I make my rounds quickly, wresting iPads from the twin’s hands, grabbing school clothes for the littlest one, clearing clothes lying on the floor and generally making my impatience felt.
I plug the iPads into the charger and notice Pattu’s iPad has her messages open. Her friend has sent her something that is the equivalent of a chain mail. I sigh, swipe to delete and power off. I make a note mentally to talk to her about it.
Friendships are a recent thing in our home. Because the oldest are twins, they have had each other most of the time negating the need for a BFF or playdates. As they grow, they have been leaning away and gravitating towards other children in their ambit.
Laddu, on the other hand, comes home each day telling me tales about all her friends. She gets invited to play dates and her friends feature in all the doodles she makes. She writes notes to them and comes home with return notes.
I find it endearing. I also ache for them.
Growing up I have always been part of cliques. I loved the sense of community. I loved having an identity that was tied to the group. In my forties, I am discovering how much I lost out because of that.
As a new adult in Bangalore, I defined myself as being someone’s friend. I would come home for the holidays only to get on the phone the moment I reach. The joys of hours-long phone conversations apart, I lived and breathed friends. I truly believed that these bonds endured. Amma would shake her head and declare that friendships do not survive the test of time. I scoffed knowing mine would purely on the strength of my tenacity to hold on.
Fast forward twenty years, I am my mother.
I want to hold my babies close. I want to tell them that friendships and relationships are great but pinning your identity to another person is never a great idea. People change. Ideology changes. There is nothing permanent except the moment you are in and the people you are with at that moment. Anything more is a bonus.
Except, I don’t tell them anything.
Instead, I let my mind go back in time and relive just the highs. Nostalgia always blurs the edges, blunts the sharpness and permits you to view life with rose-tinted glasses.