“Let’s play konji konji Amma,” she says, her eyes pleading with me. I reluctantly put away my phone and scoop her up. We cuddle, bounce, trade squishy hugs and sit on the recliner looking at clouds through the window. It is mid morning. We have not showered yet. I am loathe to move, to bring order to what feels like chaos through the home. The doorbell rings and I curse under my breath as I get up.
We watch, Laddu and I, through the patio door as the guy from the local play-set store fixes our broken swing, tightens bolts and does a quick once over. He leaves without letting us know.
“Let’s go on the swings Amma,” she says and I am tempted for a minute. There seems to be a breeze. My phone says the temperature outside is in the early 80s. I reassure her we could go out later in the day. She nods and follows me to the sink where I do the dishes and clean.
She stands on a step stool next to me as I cut spring onions, tomatoes, bottle gourd and an assortment of things for a gravy. The cooker hisses and the clock strikes noon. I look out to the yard, the fence, the playset, the patio and feel a wave of remorse. Five years ago, I convinced Saathi it was the right thing to do. Our then three-year-olds would have a childhood to remember I promised. Maybe they still will but each summer passes without us actually sitting outside or running around.
The sprinklers come on early in the morning and on the occasional day I catch sight of them, I almost imagine the kids in bathing suits getting soaked. Summers have come to stand for all the things I procrastinate. Evening walks, sunset on the patio, coffee watching the sun rise, kids gamboling around, chalk drawings on the driveway. Days pass and we spend it inside listening to music, sprawled under the ceiling fan, hunched over electronic devices and letting a lifetime of regrets pile up.
Tomorrow I tell myself. Tomorrow I will insist that the girls run outside to play. I will let them get dirty, come inside smelling of mulch. I will treat them to lemonade and ruffle their sweaty hair. Tomorrow, I will join them on the swings and soar high into the air. Tomorrow I will go on that walk, hand in hand with my spouse and our children walking ahead of us. Tomorrow I will savor that sunrise and the sunset. Tomorrow I will live. Tomorrow I will strike one regret off my list.