The nursery is dark. Again.

We’ve left the Brat and Bean with my parents every year for a week or two while the OA and I take off on our own for a bit, after they turned one. Just to live it up, so to speak. Auli, Goa, Manali, Turkey, the US, we did it all without the kids. Of course we do lots of holidays with them through the year but that one couple holiday a year has been sacred. Not because they’re not rock solid, awesome travelers, but because once in a while the OA and I love being able to look into each other’s eyes meaningfully without someone going – “What happened? Has she got an eyelash in her eye? Why are you holding his hand? Can’t he walk by himself? Will she get lost? Arre, why’re you kissing him? You can kiss me instead.”

Except for last year when we felt a pang of guilt and ended up taking them to Bangkok with us. This changed everything. We now find we can’t take any holidays without them because the guilt just runs us through like a sword and we don’t enjoy the freedom.

We’ll be off on our annual long holiday soon and we’re taking the kids with us. But the kids had other ideas. They wanted to go spend time with the oldies in the small town. But how, when, why, I protest. There’s holiday homework to be done and swimming to do and plays to be caught…

We’ll go stay with the grandparents, they insist. You go anywhere you want, Bangkok, Madras, whatever you want.

Very nice. Nice to be thrown over for a couple of old farts. Nice for our big city pleasures to be rejected for the joys of playing with the dogs and spending time in the big old house, going from grandparent to grandparent. I was particularly reluctant this time because Chhote Nana and my mum both have broken legs and the kids are used to very active young grandparents. Chhote Nana was 40 when the Brat was born, for chrissake!  The kids called the oldies and demanded that they invite them and of course the OA and I were steamrollered once that got out.

I was a little misty-eyed at their excitement to go home. My parents’ home, that is. Every year I worry that they’ll get a little too big city. A little too stuck up for the pleasures of fish ponds and mango trees. Of walking dogs and drives into a little local market that has a queue at its one and only McDonald’s outlet. Of old people who are up with the lark and out before the nightingale makes her appearance.

It’s not happened yet. If anything, the Brat (bless his soul) gets more attached to his grandparents every year and sobs when he leaves them – something he doesn’t do when we leave him there. He is upset for days after we bring him back to Delhi and we spend a lot of time and energy cheering him up and getting him back into the swing of things. The Bean on the other hand is usually happy to bloom where she’s planted. Happy with us, happy with them, happy to be back. Except for this year. She’s slowly growing into the daughter I’ve always dreamed of, almost a friend, helping me around the house, sticking by my side, fighting with the OA over me – all this when she’s not busy fighting with me! We’re the worst of enemies and the best of friends and she’s missing me terribly this time. She wants to be there and enjoy the grandparents, but she wants me too. Obviously I can’t be on leave endlessly and working from there is just too distracting and crazy so I avoid it unless necessary.

The granders of course have bent backwards to entertain them, more so because they have broken legs and don’t want that to spoil the kids’ fun. My dad and Chhoti Nani have made up for the other two damaged oldies and taken them all over the place, evening jaunts, history walks, planting saplings, doing homework, going swimming and what not. Much more than the OA and I would have done on weekdays for sure.

To the extent that a few nights ago we were out to catch a play with the SRE and Dipali and the OA mentioned to them that he thinks my parents are the best kind of grandparents because they’re so involved and so much fun. Made me all lump-in-the-throaty because I was trying to be dismissive of their efforts and referring to them as idiots (yes, I’m a polite, well brought up daughter) and here was the son in law, ignoring his trying-too-hard-to-be-cool wife and honestly appreciating what his in-laws were doing. I have to admit that there are times I wish my parents were the old retired sort who trailed us around the country raising our kids while the OA and I raced ahead on our respective career paths. And then I feel a pang of guilt for wishing that on them. And myself. Our kids are ours to raise and its nice for them to get a holiday once in a while and then let the grandparents get back to having a life of their own.

The OA and I have spent the last 3 weeks behaving like teens so I have to admit that this life of your own business is rather underrated. Sleeping late, eating at odd hours, spur of the moment plans, cussing out idiotic drivers on the roads is all rather easy to get addicted to and thoroughly enjoyable. But by mid second week I heard that the OA was calling and speaking to the kids each morning on his way to work and I was all set to jump into the train and bring them back unreserved if I had to.

But we’ve held our horses and we have just a few more days to go. Until then, you can read some old posts on the brat breaks we’ve taken. My favourite post on this topic was called The Nursery is Dark. I’ve combed my archives but just can’t find it. 😦

https://themadmomma.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/and-while-we-get-our-act-together/

https://themadmomma.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/baharon-phool-barsao/

https://themadmomma.wordpress.com/2009/02/11/going-bananas/

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15 thoughts on “The nursery is dark. Again.

  1. 🙂 that is typical me I tell you .. (I mean the kids not you .. ) .. I would prefer going and living with my grandparents Every holiday.. My parents never had that ONE worry I tell you , only in holidays I was a good boy as I would leave the very next day of the holidays to my grand parents .. and they spoilt me Rotten 🙂

    I also believe what you say that Kids are parents responsibility and they should be caring for them and not the grandparents .. I have seen a lot of examples ..

    right I will go and read the old posts then while you go and have a holiday 🙂

  2. I remember the old post. It had pics also, no? From the Delhi- wala house? I want to meet this mama’s-new-best-friend, Bean, now. And your curly- haired stunner with eyes that twinkle and a heart of gold. One week to go, yay!! 😀

  3. The bond I have with my grandparents is ridiculously strong, and I owe it all to endless summer holiday shenanigans. They werent the young, active kind of grandparents but even within the home they went all out to make our vacations there memorable, doing all sort of non-runn-of-the-mill things. And I think that goes a long, long way. I remember when I was 13 and having a particularly rough time with my raging hormones clashing with my mothers desperate attempts to tame them, I wrote a series of letters to my grandmother, and we exchanged a string of them, in each one she’d give me a fresh way to look at the situation and deal with it. When I began to take my writing seriously, I exchanged letters with my grandfather quizzing him incessantly on how to be creative and other such existential things 😛 And he did his best to give me his perspective without dumbing it down for me. Grand parents are a special lot. Your family and the Ald home reminds me so much of my own. The OA is right, your kids (and you) are super duper lucky to have them around 🙂

  4. I envy your kids 😦 I only have one grandmother living and she’s not the kind to run around with children. Although I do have tons of cousins I’m very close to 🙂

  5. Ha! Summer vacation in G’parents’ home… Guess you have sent all of us down memory lane with this post. Please do forgive for the longish comment :

    I grew up in Bangalore and my nana-nani stayed in Chennai. May be it was cause I had/have a working mom, may be my parents appreciated a li’l break from us, may be it was cause my G’parents can never have enough of us, but summer and Dusshera vacations were always spent in Madras, rite thru the time until we graduated from college. We were put on the train the day after exams were over…. Friends thought we were crazy that we left Beautiful Blr and went to the crazy-hot Chennai during summer…but weather was hardly a consideration. I have such beautiful memories of those days…my mama and Chitti ( aunt) were unmarried when we were babies and so it was that they wrote up math problems for us to do while they were off to work, but we would get sucked into playing Dayakattai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dayakattai) and pallankuzhi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pallanguzhi) with G’parents. They way my thatha used to cheat and the arguments we had 🙂 …enviable ! Beach-visits ,faking sleep ‘coz paati insisted that we sleep in the afternoons, lying to paati that we were off to a friend’s place to study when we played silly games like doctor-doctor, helping paati separate the wheat from the rice, walking 2k with paati to help her shop at the local market, cool mango-milkshakes at 4 pm (mind you, with ice borrowed from the near-by store ‘coz initially G’aprents didn’t have a fridge of their own in the house), getting out to ride our bicycles and play outside games around 6 pm, when the sun took some mercy on us. After mama and chitti got married and had their own babies, all 6 of us cousins regrouped in Gparents’ home during summer. Golden Days! We used to write letters( yes, the hand-written ones) to mom-dad every week:) . All our parents would visit the last week of May, and we would have a super-fun wind up of the vacation before we returned to our own cities only 2-3 days before school actually started. And there were a few years, once my sister moved to college and I was yet in school that our vacations didn’t complete coincide, and I used to miss my sister sooooo much, I remember writing her a letter every day ..

    10 days of Dusshera in Chennai was so beautiful with us wearing pavadai (traditional blouse and skirt) and inviting all neighbors to come home in the evening and performing some type of art in front of God every evening. 10 days of festivity.

    I’m humming ‘ Those were the best days of my life “ in my head! Thanks for rekindling the memories MM.

    This year my ma and sister’s kids all went to Chennai for summer holidays. Even ma took off a month from work… so it worked out well. Sadly, it wasn’t as much fun for the adults ‘coz we lost my thatha on his 80th B’day last Dec.. but nevertheless I know the babies appreciated the carefree life and world that Chennai is to us.

    PS: Really sorry for taking up so much of your comment space.

  6. It must be tough on both of you. The home seems to be empty. I start suffering even when my kids are away only for 4+ hours at their aunt’s place. And, the anxiety which is building up in me, since my daughter has decided to piggy back my parents to visit India this August for one month…. is killing me.

    And, as we ( wife and me ) have found out.. there is only so much we can do when kids are not around.

  7. It’s so heart-warming when our kids and parents bond.
    You know my parents’ situation now – and my kids still want to go stay with them in summer – they just left after a couple of months here, and daughter is all ready to hop on a flight all by herself and head to India to stay for a couple of months. I know they can’t handle her needs (not wants) and so didn’t send her this year (son can’t go, starting high school means starting school-related stuff in summer)
    Times like this, I want the world to be an even smaller place than it is.

  8. I was kinda fussy, hating to leave my house and hated grand parents place..hehe.yeah, the kids can teach us lotsa things..go for ur holiday and let us be. I happ to like the Bean a lot and shez cute, put her anywhere shez happy, quite unlike me:)

  9. I can totally identify with this. In my longe’d love going to my grandparent’s place every time we could. A huge old bungalow on the seashore in Mumbai. Paddling in the ocean every chance we’d get, driving my grandmother crazy when we came back home burnt black and our clothes fit to be burned.

    Also I want to meet your kids! (And thoroughly embarrass them with my ignorance)! Especially he tender-hearted little Brat because he’s the first baby I fell in love with. I always thought I was a baby-hater before then.

    Lastly, I think ‘The Nursery is Dark’ was sometime in 2008.I could be wrong though and I often am! 🙂

  10. I really hope you write for a living? 🙂
    It feels as if someone’s narrating a story!
    I am just curious, do the kids read what you write? bits of it at least?

  11. “Bean on the other hand is usually happy to bloom where she’s planted… We’re the worst of enemies and the best of friends and she’s missing me terribly this time.”
    Knocks on wood. Hard. Gosh, B&B are just about my favorite kids ever.

  12. So the brats are away again and the parents are at play:-) Hmmm…. I love that they have bonded so beautifully with your parents 1 and parents 2(chota nana and nani) so beautifully over the years and for that credit goes to both you and OA for making the journey to drop them off, let them be handled by the parents the best way they can without interference from youll and letting them develop their own special relationships. I miss this closeness terribly living here in the U.S. When V was very tiny I did send him a couple of times to stay with my parents in Goa so my Dad could be with him(he couldn’t travel here by then) and acc. to my mum those were their most fun and exciting months ever. Infact the last person my father held in his arms before he fell into a coma was V and I think somehow that made it more peaceful for him at the end. Since then I’ve gone back with V several times but never left him by himself there because who will bring him back na:-)
    The brat and bean are lucky that the g’rents live relatively close by and that you’re so bindaas in sending them over. Heres to many, many such carefree summer holidays with them.

    You two, have fun by yourselves ok. I love how you described yourselves as teenagers with no fixed routine or theekana.

  13. Fast tracked career path, fun weekends, party with friends in the evening all went out of the window when I became a mum. Sometimes I yearn so much far my past life but then melt the very next moment by looking at my son.
    You have beautifully captured the emotions that big city parents face, especially the ones who are from small towns. Guess you can can never take the small town sensibilities out of us.

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