It was her constant push that made me decide to book the ticket. We had looked at all options and figured out that all options were costly. We decided that we will pay the price as such moments do not come often in life. I wanted to be there with her when she was meeting her cousin (my nephew) who is based in the US and they had come to my native place to spend 10 days. The kids had already decided to create some cherished moments.
At the airport, I had to relent to her demands for a diary, which she bought to record all those moments ( at least that is what she said while I paid). So beyond my presence, she wanted a present to capture the present moments. I saw the advertisement hanging above us, “nature makes you human.” We were at gate 17 ready to board. That ad was about God’s Own Country and in the next couple of hours, we were excited to be there. My daughter got a window seat. In the next instance, she asked me those two questions, that were good enough for me to ponder:
Why is the plane going back?
Why is the plane taking so much time to take off?
I somehow made it up. I wasn’t sure how she took it. It was time for her to take a quick nap as she also took care of her little teddy bear. She showed me the clouds and told me that it has the form of a Lion. Meanwhile, I went through the flight magazine and was really excited about the time I had for the next four days with my daughter and nephew.
I was inspired by Neil De grass Tyson’s podcast recently. He tells the story of a mother and daughter walking down a street. The mother sees a puddle of water. She carefully takes the kid around the water and not allow the child to play in the puddle. To which he reacts like this: that the mother stopped the kid from experimenting cause and effect of a downward force operating on a fluid in that puddle with the kid jumping into that crater. That was a bit of curiosity at that moment that was extinguished.
I was prepared to give my full support to the kids and was looking forward to playing in the puddle. The scenes that played out in front of me (in the puddle) for the next 4 days were enriching.
Every time we set out, they would ask me the details of the place and then they would check it on the mobile and see if there is something interesting for them. I did take them to “Playazza” (a play arena for kids inside a mall) and the beach. It was a challenge to convince them to go to our relatives’ places. At home, we played arm wrestling and I lost multiple times and saw the joy on their faces. I told one day that we will go to the local museum. They responded by saying, ” It’s for children between 4 yrs and 8 ys old”.
In the night my daughter picked up a conversation on the belly button with my nephew. The point was “her belly button was her mouth when she was in the tummy”. She kept repeating the point and how that thought was triggered in her mind. I was having a great time rolling on the bed and laughing as my nephew questioned her every time for having such a thought. In fact, he told me this, ” Why would such a random thought like that come to her mind? To that, I mentioned that sometimes Mum and daughter discuss a lot of things between themselves. To which he said, ” That’s a weird family conversation!”
In the car, I played their favorite songs from a USB. They DJeyed from the back, they jumped and changed the songs. Sometimes there was a fight between ” Fight song” and “Demon “song but they both loved this song “joy of little things“.
Home, Where I don’t feel away or cold
Joy of Little little little things in life
I can fly fly fly up in the sky
The joy of little little little things in Life
Wondering why, no troubles in sight, everything’s at ease instead
Wondering why, time can fly, no matter how long it be
Wondering why, we’re in paradise, no other place so happy
One day they wore these T-shirts that read “Future hacker” and “Young, messy and crazy,” which just summarised the state of affairs at home. They managed to put their profile pictures on all the phones they had access to. In fact, I asked them about their older sisters’ social media hooks and my nephew said, “our sisters are hooked to Instagram, we like moving things like Nintendo games “. Talking about moving things, in those four days I noticed that they kept changing my phone wallpapers every day.
When I had to take them to not so interesting places, the price was to take them to places like Upper crust. They ordered their favorite dessert and I saw on the wall a story of food and I thought it was interesting and I told my daughter to capture it. Be it playing with Alexa with “Simon says” ( which I was not aware) to how they were determined to check with me on where I was taking them. I was also party to some interesting scenes between my mother and the kids. I was caught between two generations (the Late 40’S vs Early 2010).
Kids are sources of chaos and disorder. As Tyson says, “Our task is to instill less curiosity in the kids than to make sure we don’t squash what is already there“.
We were ready for the return flight. This time she did not ask about push back nor taxi. My daughter took my phone and put it on flight mode. I understood that Joy of little things is possible when I decide to go into flight mode. I became present and this time we had the presence of those cherished memories from the last 5 days.
Finally, nature and nurture make you human. I had to nurture myself into thinking like a kid in those 5 days. We are all endowed with a certain naughtiness as a child which came out when I was playing dodge ball and making faces for a selfie with them. There is no substitute for being around people you love.
Finally, It helped me lift my veil of seriousness and see the puddle where I muddled and cuddled them and I witnessed a bundle of joy in little things.