I stand by the patio door, baby in my arms watching you flit from tree to tree in pursuit of a white-winged butterfly. You look care free and unfettered following the dictates of your heart. In your white and blue PJs you look much like a butterfly yourself. You watch it light on the fence and then fly up towards the sky before you turn and immerse yourself in the yellow weeds at your feet. I turn just in time to watch your sister propel herself on the swing soaring into the air. Her face lights up with a million watt smile as the breeze rustles her golden locks.
I feel content. The weight of the baby in my arms is beginning to tell and I shift my gaze to her two-week old face. It has filled out some. The cheeks are soft and the tiny fuzz on her face endearing. She looks as peace sleeping against the warmth of my body.
I hear the sounds of something sizzling and turn to see you stir fry vegetables in high heat. Just the way Saathi likes it. Your salt and pepper hair is curled into a small bunch at the back of your head. Your back bent with the effort of being on your feet since the early hours. You pull your sweater towards you as you reach out for yet another spice jar.
In the past few weeks I have watched a fledgling relationship bud between you and your grand daughters. In the way you hold your newest one close to your face and close your eyes taking in her baby smell. In the way you reach out to tousle the twins hair in the morning as they drink their milk. In the way you form silent pacts with Ammu warning her not to tell mommy. In the way you lie on the futon mattress right next to your grand daughters as they pretend to sleep. I love how your hand lies protectively on the small of their backs.
I love how Pattu instinctively includes you in her definition of family. Over the months, you have grown to be an integral part of the children’s psyche. In the way they reach out to you for comfort or authority when Saathi and I are not around.
It is in the little everyday moments I realize what a treasure these relationships are. How it does take a village to raise a child. More importantly, what a gift grand parents are to little children.