Thursday, June 16, 2011
The boys are out cycling with their Dad. Dinner's cooked and ready once they return. And I have nothing else pressing or that I cannot relegate to a later time. So this is the moment. And going with the birthday tradition of years past, it will be in the form of a letter to my son, who has hung around for 8 meaningful years!
Yesterday we celebrated your birthday. I know you are always going to be remember it in your own way, and through your own words, which maybe I will publish here if you sit down long enough to write, but for the sake of sentiment and posterity, I'd like to remember it again too.
It was fun, wasn't it? Sure, things are always more rose-tintedly fun on hindsight, but it was fun! It wasn't perfect in execution, given the short term planning, but the way it turned out was perfect, given exactly the short term planning. The idea was born in my head the evening of the 13th. By then, I had already started gathering little presents for you, and I started thinking of how we could give it to you. We could stack it all together in a nice little mound and have you go at it. Or we could hide it in little places and have you find it. Or, better still, we could get the whole family involved in your treasure hunt and have them also on the edge of their seats as you raced to a nail biting finish. Aaaah! Yes! This last plan is so much better. But so little time! And 2 action packed evenings on the 13th and 14th as we took the train to downtown to meet your father there and hang out in the big city! I was almost going to cancel on the 14th plan, when Appa convinced me that I would have enough time on the train to think and write, and enough inspiration by the lake, in the 72 degree breeze of a perfectly beautiful summer evening. That did it for me. The prospect of creating some happiness in that setting, while you and Thambi played on the grass.
Of course, ideas are always more romantic as vapours in the head, than what actually takes place. Like for instance, how I could barely manage 3 uninterrupted minutes on the train, before you or Thambi would have your next fight and want me to negotiate. Or how the wind suddenly turned cold by the lakefront and made our heads feel heavy from the onslaught of it. And how we had to hurry off from there quite prematurely, and head back to the station to make the next train.
And how I slumped to bed exhausted and wondering how I would ever manage to pull it off, with coordinating with all the family overseas. But it happened. I managed to come up with the rhymes and riddles and sent them out with precise instructions on the 14th, so by 15th morning, most everyone was clued in. And your first clue was taped to a balloon by your bed. You saw it, but didn't read it, and came downstairs to ask me about it. I told you it had mystery, but you'd have to wait to explore it until your Dad and brother woke up and were ready to bear witness to the proceedings. Oh and filming it all, wouldn't have hurt too. And so, a good 1 and 1/2 hours later, you began. Rhymes and riddles, pointers and clues. You went from one to the next, following precise directions and enjoying the thrill of the hunt. Family were on call, waiting for the phone to ring, their riddle to give, on the screen in front of them. I think they enjoyed it too. The miles and distances shrunk, as they were actively involved in your search at different points of the timeline. And you spoke to each and everyone with excitement and anticipation, as their riddles also led you to unearth your little waiting gifts.
Allow me a small digression here. I recently finished reading 'The Last Lecture' by Randy Pausch. (For those who haven't read it yet or seen that video on youtube, now's the time!). In it he talks about the head fake or indirect learning, a football term. How you think you're learning one thing, but it actually points to something else. How your opponent may nod to one side, but actually mean the other side and is trying to throw you off in the process. Or something to that effect. Well, this whole process of a treasure hunt had its head fake too. While it was a fun expedition of using your brain cells and not knowing what was around the next bend, to me it was all about how you would get one more chance to bond with the family from this distance away. And how they would get a chance to be part of your orbit too. It was a way to get you to talk and communicate more, given your oftentimes reticent nature. And I think it helped to draw you out a little bit. And most of all, I hope you got that at these important junctures in your life, it is not things wrapped in colour and tinsel, but people who matter, whose wishes matter, whose blessings count. But if that flew right past your head now, no worries. The way I figure it, we still have another 10 more years of being under the same roof, for it to be drilled in. And I can be quite the tiger mother on that count! :)
4 years back. You rode it, turned it and braked it and everything was good to go. You also decided to name it Blazer! And even there, we tucked that finall riddle which told you that one more present was on its way to you in the mail. But more of that when it comes!
In the evening we lighted up eight candles on the cake and brought it to you. It wasn't a surprise, because Thambi, excited and eager, shouted it out to you and so you knew, but then it was obvious anyway, wasn't it? There wasn't a lot of elaborate design process this time, and we went with a simple cake of summer flip flops for the summer baby that you are! You blew on it, though I don't think you remembered to wish on anything, and then we bit into it and it was delicious!
At the end of that day, as I tucked you into bed, you told me you had had the best day of your life. That it was so much of fun with the treasure hunt, and so interesting a way to do it. I am glad you thought of all the riddles Amma, you said. I am glad I thought of it too Kanna. And gladder still that I pushed myself to do it, when I could have settled for the even simpler option. Life is certainly more flavorful, when peppered with extraordinary moments such as these, when you have an acute sensation of enjoying all that it has to offer. One such moment for me, I think will be this final picture (top). We were both standing outside the restaurant, waiting to go in, when you asked me to click one of you. Click my birthday picture Amma, you said, and posed very sweetly. That slight smile playing at the corner of your lips, is one of your rarer varieties. And you looked dashing and with such nicely groomed hair. And what I liked most was your taking charge of it. You decided the spot, the pose and even that a picture should be clicked. And this is the new you. One who is slowly taking over the reins of his life, and taking responsibility for his actions and taking charge of a situation with a quiet strength and aura of control. I love these new colours of you that emerge from your young boyhood self, and I am grateful indeed at the prospect of all the years that lie ahead to unearth them all, a benediction of the highest Grace.
Happy date birthday yesterday, and Happy Star Birthday tomorrow, my champ!
Lovingly and best-est-ly!