I am at the sink rinsing, soaping and loading dishes into the dishwasher. Saathi is leaning on the counter, Laddu in his hands. Ammu and Pattu are at their table playing with their playdoh boxes. The playdoh is long gone but the boxes provide endless entertainment. I glance at them and notice Saathi doing the same thing. “You will miss them when school starts” he says simply, without preamble. There is a hint of a dare in his voice. I counter, amusement tinging my reply.
I am by the stove, the bright green of the blanched beans out-of-place against the black stove top. The kids and Saathi are playing catch. The noise hurts my ears. I look up against my better judgement and see Laddu running as fast as her chubby legs can take her behind the girls. They run up the stairs and she follows clambering to keep pace. Saathi runs behind them with a war-whoop startling Laddu. For a moment I am sure she will fall. She totters, balances and pursues her sisters. I begin to say something and clamp my mouth shut.
Long past dinner, the kids in their beds, I sit before the computer as is my nightly ritual. I browse aimlessly, the back of my brain processing what Saathi said about missing them. We are midway through their break. It has not been as terrible as I had expected. We have fallen into a routine of sorts. Each day is a conscious exercise in getting through without raising my voice, limiting TV and iPad time. With another five weeks to go, I realize Laddu will miss them sorely.
Me? Not as much.
Perhaps the mornings as I pour the batter and make circles and chat with them. Or the way Ammu spreads the butter chunks evenly all over her dosa. Or how Pattu tears each chunk of her breakfast, dipping into the sweet yogurt and closes her eyes to relish it. Mornings are definitely relaxed with the kids taking their time to eat. All three of them. I enjoy the conversations. The randomness of what we talk about. The glimpses into their personalities. The slow but sure indications of how their tastes have evolved.
Perhaps I will miss watching the twins play for hours with ten blocks, eight playdoh containers and four dolls. They arrange, lecture, rearrange, croon, get on all fours and mimic people, animals and faeries. Sometimes they notice me watching them, and a blush steals into their cheeks. They smile shyly and lower their voices. I look away and play resumes with rigor.
Perhaps I will miss the lazy afternoons as I lie on the sofa in the basement keeping an eye on Laddu while music blasts overhead and the twins dance with abandon. Or they show off their hooping skills and dare me to compete. The way they stop what they are doing to plant kisses on me. Or the way they lay their ears on my tummy wait for me to giggle, jiggle and entertain them. “I love your fat tummy” they say without malice. I grin and remind them to always feel that way.
Perhaps I will miss the moments of tenderness stolen from an otherwise ordinary day. Of cuddling with my children and napping with one child draped on me and the other ensconced between my arms while the third sleeps in her crib.
Even as I rewind and replay the past six weeks, I realize that this summer has been fun. Not in the hectic, frenzy filled way I had imagined but in the slow like molasses way of moments accumulating day after day. In between the ‘am going to lose it’ days are perfect days like today.
I will miss them I realize with a pang and resolve to savor what is left of this summer.