By Aswathy Kumar
It was 6.30 am.There was still 15 minutes left for the alarm to go off. But I couldn't sleep anymore. I felt tired as I pulled the heavy comforter off of me and dragged myself to the kitchen to make my morning tea. Though I had gone to sleep as early as 9 the previous night, I felt exhausted. After all I had barely slept.
First there were these crazy thoughts. Thoughts of my daughter missing her school bus and finding herself stranded in the abandoned halls of her elementary school, just because her mommy had overslept. And once I did manage to sleep, there were these nightmares. Nightmares of my daughter's lunch leaking in her backpack, of her getting locked up in the school bathroom, and a few others that didn't even seem to make any sense.
But the clock was ticking and there was no time to dissect and trisect the depth of my dreams. Today was her big day and we had a lot to do. I had to iron out that perfect dress, team it up with the perfect bow and matching shoes, shower her, fix her lunch and go through my check list that I had meticulously scribbled down on the back of my cook book, one last time.
Emergency name tags....check
And after a big bowl of cheerios, we were all set...atleast she was. As for me, I was feeling hot and cold at the same time as our elevator made way to the the lobby, stopping at each and every floor, making the ride even more nerve wrecking than what it already was.
My first thoughts when I saw the shiny yellow bus menacingly pull into our front porch, was to run back home as fast as I could with my little one. What if the driver was some psycho? What if the bus was hijacked by some bullies or antisocial elements masking themselves as a bunch of five year olds? What if this wasn't a school bus but some weird time machine to transport our kids to some distant planet. After all this was the US if the movies are to be believed, weird stuff happened here all the time.
My thoughts were disturbed with the shrill sound of my daughter talking. She had already made a friend and was deciding who was going to get the window seat. I could also hear a kid crying behind a group of other anxious parents? 'Why can't Veda be like that?' I thought. I would have taken her right back home.
As I slowly watched the bus disappear into the corner of the street, I could feel a tiny droplet of tear beginning to well up in the corner of my eyes. I felt miserable and most of all I felt guilty. Guilty that the whole of summer when she had followed me around like a little kitten behind a ball of yarn, I had actually wished for this day to come.The day when she would magically disappear into the yellow bus and reappear later in the day. I felt guilty that I had silently wished for summer to be over when she had asked me to drag her in my clothing cart during my trips to the laundry room or asked me tell her the story of Krishna for the hundredth time.
I had made big plans for this day. I would do yoga, go get a latte with my girl friends, get back to writing my blog and what not. But I walked into my empty apartment with a whole load of free time yet clueless about what to do with it. I sat staring at my tv all day long and once I had enough of the channel surfing, I made a few trips into my daughter's closet to rearrange her clothes. I opened my fridge a couple of times to see what I would pack for her lunch the rest of the week. I made a chart, a to-do list and I checked the clock for the zillionth time to see if it had struck three.
I couldn't wait to get her back and hear all about her new school. I was going to take her swimming, biking, read as many stories as she wanted me to. Today I wasn't going to complain. And I didn't.
As soon as she walked out of the bus, I told her I was all hers. First she wanted me to give her a bubble bath while listening to her favorite stories. I told her all the Hindhu mythological stories, I could possibly think of, often checking the internet to see if I missed any.
Then she wanted me to dance to her favorite songs and I did. I was to be the boy, she was the girl, who I had to twirl over and over again.
She wanted to finger paint. And as soon as I set the paint on the floor, she changed her mind. 'I am done mamma, how about we play the operation game?'
And after multiple games of operation, perfection, uno and zimbos, it was almost 7 and I was so glad it was time for dinner. ' You have to sleep Veda, I said as we finished washing up. 'Sure mommy, but tomorrow we play mommy and baby crocodile.'
And as I said one last story before tucking her in, I felt glad that that tomorrow I will see that yellow bus again. Maybe I will get back to my yoga. After all I do need all the energy I can get, especially if I am going to be crawling around the house like a four legged amphibian.