Its 4 am and I come about to, two small hands searching for me. Slowly, he inches towards me and curls up. Intuitive, warm, animal like half-here and half in nowhere; half dreaming, half-dream-kissing! He is full of love. This three year old man of mine!
He likes to huddle together with his grandparents, he likes group hugs, he kisses top of our heads and very softly and unabashedly he whispers ‘love you, mum’, while we are in bed! That special whisper just for me!
And, all the running around and about, all the fatigue and frustrations, all the fun and frolic, even the occasional tantrums and time-outs... worth THIS while! This sweet smelling, mussed up hair, bleary eyed, chipped toothed smile of a curled up toddler ball!
He overwhelms me!
With his fast talking, incomprehensible toddler words, and his surprises-me full sentences, his understanding of complex feelings, the now naughtiness and now that far away look in his eyes, his need for me and his need for independence. All of it!
And, I have to rein my thoughts in, of the ‘should’ sword dangling all the time! I should have done better as a mother, I should have done this and I should have done that, I should perhaps spend more time playing and I should get him more stuff, give him more love – if that was even possible! The accusatory self weighing the implications of falling short of expectations; the pointed look over the tortoise shell rim glasses of my septuagenarian self!
This is what being a mother teaches me again and again. That we will fall short and rise up again. That we are beings with spirits bigger than our skin and breath and bones. Being his mother has grounded me.
This boy of mine! He is abundant in his warmth and contentment, his laughter, his tenderness, and in his loud, boisterous ways. He yells and waves his arms when he talks, as much a Bihari-Punjabi as he can possibly be; yet he is shy and empathetic in equal measure: slow to warm to those he doesn’t know, and always ready with a kiss and a heartfelt apology when things go amiss and he’s to blame with a lilting “Nirvaan’s a duffer!”
This is Nirvaan: a goofball of contradictions. At 3; he is shy & loud. Brave + hesitant. He is determined to fill his own water glass, or climb stone walls or tables; yet needs help with hand wash and shoes or putting on his pants (or how about none at all!)
He is at the delightful age of matchbox car love right now. And, videos of Power Rangers, Waybuloo and Dora equally! Tinker Bell being the quintessential girlfriend!
He’s content to play by himself for long stretches of time, driving his cars about on their imaginary journeys. He also loves building snug forts out of couch cushions and quilts to hide in, and boxes of any size suitable to tuck himself into. The world is small and big for him at once; and he’s at it’s center still: sturdy, delighted, charming, stubborn.
He is my love, my heartbeat, my soul. My son!
Happy Birthday, Autumn Sunshine!
Copyright © Neerja Yadav