The baby swing in the back yard sways in the breeze. I notice Ammu and Pattu in my peripheral vision trying to dislodge a ‘popsicle’ from the faucet on the outside of the house. It is bitterly cold. My nose burns. I feel alive. I glance absently at the stretch of road visible from my garage for signs of the school bus. I feel a tug at the hem of my winter coat. Ammu looks up at me. Her eyes large and brown. She gestures for me to bend down. I do and am rewarded with a kiss on my nose. Pattu follows suit. I take in their clothes. Pattu has her hat, scarf and gloves all coordinated. Ammu goes for sentiment. A scarf knitted by her birth mother, a cap from her great grand mom.
“Who has the most beautiful daughters in this whole wide world?” I ask. Hands shoot up by habit. I repeat my question, emphasis on daughters this time. “You, of course!” comes the reply. Even as I attempt to follow it up with another question, I spy the bus and we run, a tumble of hands, legs, backpacks and winter gear. They are off and I stand watching the bus disappear.
I am by the stove pouring batter and spreading it in a perfect circle, the radio playing a number I have come to love. Saathi is at the island laddu on his lap. There is peace, contentment and love pressing down upon us oppressively. Even as I slide the cheese filled crepe on Saathi’s plate, he leans forward taking his fill of the savory aroma. Laddu lies in the crook of his arm, finger in her mouth eyeing everything around her with curiosity.
Somewhere in this slice of domestic bliss it occurs to me that right here, right now is my entire life. Everything that I have been working toward. Every cliche I have known and read about living in the moment, finding happiness within rings true.
I shut the door behind me and watch from the living room window as the silver car rounds the bend out of sight. The single red leaf on our service berry tree catches my eye. It hangs on with a tenacity that has outlasted yesterday’s winds. I smile and move away, still thinking of the leaf and wondering if there is something profound about it. Perhaps not I tell myself and bounce laddu on my lap. I glance at the phone. It is not yet 8:30 AM and the day stretches ahead of me. Glorious nothingness. No agenda. No lists to live by. Nothing to rush for.
I love my life.
The thought crosses my mind, unbidden. It takes hold and I laugh. A loud laughter escaping the confines of my body and filling the space outside with happiness. As if on cue, Happy comes on the radio and I dance with my daughter.