Recently there has been a baby boom on my side of the family. Ronav, Moira, and Maaya are the new additions, with three of my cousins having attained parenthood in consecutive months. It has been ages since I moved ahead from those days of sleepless nights, diaper changes, and two-hourly feeds, so I have almost forgotten about the challenges associated with taking care of a new-born. Every task now seems like a piece of cake though it was far from that when I first became a mother. As I fondly look at the pictures of these adorable, huggable bundles of joy sent to me through WhatsApp, the moments of raising my little one come back in flashes. As my memory is refreshed, I wish I had a remote control to rewind back to those years.
Several summers ago, I had penned a piece titled “The Sound of Music”. It had nothing to do with the evergreen musical that ranks at the top of my all-time favorite movies. I had referred to the sounds that filled my parents’ home every year when as kids, my son and my nieces were out of school. In the absence of a regular routine, it was nothing else for them but a vacation in paradise. With doting Grandpa who chaperoned them for movies, restaurant visits, and ice cream treats and Gramma who tried to fulfill every desire, life couldn’t be better. The fun moments shared by the foursome produced a sound effect that was definitely at least a hundred decibels higher than what frightened the bandits in the Grim Brothers’ Town Musicians of Bremen
Looking ahead into the future, I had then visualized how it would be 15 years later when the kids were all grown-up and bogged down by day-to-day responsibilities. I had foreseen that the grandparents’ home would not hold the same charm because it was unlikely that all the children would gather there at the same time. My piece ended with a question as to whether I preferred the sounds of innocence or the sounds of silence.
Indeed, a lot has changed over a decade and a half in my home and in my brother’s. My husband and I have joined the league of empty nesters. From those busy days of seeing a child preparing for tests and quizzes; running him around for his piano lessons, his school, and extra curricular activities; and listening to his non-stop chatter, we now have quiet evenings to ourselves. Contrary to what I had earlier expected that I would cultivate new hobbies, socialize a lot, and get a lot of tasks done in his absence, I’m wrong. There is very little that I accomplish, and Thursday evening onwards, I feel happy in anticipation of him coming home for the weekend. My brother and sister-in-law still have their youngest birdie chirping around, but in another couple of years, they too will join our brigade. The fiesta of the cousins has not taken place in a long time. With the eldest working in an MNC, the middle two in college, and the youngest in high school, all geographically scattered around, the “Fabulous Four” have not been together for many years now.
Assembling under the same roof, they had driven us crazy when they were little, and we had desperately looked for minutes of tranquility. But I now have an honest confession to make. I yearn for those days of simple pleasures mixed with innocence. With a million bucks, I will not be able to get back those childhood smiles, the innocent laughter, the silly tantrums, and the giggles. And so here comes my two cents to those young parents who are shedding their sweat running after their energetic little packages: Enjoy every moment to the fullest. This is pure wholesome entertainment, but it does not last forever and comes only in limited supply!