Of heartache

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 Β 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 Β 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.


94 thoughts on “Of heartache

  1. aww!! i just know the feeling…when i am searching for the perfect set of gifts for my niece whenever my parents are leaving for the US to visit my sis.. and yeah i did buy the Channapatna toys . Staying in Bangalore helps πŸ™‚

  2. Ever since the BFF had her baby, she has been sending me pics of my little baby Chutku, every single day. Reading this post brought tears – I hate the distance. I want to be there, taking in her baby breath, kissing and cuddling her as much as I want to, staring at her antics and changing diapers!
    The Button looks precious and like well, a button. Lots of kisses and a kala teeka. My heart breaks for the Brat – I hope he gets to see his baby Button soon.

  3. All what u describe is too familiar and close to the heart. Makes me hurt more than ever.

    I used to be like the brat ..at a very small age wanting to hold babies and admiring every tiny part of them from the pink finger to the tender knees to the beautiful hair to the tiny feet. My ma used to say.. β€œnever want something too badly and desperately. U may not get it.” It took me so many years to realize that she mabbe right. . …..not saying this in a way that is bad for the brat…sayin it coz I care for him.

    Wish the Mad family a Happy Tamil New Year!

  4. Awww first off Baby Button is soo cute!
    And ….this post broke my heart..made me cry so much..yeah yeah its the hormones too..but..I know what you are feeling babe..n my heart goes out to the brat..sigh,hate the distance…off to cry some more..

  5. Oh my God..he is sooo cute really..I would feel the same if I were you…so atleast this should motivate you to make a trip to the US land soon:))

    Heres wishing you get to see asap ok:) Make a petition to Thambi to bring the baby soon…
    -Yeah the same old Bhavani:)

    • You know something? I have deep deep respect for you.
      You believed in something, you stood up for it, you faced the fire and you’re back here, cheerful and warm. You have guts. And a good heart. I may not agree with you in the years to come… but I will never forget this show of spirit and strength.
      God bless. and yeah.. lets sign that petition πŸ™‚

  6. Oh my god, such a heart warming post. I understand what you are feeling MM :):)
    The last paragraph made me cry. 😦

  7. MM,
    If the kids had passports.. this would have been the perfect time (May/June) for you guys to come. Anyhow.. apply for the passports.

    Regarding the feeling of G’pa and G’ma.. I know when my dad was still working and both of them still visiting us here.. my mom would be teary eyed when going back.. coz once in India.. she’d have to open the locks and get in to a empty house.
    In 2008, when they were going back, again my mom had tears.. and I said to her that now she can come every year + she will not be going to empty house + she still will be having grand kids around her.. so what’s her problem? ( My parents are living with my sister 6 months and 6 months with us, after my dad’s retirement). I said this is a win win situation..

    And Yup, I can understand your feelings.. everytime my parents leave my sister to come here.. I can hear her choking voice ‘ Papa Mummy theek se pahunch gaye ?’

    • Arun, what I’ve realised is that grandparents want ALL their grandkids around them ALL time (their kids too, but get somewhat sidelined once the grandkids come). So even if they’ll be seeing your sister’s kids, they’ll be missing your kids at the same time. It is sad the way we choose to live (my family is in a similar situation, though we don’t have the six months arrangement… yet).

    • Even if they had passports I am not taking them! Let someone else take them. I do enough with them and this trip (if and when I take it) is for me to see my brother and his baby. The rest of the world can jump – including the OA and his brats πŸ˜€

      sadly my parents have not retired (and as business people will never retire) so there is no chance of this six month thing. honestly though, i doubt they could do it. they dont have the temperament for it and neither do we :p

  8. The little Baby Button is the cutest thing! I would have wanted to grow wings and fly to him as well if I was his aunt.. hope you and Brat can derive joy from planning what all fun stuff you would do when you finally get to play with him.

  9. The baby button is oh-so-cute, but i am totally smitten with the Brat….Give my tight hugs to him. He is so so precious, MM!! I pray that this preciousness is preserved into adulthood and thereafter, without much hurt!

  10. Baby Button is a darling.
    Brat will be such an awesome big brother to this little darling.
    And of course you have to share Nani and G’pa with Tambi and family:)
    Don’t cry- you are a biggurl now!

  11. My heart is with the brat!!!! How sweet it must be to have a son that sensitive. My hugs to him.

    Of course your nephew is cute as a button and more!

  12. Awww. Stop being so dramatic—it’s only a trip. they’ll be back, all will be happiness and love. Next time make the trip with them—no parting pains. πŸ˜€ (have I earned the right to talk to you this way? I don’t know, the more I get to know you, the longer I feel I’ve known you.—not to sound creepy-stalkerish or anything-yikes.)

    Anyhoo, on the topic of gifts for the tyke–send him kurta-pyjamas for each year, for diwali and indian parties. they look adorable in them (till you can coax them into ethnic wear–not a big problem if you have a large Indian community to keep the little ones rooted.) Send him the katoris, and the little glassies that are just his size, he’ll love them each passing year. Send him those little silver bangles to keep nazars at bay…he’ll use them while he can and pass them on to his kids when he’s older. You’ll be surprised at how aware kids can be, how soon they can hone into the importance of traditions and love and the stories behind the things we surround ourselves with.

    He’ll grow up just fine. Stop worrying.

    PS: go eat at karim’s just because you can. raise a glass for me while you’re there.

    • THREE months. three whole months. *shrieks* do you know how loooooooooooong three months are? clearly not. its 30 days into 3. terrible. and you know .. everyone has sent him bloody kurta pajamas. he could open a store.

      *goes off to karim’s to eat*

      PS: my parents just landed. clearing immigration. gah. now they’re stuck there.

      • Ahhh. Immigration! I was wondering what you were doing up at this hour. I’ve seen an entire planeload of people miss their flight due to the immigration queue! Tell them to chill (and that they’re not allowed to use phones in that area-heavy fines!)That queue seemed to last forever, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. They’ll be fine.

        Send him those in sizes he’l grow into. And tell tambi’s wife, they make excellent cushion covers once sonny boy’s outgrown them (or she can save them for kiddo #2, or pass them on to cousins/friends). He’ll look cute. It’ll be a nice photo-op.
        Things I used the most–little pure wool hand knitted baniyans that I layered him with….those lasted till he was two. he’s a skinny kid. instead of full blown sweaters, sweater vests are the best, they can wear them over clothes while they fit, and layered underneath later. Indian sweaters are far warmer than the regular children’s place stuff, so they make excellent layering pieces.

        You have a good night now. I have to worry about what we’re having for dinner. & You get to pig out at karims….sigh. Life is SOOOO unfair.

  13. Baby Button is indeed very cute. Being here is U.S is such a hurdle for the loved ones…its so hard to cross the oceans and reach where we belong !!

    Hope that you get to see the cute baby soon..

  14. I’m sorrie..i was soooo sad when i came in here this am..and then readin the post only made me more sad.. that i failed to comment on how cute the love of ur life is!Those beady eyes!what a beauty !

  15. It’s a sweet post, a beautiful nephew baby and how lucky he is to have you appreciating him even if from afar!
    Coming from my own Addams Family background, I envy you your closeness with your parents. It is good to read a post where an adult is grateful for and loves their parents – maybe it’s different that way in India – in the US frequently by the time people grow up they don’t seem, in general, to be as grateful. Anyway, I think that’s very sweet – and you’re v. lucky to have parents like that! Even if they are in a different time zone.

  16. I know it was meant to be an emotional post – but Drama queen! πŸ™‚

    Baby button is so sweet…the picture is so clear I can almost feel his soft cheeks!

  17. I see what you say about blood being thicker than water. I just got back from an awesome India trip and the most precious time there was the one that I spent with my lil niece. I haven’t met her for the last ~3 years (and she is 4, so…) and she hates talking over phone, so have had little communication with her but when I met her, she was all over me as if we have met everyday of her life. I couldn’t believe that and the love I have for her is something I have never experienced before. Since, I don’t have a kid of my own, I guess this is the closest I have come to experience having a kid, so far and the feeling is frickin’ awesome. And I am itching to move back now (remember the petition that you wrote?) and one of the primary reason is that little devil… So, now off you go and convince Thambi πŸ™‚

  18. Is he cute or what!! Wish pishi-moni and little bhaiya and didi could have made the trip to soak up all that baby cuteness! This brings back memories of my 2 year old neice being so attentive to my 3 month old, bringing me diapers when he needed a change, rocking him in the bouncer, shaking rattles dangerously close to his face and making sure he’s nursing well by peering down at him and patting his face.

  19. Girl, you must go visit. Or they must come visit. This year! You cannot miss seeing him at least once the first year. I am in the same situation – with my sister in the states – and now we both have babies so it’s more complicated but all the more reason to see each other, because of the babies.

  20. Can I eat him, please? Well, whatever is left after you have had a go! Hugs to Brat and you. I can’t imagine how hard it is to deal with your pain of not seeing Button along with your child’s. Can’t be easy – but hang in there! The ties of blood do run both ways, so Button will also know that you guys are special.

  21. i know the feeling. even now at 28 i know i can call my dad or my mom and bawl and they’ll fix everything. and they do. infact I know deep down if i’m in a mess i might depend on them more than hubby.
    my brother was in the US too. Mom kept planning to go visit him but before that he came back. he now lives in the apartment complex next to mine. i was worried that now when mom came to bangalore she’d stay with him half the time. but then anna arrived and so she stays with me ALL the time she’s here. nyah nyah nyah.

  22. Breaks my heart to read about brat’s tenderness. I skimped over the part where you wrote dark, morbid things about parents travelling across to another end of the planet and worse. No courage to even think about it.

    Also, if any further need arises for channapatna toys or anything bangalore type, I’d be super happy to procure it for you.

  23. Awww. Really MM. I don’t know about the Brat, but the Bean could have been packed into one of those big sidebags and carried as hand luggage. No passport needed. (Hah. I bet no one thought about this way. :P)

    p.s. Also, Shubho Nobo Borsho to you and your mad family! Here’s wishing that the new year brings lots of joy and happiness. πŸ™‚ (and hopefully a trip to see baby button.)

  24. just go babes. these times won’t come back. it’s important you grab them while you can.
    love and blessings to the button and the brat and the bean. and to you two. and the folks and the button’s happy parents.


  25. Baby Button looks soo real cuuuuteee and I loved the picture quality. His huge eyes are so full of wonder.

    Its so sweet of Brat – really! He has such a soft heart. God bless him – imagine what a wonderful person he will grow into! πŸ™‚

  26. Wow – baby button is really really cute. Yup…agree with RS – the picture quality does wonders too. And ohhh my heart goes out to Brat. I feel more for him than you…sorry :-). Was he this loving with Bean as well? How precious!

    • Could be either – why should the depth of what we feel about something be the same. We’re individuals and don’t need to agree or feel the same way about anything… If we all felt pain or joy at the same level over the same things there’d be no Mother Teresa or Jack the Ripper.
      Or it could be the fact that you’re 23? Sometimes you need to live more, see more, feel more… know love and loss more…

      • Perhaps…like they say , to each , his own..

        Sometimes we empathize with others , sometimes we don’t…maybe only because we really don’t know what it means to be the other..

        I am sorry if i sounded rude before..

        • nah.. its okay. I write at 1 am after my kids go to bed. Usually by then the exhaustion of the day is telling on me and I am far more vulnerable and emotional than I would be otherwise. You know, the night hours are lonely and dark and all sorts of thoughts tend to play on the mind.
          Also, I think I tend to be more emotional in writing than I would be in person. Helps me to vent so that I can be strong and no-nonsense in my real life.
          we’re cool… no apologies required.

          • Well said MM! ditto here. Rather I find as the sun goes down, a different side of me turns up, more sensitive, vulnerable…etc etc.
            Keep wondering how u manage so much.
            The Baby Button is so so so adorable. And agree wid u on the distance part too. One of my cousins and a dear friend, both have gone to US for a month. And thou I nvr used to meet them everyday, still it was a feeling that they in the same place. Now they seem so so far. Strange is this thing called “feelings”.

  27. I just stopped reading the post after your first para. Just want to say that one can never ever be prepared enough to deal with a death of a parent.

    It makes me regret a million times in depth that I couldnt give my mother a chance to see her grandchild, knowing how much she wanted and spoke about seeing my child in her arms. And to make matters worse, I still dont know if I am ever going to have a child.

    But I will soon read your post…. and your nephew is such a good looking wee boy! Bundle of joy!

  28. You didnt tell us the reaction of the Bean! Did she cry too? Did she asked to be taken with the grandparents?

  29. Its probably mean to tell you that I’m off to the US of A next Saturday for 5 whole weeks with parents, hubby and kids to see my Tambi, SIL and kiddo….so I wont!!!

    Btw, which part of the US does your bro stay in?

  30. OMG baby button is adorable! Don’t you just love the clear eyes, soft skin *ANTI JINX*
    It’s tough for grandparents to find a balance between their lives at home and their grandchildren spread all over the place! We go through this every year with our parents and ILs. What to do…cest la vie!

  31. Baby button is very cute.
    I think he’ll appreciate all the acts of love. My son used/uses various things my parents and sisters got for him and he even says that “i want it in such and such bowl got by such and such person for me”.
    You should go to US or at least get your kids’ passports done so that they can go and enjoy.

    • the logistics are almost impossible right now. Definitely not taking the kids because with the baby so small we will not be going anywhere or showing them anything. Its not worth wasting money to take them there and just sit at home. and to leave them just with the OA while I go off – is not feasible. 😦 he goes to work and i dont leave the kids alone with hired help for extended periods of time …. sigh. lets see.

  32. Oh My – what a DOLL! He’s GORGEOUS!

    As for you making a trip here – given the number of people you know here, the kids will be feted and taken around all over! Why worry?


  33. Awwww ..look at the skin..so pure so transparent just like a baby!!!! I have a 13 month old already missing the baby stuff…

    • I call mine ‘muttu papa’ got tired of calling him ‘mottai papa’ totally irrelevant but had to call ur button that…

  34. THAT sobby cuddle is an experience Brat is going to cherish in his memory. For the nth time, thanks for rising your babies the way you do! πŸ˜€

  35. Omg! He’s almost edible.
    Reading this filled my eyes with tears, imagining him having a baby, and me not being able to hold her/him. I can’t even imagine (or, don’t want to imagine) having a baby, and him not being around as one of the first people to hold my baby. Little brothers! *sigh* πŸ™‚
    (That was a very teary smile.)

  36. From my own experience:
    – Handmade/wooden toys always appreciated and strangely rare/expensive to get in the US.

    – Also as he grows up, lovely Indian books with brilliant illustrations.

    – Oh and a set of DVDS with some key Indian songs: Chulbuli (my daughter loves this – I think its some Clinic Plus ad?), Lakdi ki kathi etc. They love the songs.

    – Another thing I think is super super useful is pyjamas/kurtas made of mull. In the summer here, its hot but not so hot that they can’t wear it, and its great cover up for the beach etc. And you can’t get that nice, soft mull for anything in the world out here. You can actually get it tailored in India which is nice.

    Also, you can definitely travel with a little baby in this country. Its very very child friendly – much easier to get around than you would think. Kids can see museums (very child friendly), zoos, go to National parks etc. You can rent a car and just drive, its lovely. And if you come in the summer, there are around a jillion things fro kids to do – everyone seems to want to entertain them. If anything, this is probably the easiest country in the world to take kids along for a vacation.

    If your brother lives in the suburbs, they always have lovely backyards, and in the city, all the attractions i’ve written about – so for someone low maintenance like you and your kids, it would be heaven.


    • Yeah its child friendly but annoying to have to cart around relatives who show up when you’re still learning to deal with a baby. plus brother has very little leave left and a travelling job. i would be shattered if i went there and he is out on a project 😦

  37. Send him a nice chungudi saree that is soft and quite old..the one that your grandma used once.
    I was put to sleep in one of those, my granny made a thooli out of it. It helps in shaping the skull in the formative months. nevertheless I have a Suppandi-like head. Kids in the US have this problem, they are made to sleep in the wooden cradle and they end up getting a flat protruded head.

  38. Feels like I just read about his birth. He is already 3 months old.

    I know all kids that age have that expression on them at times, but it’s always cute.

  39. What a cute picture!

    I also understand the difficulty of distance with parents. Sometimes I am so jealous of people with parents next door or 5 minutes away.
    Our parents are 3000km away and thousands of kilometers away so visits are precious. Equally, when they happen they are usually LONG!
    Three or four weeks at a time, that really pushes the boundariesand changes the family norms!
    It is interesting to think about how much the ‘world’ has changed in terms of technology, freedom and expectations of children and parents.

    Mad Momma , I love your posts they really get you thinking!

    We just posted about technology and kids, drop over for a look when you have a moment!


  40. ooohhhhhhhhhh….he is cute ! i think having our own baby made me n my husband aware of the “baby cuteness” factor all over again πŸ™‚

  41. 17 hours in that flight is just impossible… i travelled to the US just a month ago and believe me i am not travelling there again. and NOT with my son for sure… the journey just kills you and if you have a kid with you, then you would be dead in half the time.
    I am okay to travel more than 24 hours in train, but not in plane πŸ™‚

    BTW baby button is a darling. so so so so cute.
    I can totally understand how you felt about sending gifts to the US. I just cant imagine what to send for kids in the US, because you get almost everything there better than here. And it is too early to send a kurta payjama or so.

    Thats one of the disadvantage of the global trade i think. Now we cant really send gifts to each other and be happy that you sent something they wouldnt find elsewhere. Like we get all the so called “phoren” goods in India easily these days.

  42. No, no, no! You’re not making peace or any such thing! You’re getting on a flight and coming over. YAY!! Can’t wait. πŸ˜€

  43. Baby Button looks absolutely wonderful… Lots of love to him, the Brat and Bean…
    I SO understand the emotions. Hope you get to see and hold the baby soon…

  44. mad momma – the channapatla rattles will be much appreciated by button. My little one got them from her bua as well and loves playing with them more than anything else πŸ™‚

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