“Hurry on out! There is a rainbow in the sky,” I scream as I rush out. I half expect the twins to stay rooted to the sofa, eyes glazed over as Sofia the First proves to be wiser than her years. I am surprised to see them join Saathi, Laddu and I at the driveway as we stand taking in the beautiful double rainbow that arched across the sky after a downpour. We stand there as a family watching until it fades. Ammu jumps into a puddle. “No!” I say even as Pattu joins her. I shake my head and walk inside. They linger outside awhile before coming back in.
I open the front door to cajole a smile out of Ammu as she walks, eyes downcast, her body weighed by cares that seem too much for her to handle. She looks up, the smile not quite reaching her eyes. I let her go wishing I could buoy her up with the cheer I want to see. She walks and my eyes follow her all they way to her bus stop. She drops her bag and joins in the play. I am about to close the door when the overgrown front yard catches my eye. I stand wondering when the people I hired will show up to spruce up the place. A cluster of sand colored mushrooms under our serviceberry tree catches my eye. They look like a mini forest. Grass, perfectly formed mushrooms and worms. I half expect pixies and gnomes. I walk back in reminding myself to show them to the girls.
Laddu and I drive to the library in the morning. The drizzle since morning seems to have stopped leaving the world misty and dew covered. I walk, my shoes leaving wet footprints behind me. Laddu ambles along, her tiny hand clutching mine. We walk on a stone pathway covered on both sides by a tree laden with pink blossoms. I stop to stand and stare. Laddu bends to pick the fallen flowers. She holds them in her hand, the petals dropping even as she leans in to smell it. I pick her up and hold her. She reaches for the nearest flower and we are showered with water. We shake it off like dogs and walk slowly enjoying the mild morning. An older gentleman walking ahead of us stops to watch us. We exchange smiles and move on.
The girls and I are on the patio. Pattu is on the swings. Ammu has a badminton racket in her hand and I hold a shuttlecock in my hand. I teach her to drop and lob. She tries, the racket missing the shuttlecock each time. She is frustrated and I am patient. We try a few times and she manages to connect. We move to the grassy yard and take positions. I start and she misses. She tries to play and gives up. Saathi takes her place. The sun is in his eyes. We play for a few minutes. I am panting by the time we are done. I want to freeze the moment. There is laughter trapped in the air between us. The kids are playing near us. The sun is young in the sky. There is a mild breeze. The smell of the grass is sweet.
Laddu is by the front window. Her nose is pressed to the glass. I wonder what she is unto and stand next to her. Birds are cavorting in the lower branches of the tree before us. “Birdie!” she explains to me as I look at her. The joy that pervades her face is evanescent as she watches the birds fly away. We stand for a while before I move away and she follows.
I sit on the rocking chair late in the afternoon waiting for Laddu to ease into deep sleep. My mind is on all the little things I experience with the children each day. I wonder if I can string them into a garland of memories and store it for them to relive years in the future, if I can bottle it up and hand it over to them as they fly the coop as all the life lessons they need to know.
Stop. Observe. Enjoy.