One Of The Many Beginnings

It is the third time I try and fail at folding my son’s hand towel to perfection. Pressing with an iron box would be too much of an effort, considering the size of the cloth. I proceed anyway. Two piping hot idlis get diced and distributed along with a dash of thenga chutney in a polychromatic tiffin box. The water bottle which has been stress-tested for leaks finally finds its place at the side of the bag. One more towel, a fresh clothing set and three spare diapers are carefully thrusted in the main compartment. The clock strikes seven.

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Today marks baby D’s first day at kindergarten. It hits me in waves that he would be away from me for most part of the day. Not that I have myself prepared for this, but the fact that I wouldn’t know how he would be taken care of in my absence makes my knee tremble. This month, not being the beginning of academic year is a relief to me. My munchkin is the only crybaby in his playgroup while every other kid has pretty much already coped up with their pre-school routine. Which means, I convince myself that he’d be heard (even otherwise. He is such a screamer) and attended whenever he needs help. The whole new adventure is scary and exhilarating at the same time.

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We enter the playschool. The teacher asks me to play with baby D and suggests slipping away the moment he picks up his favorite toy. “It’ll take time but yes, Children will eventually figure out strategies to enjoy the kindergarten environment”, she adds with a genuine smile. Meanwhile, I couldn’t help but tousle my baby’s hair a little longer and snuggle his back a little tighter while he gets busy playing with a heap of toys lying around. The other kids swarm around their new friend in no time.

The art of letting my child go feels like a humongous burden over my shoulders for now. There are questions. There is fear. There is emptiness. Then there is fear again. The transition feels like unboxing my most fragile treasure in a room I am totally unfamiliar with.

But given a chance to rethink my decision, I wouldn’t but stand here in the very same place and mentally absorb the essence of this very same day in all its glory. Because when the time is right, you just know.

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In baby D’s calendar, today tags one of the many many beginnings where he would experiment life without being shepherded by me. I prayerfully hope this phase teaches him to learn through play, socialise more and remain kind, honest, helpful and empathetic to every creature despite their role and importance in his own life.

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Waving a silent, lifeless bye bye, I walk towards the entrance escaping everyone’s notice when all of sudden I hear my very own blood and flesh cry his eyes out from behind. “He’ll be alright!”, I tell myself while standing oblivious to his voice and scurry past the blocks trickling tears all the way home.

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Love,

Divya

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