I brush your hair back and efficiently pin it so your hair will remain dry as you shower. You turn back and the face that stares at me looks almost grown up. For a moment I get a glimpse of how you will look like at the threshold of womanhood.
The next half hour passes in a blur. I am aware of silly conversations and a whole lot of giggles but my head is still trying to process the face that looked back at me a while back. I help you both with your PJ’s and slide the hair band off your silky hair. As if the act of undoing the ponytail will remove the fear that has taken hold.
“Mama, can I please have a ponytail?” your voice pipes up.
I sigh and brush your golden hair till it glows and pull it back into a single pony at the back. You run, skip and jump off. While I wait for Ammu to get be ready, I slip into the darkness of the bedroom and watch you preen in front of the mirror in the closet. The overhead lamp almost feels like a spotlight on you. You have a hand on your hip and look at yourself critically in the mirror. You tuck away a strand of falling hair behind your ear. Your freshly scrubbed face looks incandescent. You appear to be pleased by what you see and you burst back into the bathroom calling “Daddy, see my pony. I look beautiful.”
I repeat the process with Ammu and watch again as the two of you preen in front of the mirror. I can predict the next few minutes and I watch with a smile on my face. The next hour rushes past in dinner time rituals and I turn my attention to more pressing matters at hand. As I lift my back after loading dishes into the washer, I notice the two of you waiting to hug me good night. I gather the two of you and plant kisses on your forehead.
“Don’t grow up too fast” I mutter as I let you go.
You bound off into the semi dark stairs, your dad behind you.
I walk around the living room, my brows furrowed in thought. Where did the years go? When did my chubby toddlers morph into proper girls? How did I not notice the changes? I hold on to the lingering vestiges of childhood while you are happy to grow and grow up fast.
Wise words echo in my ears – Hold them tight for the years fly by too fast.