I step out of Laddu’s preschool and walk leisurely.
“Are you Laddu’s mom?” the little girl walking toward me asks. I nod, pleasantly surprised to be addressed that way. She smiles, wishes me a good morning and skips behind her twin. Their mother walking a few paces behind stops and chats with me before she scurries off. I drive home, the radio more of background noise.
Slipping my sneakers off in the garage, my eyes fall on an array of sneakers, shoes, flats, flip-flops all tired, scuffed and frayed. Entering the home, I spy Ammu’s small bunny on the cedar chest. The image of her all sad and morose comes to mind. Today has been one of those days she woke feeling irritable. The morning went downhill from then until I scooped her up in my arms before she left to school, sat her on my lap and pretended to make the sadness bubble out of her. I did it a few times before she smiled. Perhaps it worked for she skipped, hopped and jumped her way to the bus. I pull the trash to drop orange peels and notice one of Pattu’s pants. I remember watching her come back from school Friday, a huge hole near her thigh. I remember asking her to drop it in the trash.
It is that time of the school year when clothes, school bags, lunch bags, shoes and socks are all in varying stages of disrepair. They look tired, faded and jaded. The school days seem to stretch too long, the weekends too short. The promise of summer is within reach. It shimmers just beyond reach holding out hope that the end is near. I am ready for a reset. For long languorous days filled with nothing. I am ready for mornings unharried by demands of lunch boxes and healthy snacks. I am ready for the impromptu ice-cream outings and evenings on the patio watching the sun go down. Most of all I am ready for shorts, sleeveless tops and overhead fans.
Saathi is home after what feels like eons. A mini break before he starts on a new venture after twenty years, practically his entire career at one company, in one group, with the same people. Everything feels new and apprehensive. The kids are off to school and we are headed out to the temple. A ritual that calms my head and makes me feel like we are all set to embark on a new journey.
The house is in disarray. The clothes are folded and stacked on the table in the hall, there since Amma folded it a day before. The kids have strewn puzzle pieces, the wooden ones all over the floor. I step over them eyeing piles of documents to be sorted and filed and moving away. I will get to it all I tell myself.
On another day when the sun shines a tad brighter, the kids tumble out of the home in joyous bubbles and Saathi is out slaying digital demons. I will conquer. I will crown myself a domestic goddess.