Growing Up

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photography of woman listening to music
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I pass Laddu’s bedroom en route to mine. A cutout of a rainbow is taped to her door. The door is closed. It bothers me but I can’t quite figure out why.

I straighten the bed in Pattu’s room. All around me are signs of disorganization. I sigh and look up. On the ceiling right above her pillow is a circle of shooting star decals. Decals that once adorned the wall behind her headboard. I pace, I fold the discarded clothes, I pick up trash and I walk out.

I am in the study mulling if I should watch One Child Nation on Amazon Prime now or late at night when there is a sense of calm in the house. The strains of pop music rise and fall as Pattu turns the volume up on the speaker and then plugs her earphones in.

All around me are girls in flux. Young girls morphing into bigger ones and morphing right back into babies. They hug me from behind. They jump on my tummy when I relax. They tickle me when they think I am sleeping.

They wear crop tops and form-fitting jeans and look to me for approval in the mornings. They dry and brush their hair and then very carefully tease out a lock of hair to frame their face before looking at themselves in the mirror critically. They catch me looking and scan my face for signs of approval.

Their bags contain LOL dolls. They also contain wishlists that tell me that their tastes are changing. They no longer run and play outside. They saunter, their bodies swinging just so. They play with dolls but they also play-act scenes from their budding friendships at school.

Most of all they talk. They want to know about what is happening in the world around them. Their ears are attuned when I discuss politics over the phone. They are like sponges, learning, absorbing and storing inconsequential things to connect the dots and make sense of everything around them.

Just when I think the days are long, insufferably so, I find the years speeding up and disappearing. I realize with a catch I have seven summers with my older twins, just seven.

They are growing up, faster than I can imagine.

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