Monday, January 18, 2016

The bundles of joy in my life!


My eyes did not move away from the arrivals for those 40 minutes after I got to know that the flight from London had landed. I knew the immigration and other formalities would take time but still, my eyes waited only for her. My sister was finally coming to India after 9 months since Myra was born. I hadn’t seen her in about two years but I was most excited about meeting my nine months old niece, who I only saw on video calls. She was born on 14th of June, 2014; the day I understood the true meaning of love. A sense of family I never realized better before. Myra- Indian citizen, born in London and brought up in New York!
I finally saw my brother-in-law walking outside. My eyes still searched for my sister and I saw her holding Myra. I went running towards her. “I’ll hug you later!” And I grabbed Myra from her. I hugged the little one tight as close as I could. I couldn’t believe myself that I was finally holding her in my arms. I looked at her and right away, I fell in love. She was looking at my face, still figuring out who this over excited lady was. Then she looked at her mom (my sister) and realized I wasn’t her and started crying for her. I felt a little disappointed, but then I took all the efforts to give her all the comfort and love she wanted to consider me a part of her family. Her acceptance had become so important for me. Seeing the possibilities well up in their eyes as you spend time connecting with them is absolutely priceless. And those were the best moments of my life that I shared with her. We played peek-a-boo and all kinds of games that made her giggle.
Then came the day when we had to part our ways again. This was the worst. I was trying hard not to cry in front of the little one, knowing that I won’t be able to see her again for a longtime. She was smiling as always and waving me goodbye, too innocent to realize. I hugged her for the last time. That’s the day I realized how much better a hug feels when it comes from arms that can barely reach around you!
We continue to Facetime again. I still love the connection I share with her. She took my name recently in the cutest way possible. It is the cutest thing listening to a toddler trying to figure out how to make the sounds of your name with their newly wielded skill of speech. The way she calls me “Neaa Massii” (not a typo) and naming alphabets like I for “Ilooooo” (instead of Igloo) with the widest smile has become my favorite since that day. I try teaching her as many things I can. It makes me feel every bit the cool aunt being a part of helping her develop a rich life full of passions. With her is the most special long distance relationship I share! Something I’ll treasure for lifetime.


She is the daughter of my eldest sister, and unlike with my other sister; I shared the whole journey with her since the day when she got pregnant. I was with her when she went for her first ultrasound. She showed me a picture of the ultrasound and I had no idea what I was looking at. She pointed out at the various points explaining which part of the body it was. Not that I understood much that time, but all I knew then was I was super excited for being around my sister through this journey of hers. And that is what I did. I was around to see the transition of belly size from size 26 to size 36, from weighing 50 kgs to 70kgs! When she threw up for initial months even to smell of food, when she experienced her first baby kicks till the day she left for the hospital to deliver the baby.
I remember it as clear as day. It was my first day at my new workplace, when I heard the news. I remember sitting in the office conference room, getting done with all the joining formalities and I got a call from my mom, “Neha, it’s a baby girl!!” I shouted with excitement at the top of my voice, “What, it’s a girl!!” And all the other colleagues sitting with me in that room started looking at me. The look on their faces was as if I had a baby myself. (Yes, I know doesn’t make sense but well that was the look!)
It was a Monday and I was traveling to the hospital from office in the cab. I remember thinking that it felt like the longest drive ever! It was such a rush of excitement that I had never felt before. The whole ride to the hospital I thought about how I was going to hold the new born. I ran towards her room and opened the door. I instantly was so captivated with the baby smell all around the room. I stood there in amazement. I was ecstatic. I cleansed my hand using as much sanitizer I could use. I went and stood beside her bed watching her sleep. I was so anxious to hold her. She was wrapped up in a clean blanket, and looked so pure like an angel. Bundled up like a little bunny as if she was still in the womb. My brother-in-law set her in my arms and I couldn’t believe she was finally in my arms. I stared into her brown little eyes and knew instantly that I would love this little one forever more than myself.

Since that day, all of my free time is hers. I am amazed at how fond I am of both my nieces. It has been such a new experience for me. Her innocence makes me feel like a little kid again. My relationship with my sisters is unbreakable but the relationship I have with my nieces doesn’t compare to the ones with my sisters. Whenever I am with her, I feel like a kid again. It is so exciting to watch her learn new things every week since she is born. It is a feeling I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
The other day, we both were lying down on the bed. We were having some conversations only me and her understood. And she slept off in my arms that day. I couldn't think or acknowledge anything else around me. The world seemed to stop, hold its place in time, just for that perfect moment. The connection you feel when one of these precious little people surrenders to sleep, feeling safe with you, is completely disarming. When this happens you have no desire to move, to put them in bed or to do anything else but experience the moment.
Being the youngest in my family, it was very difficult to understand why everyone was always so protective about me. I began to understand how and why parents worried so much about me. Watching this little one grow up stirred up the beginnings of parental protective impulses.
The best feeling is coming back home to them. The moment I enter the house, she smiles in the happiest and most welcoming way. It doesn’t matter how low you feel, how much you screwed up at work, or how something else went wrong; when you see your nieces, all that just fades away and you actually feel as cool as they see you. Their optimism is contagious.
If only there was a way to protect them from heartache, danger or any kind of pain, I will do just that in a heartbeat. 

P.S. Some quotes mentioned are taken from one of the posts on: