I watch, sitting on the front porch, with my neighbor, as my baby plays. Naive, foolish and happily clueless about the number of times I would let go of my precious baby the rest of my life – each time for a bit longer, and a bit farther away.

He’s 5. And is begging to go around the block, by himself, on his bike. I let him, my heart in my mouth until I see a mile-wide smile plastered on his beautiful face back around the corner.

He is 6. I drop him off at school, walking with him all the way to his class. Is that a lump in my throat as I walk back and, is it raining?

He is in 2nd grade. I drop him off at school, and watch as he walks in all by himself, barely looking back.

He is 8, and is going to ride the school bus. Our days of profound, silly, funny, and sometimes-confessional car talks are coming to an end. I become the crazy mom who follows the school bus on the first day of school, every year.

He’s in 7th grade and is off to Washington, DC for a leadership conference. We pack his suitcase together, planning every outfit. The days he’s gone are a hazy memory. He comes back, having had the best time, and with the biggest smile ever. I’m proud. And happy it’s over. For now.

He is 17, and is off to college—only a couple of hours away. The couch is my best friend. Does it ever get easier?

His sophomore summer, he drives from Florida to Indiana on a summer road trip. My gift to him. He comes back safe, happy and with a tattoo. (I’m curiously proud of what he chose: an image that combines his Japanese best friend’s family icon and the lion from India’s national emblem). Our relationship seems to have turned a corner. No more angry teen-frustrated mom conversations.

He is 21, and is off for a summer internship. In Baltimore. Two weeks after the riots. The days we spend before he leaves are a crazy mix of laughter, food, unshed tears, my moods, panic, and conversations that run deep. My unraveling is not pretty, and upsets him terribly.

The wings are stronger and the flights longer. But I sense the roots are getting deeper too.

To my sunshine, the one who always makes me feel better no matter what’s wrong.

I love you.


Velvet And Sandpaper

The house is quiet. After 3 weeks of guests that included cousins and our own kids, finally it’s just me and Raj again.

Back to the routine Raj and I are comfortable with.

Back to cooking only if we want to, and eat whatever is easily made.

Back to no mess on the kitchen table where she was making the beautiful velvet barrettes that she didn’t want to spend $$ on.

Back to just one dishwasher load a day as opposed to two or sometimes three loads a day.

Back to not tripping over games, carom board, laptops, dishes from late night raids on the fridge strewn all over the family room.

Back to watching what we want, instead of fighting over whose turn it is to pick what to watch.

So why do I feel like an elephant just sat on my heart and won’t move.

The truth is, whoever said it gets easier with time had no idea what they were talking about or must not have had kids.

It. never. gets. easier.