my brains over the gifts for the Button. Everything you get in India is available there, and probably in a better quality. What do you send a child who has everything and better? I sent loads of hand knitted sweaters for him before he was born. And this time I sent a little silver bowl for him to have his first solid meal in. The problem with such stuff is that it is merely symbolic. He will never really know that his mad aunt spent hours looking for the perfect little silver bowl for her perfect little nephew to take his first taste of kheer. He will never know that I scoured the whole of NCR looking for the channapatna rattles and drag along toys. Perhaps they will be broken and tossed out soon as is expected with kids. But that’s fine. I want to know that my little baby held and gurgled at something I picked out for him. I want to see pictures of him in the little Fabindia shirts I picked up for him. I want to know that he smiled a toothless grin when he ate his first bite from the little bowl. And suddenly the Brat and I were holding each other and sobbing as I rocked him. I know I set out to console him but in a few minutes the both of us were inconsolable. Crying for a little baby neither of us have met, yet feel a strong pull to. This is probably what they mean by ties of blood. We fell asleep cuddling. Hopefully we’ll make our peace with this distance soon.