I know you are growing big and tall these days. You can reach the counter top in the kitchen on your toes. And can even turn the gas knobs off and on. You can also pick up my scarf from the top of the bookshelf. But here’s what you still cannot do; wriggle out of Mommy’s arms when she holds you tight and demands a big and long hug. I know soon you will get there too. But I won’t stop asking for my big and long hugs up until I die. So you better get used to them.
Last Tuesday, as my plane took off from Irvine, I looked at the ocean below me and got scared. My first flight was only little over ten years ago, but ever since then I have traveled enough. I have never felt the fear that struck me unexpected on Tuesday afternoon. What if this plane does not reach San Jose? What if Mommy doesn’t come back? What will Tara feel? How will she sleep that night? Will she miss me? Such grey thoughts clouded my mind. I dealt with those thoughts by watching your videos and photos on my phone for the rest of the flight. But I realized how my life is worth more than the credit I usually give it. And the reason for that is you.
You are the youngest, yet the most naughty kid in your classroom. You run with the two-year-olds as if you are as big and strong as them. You love french toast, dosa, pancakes, dal and rice, soups, hummus and muffins. You also love smoothies. You climb anything and everything. You even climb me. You are strong. You are fierce. You are loud and you talk a lot. It doesn’t make sense yet. But soon it will. You like recognizing things. You picked a bird, mouse, giraffe and minion from a pile of toys. You also love to pick a book (call it boo) and come sit in our lap and ask us to read to you.
You love my water bottle. I got you one for yourself. You still love mine. We both drink a lot of water together. It’s our thing. Sometimes Daddy joins us too.
You love my hair. You want to play with them when you are drinking milk, when we are eating, reading, and even when we are going to sleep. You put yourself to sleep holding my hair and then I take your hand and put it in your hair.
You love it when I act as if I am eating your fingers. Your giggle is the best I have heard and your smile is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Your eyes express, they ask me questions, they tell me when you are manipulating me and when you need me.
You run, not walk. You play with dogs and sometimes get scared of them. You enjoy Krishna Auntie’s home made cookies on weekend mornings. You even sit on your chair and table to munch on them (coz Mama made a rule – no cookie if no sitting).
You sleep through most long drives. You are mostly good when it comes to eating outside. You love people watching and attracting them to you. You initiate games with older kids.
You are loved by your teachers. You are moody, like me. You are sensitive to other’s feelings and their moods.
You love to climb on the daybed and watch outside your room’s window. The sycamore does not have any leaves yet. But we check it out every day and share notes. You spot airplanes from the window and yell (aipane). You also spot crows and point at them and say (co). You laugh easily. You fake cry and then check if we are watching.
You can name all your classmates and the official turtle – Bubbles. You can climb the stool to wash your hands and throw trash in the bin when asked to. You love playing with the colanders in the kitchen and exploring the pantry. You love it outside in our patio. You also give cute owie reports to the official Owlie in the patio. Owlie protects us all from evil, is my storyline.
I cannot stop talking about you to whoever I meet. My colleagues think I am obsessed with you. I laugh a lot ever since you have arrived in my life. And I feel you are filling an abyss that had developed a few years ago.
When I was walking from my parking spot to my desk, a beautiful breeze swept by me. I had experienced that breeze before. Long ago in another life. And for some reason, the breeze filled me with a lot of hope and happiness. I stopped and experienced the breeze for some more time. At that moment, I felt wonderful about where I am in my life. The last time I felt like that was when I walking to my office in Denver, the first day of my first job.
Tara, you are the breeze.
You are my guiding star. And I cannot thank you enough for showing me the way.