I still remember the first day when we dropped Kuku to school. He was confused and dismayed. Why Mamma-Papa wants to leave me here? Alone. He was crying and so was I.
“It is a matter of only three hours.” I wiped my tears and said reassuringly to Mr. Husband who looked even more perturbed. The walk back home was turtle paced and home just felt desolate and bereft. Those were the toughest and longest three hours.
When we went to pick him up, we could see the glow on his face. A smile worth a million curved on his tiny lips. He ran towards me and hugged me tightly. “Mamma, Vobbyu” (Mamma, I Love You), were his broken words.
Since then, every morning it was a new-day-new-trick to get him ready. He would come up with innovative excuses to not go to school but we would have an up to the minute strategy already planned the previous night. After long struggles of reasoning, convincing, pestering; he would finally get ready and we three would walk to school.
The walk to school has always been a joyful one, with lots of jumping and frolicking and watching colorful flowers and pretty butterflies. The outburst would only start at the school gate. As soon as we reached the school, he would scream and cry, call for me ‘Mammaaaa’.
I would leave him there crying each day and would ask Mr. Husband, “When will he start going to school happily.”
“I don’t know, maybe like me even he does not enjoy staying away from you.” He would give some cliché dialogues and I would simply roll my eyes. I prayed every day. ‘I want to see Kuku smiling when he goes to school, I dislike leaving him like that.’
It has been a repetitive routine; until today.
As usual, after all the reiterated reasoning, convincing, pestering, Kuku got dressed up for his school. The bag hung on his shoulders, he held our hands and walked between us. On the way he screamed “Faaawarrr”, pointing towards the beautiful pink flowers and I repeated after him. “Yeah, Pink Flower.”
It is just five mins walk and we reached the school gate. As usual, I walked him to the entrance where his teacher stood to welcome him. This is the place where he has to start yelling now but today, he didn’t. He turned towards me and said. “Ba-Bye Mamma” and gave me his traditional flying kiss. He held his teacher’s hand and walked towards the class ‘happily’. I stood there waving my hand gently watching him go away. Before entering he turned once again, looked at me with a cheery smile and big eyes, and screamed “Vobbyu Mamma.”
This was the sight; I had been waiting for since the day I enrolled him for school. I should be happy but I am not. I am not happy. I have tears in my eyes and they are not of joy. I am gloomy. ‘My boy is getting independent,’ I muttered to myself.
I felt silly. “It’s just a matter of three hours.” I wiped my tears and looked at Mr. Husband who was equally puzzled at Kuku’s sudden change in conduct and my reaction against it.
Back home now, again, I feel, these are the toughest and longest three hours. I am sad, and I can feel the glimpse of an empty nest syndrome already. Just like this day, one day, my boy will be all grown up. One day, he would not need us anymore. One day, he would not need any cuddle sleep at night. One day, he would not need help in cleaning up. One day, he would not have any eating fuss. One day, there would be no messy house. One day, there would be no tugging to play and no pulling for attention. One day, he will be on his own and might have left the house for his ventures; leaving the two of us alone.
I dread that ‘one day’ and I don’t know when it might just come and knock me. Before it is here, I want to cherish all the little moments, till he is still small. Right now, I can’t wait for Kuku to come back, hug me, and say ‘Vobbyu Mamma’.