I feel you before I hear you. Your tiny hand is on my forehead. My eyes flutter awake to your “Can you wake Appa so he can put me in bed?” I absently shake Saathi who sleep-walks you to bed before he falls back in his a few minutes later.
I am wide awake now. The clock reads 4:19 AM. I shuffle around, drink a couple of sips of water and get in bed hoping to fall asleep. Instead what I get is a montage of memories. Images from the past few years. Images of my babies growing up. Tiny cherubs who have blossomed into chirpy, unique personalities.
Stubborn, emotional, empathetic, fiercely loyal are a few words that graze the edges of my consciousness when I think of Ammu. Tall and willowy, she holds her own against anyone. She listens when she wants to and marches to the beat of her own drum. She has a streak of independence that strangely makes me fear for her and feel proud of her at the same time. Her artwork is all soul. Her numbers and letters are sometimes mirror images. She colors within the lines and is not scared of bold color combinations. She is meticulous, detail oriented and paradoxically fickle when it comes to focusing on one thing at a time. She prefers chalk to markers and loves to feel textures. She is adventurous with food and takes the time to smell her food before tasting it. She is naturally curious and prefers to get her hands dirty before she asks questions. She makes up her own songs and can hold her pitch. She likes to put things back in order and is particular about hierarchy. She doles out impromptu kisses and hugs and wipes her cheek when I place a wet one.
Adamant, eager to please, easily manipulated, social butterfly, street smart are a few terms that come to mind when I think of Pattu. Her bright eyes look at me with accusation when I take her to task. She struggles between pushing boundaries and holding her ground. Her face is truly an index of her mind. Dance is in her blood and the slightest sounds of music have her swaying. She looks at you from the corner of her eyes as she dances soaking in the approval that is so evident on mine. She knows her moves and is not hesitant in showing it off. First to raise her hands, eager to talk, easy to make friends with and eager to share, Pattu lights up everything around her. She is the quintessential happy child. A child of the sun. Sunshine could be her middle name. She holds back on emotion choosing instead to share smiles. When she trusts, it is blindly and with full expectation of being accepted wholeheartedly. Acceptance is a big thing with her and her puppy dog eyes rarely misses their mark. She has a sweet tooth and always asks for seconds.
Each passing year carves and defines their personalities. Each passing year melts some of that baby fat and gives a peek into the woman she will grow into. Each passing year teaches me how different each child is. I look forward to the years ahead with anticipation. Mothering is a privilege I have been blessed with. Watching two bright minds grow and expand with each passing day is a miracle I am blessed with. As we count the hours down to when they turn a whole year older, I cannot but smile and remind myself that these mile markers are speeding towards me. I have to take pause and slow down to savor each one of them.