I had a really blue day the other day. I had a hard time dragging myself out of the house (With a little 5 month old, I at least don’t have the trouble of not being able to get myself out of bed because I am pretty much forced to!) We decided to go check out a meet up event called ‘Movies for Mommies’.
Waiting for the bus on the chilly day, an elderly gentleman peeked into the bassinet to see Hana. Hana had her little mitt pulled back because she likes to be able to feel things – explore the world and being able to grab things and put them into her mouth as she saw fit. Never mind that she wouldn’t really feel anything new or different than her blanket and her snuggle suit, she wanted that freedom (aren’t we all looking for our own freedom?). But nevertheless, I was nervous about her fingers turning blue so I kept checking. ‘Her fingers look cold!’ said the gentleman. Ahh yes… the unsolicited advice. But it was okay, I was ready for it thanks to this buzzfeed article. ‘No no, she’s happy, and nice and toasty’. The buses were talking forever and then suddenly, a whole bunch came at once. The elderly gentleman was shuffling to see the number of the last bus in the line of busses that had come since it was blocked. ‘It’s the number 14’.
‘Oh, I’m waiting for the 50. How old is she?’
‘She’s 5 months old’ I said proudly. I had memorized it so I didn’t have to do math in my head anymore to calculate her age – it made me seem like a bad parent to pause those 5 seconds I thought – never mind that she was closer to 6 months now!
‘Oh that’s nice. So cute. I’m on to my great grandchildren now’
‘Wow! I thought wistfully. Will Ammu and Abbu ever see great grandchildren? Will they be able to have a meaningful connection with their great grandchildren? Will Hana ever meet her dadi? There is no hope of them having any meaningful connection – dadi’s Bengali had become so colloqial, and her speech so muffled it was hard to understand at all without the help of her aides. Would Hana learn Bengali? Would I have the discipline to? Would dadi be around when Hana was old enough to speak? Would we be brave enough to venture so far then?
‘We really enjoy the great grand kids. We don’t have to worry about spoiling them. Our son does that for us. We might even get great great grand kids! Our oldest great granddaughter is 22 and she’s getting married next year!’
‘That’s amazing! If you don’t mind me asking, how long have you been together for?’
’69 years. Next June we will celebrate 70 years! We got married while I was in the navy serving in World War 2. I’ve known my wife since Grade 5.’
‘Wow you look so great!’
‘Thanks! I do have problems. I was in the hospital last year – the asbestos from the ship bothers my lungs quite a bit. But I had surgery last year for my eyes and I can see 20/20. Haha, my vision is perfect. My wife has some problems with her jaw. She’s turning 80 in January. She’s catching up to me. She’s always four months after me. Oh there’s the 50 there.’
And just like that he disappeared. Well, no he walked slowly to his bus stop. I wanted to hear more about his life. Hear his life lessons on staying together for so long. More stories about his family but he left and I was not bold or courageous enough to ask him for more. And so the story ends there.
To be a better self the lesson there is to be bold. To listen to your heart and not hold back when it asks for something