Dear Old Nadi,
Its Nov 2010 and yesterday you turned exactly 3.5. In the last few months which have been so vulnerable – for lack of a better word- for us, I have seen you emerge as a little boy of such great sensitivity and maturity that I am myself taken aback. I thought I knew you so well, all your nuances and especially what you were capable of- but you far surpassed that. You dealt with the whole suddeness of our situation so beautifully, so gracefully that I think I ended up drawing strength from you.
I remember how you walked into the hospital room 3 days after you last saw me and I had been worried that you would launch yourself at me and everyone would react since I was still a little wobbly after the surgery. But you walked in so serenely- and said “Hello mama, tum theek ho gaee?” You seemed like a grown up stranger to me- not my little boy and I found myself replying to you in similar formal tones. Ten minutes and 2 lifetimes later, you were the same again. Bouncing on the hospital bed, yappering non stop but yet still slightly hesitant around me. I have never felt more like I let down someone. I told you about your sisters. You insisted you wanted to say hi so Abba took you to the NICU where you rapped on Leilas incubator so hard, she actually jumped up. Its something that muses you endlessly even 3 months later. You even went to sleep with me on the bed- with a pillow lodged in between us to protect me from your sleeptime kicks. Itr was at that moment I felt the blurry craziness of the last few days start fading. All my babies were in the same place with me.
You loved bringing Leila home and the first day back, you insisted on showing her all your books and toys and telling her about your favourite red Puma shoes that no longer fit you that you have saved for her. You however also made sure she knew that she would be sleeping in her cot whereas the coveted middle of the bed position was yours.
These days as we watch Leila blossom in her role as younger sister, you have your own agenda. Your favourite movie right now is Alvin and the Chipmunks and you love being the character of Dave, dressing up to go to work. You wear a tie to school everyday and have been waiting for winter to come so you can also wear a jacket. Your drama and flair for enacting scenes from the movie out are tremendous. Not only do you know entire dialogues by heart, you have an innate understanding of the characters. I honestly thought 3 yr olds were a lot less colourful than this.
You also love outdoors. I watch you run on the track like Abba everyday at the park and you have taken a shine to football. Your sports day is coming up – the first ever- and I am looking forward to seeing you run.
You are also a stickler for the familiar- you like your own things your own routine a lot but if I suggest something out of the blue, you are as game. However, you do have to be bribed sometimes.
Even though you are a riot with people you know, in public you are still the shy gentlemanly sort. You tend to stick closer to the people you know and smile. It takes you oh about 15 minutes to loosen up and let the real you emerge and then, there is usually no silence.
You have a super eye for detail. You will notice the oddest most interesting things about people, places, situations. You pick up logos, colours, shapes, tones and then you use that knowledge in some hilarious way later to create connections in your own learning. It has made me more observant, more clued in as I look at the world the way you do and possibly see much more than I did previously.
You finally love school. Last year though you stopped crying after the first month, I always got the feeling you went because you thought it made me happy. I didn’t enjoy that at all. Even though you participated and were your funny self, I felt you held back. You were more you at home, more relaxed more communicative. But this year, I have seen you refuse to let me walk you in claiming you are now a big boy and do your funny jiggy walk into the gate stopping to wave back at me and wink at times. I have seen you chatter non stop while in school also and willingly tell me all about your day, down to the last detail of who wore what coloured socks.
The thing about you that I possibly love the most- and there are many which make this cut- is the fact that you are so perceptive to other people’s emotions. You pick up on vibes- and feelings in ther air and though you might not acknowledge it then, a day or two or ten later, while chatting in bed before sleeping, you casually ask or mention it. This trait breaks my heart and makes it swell in the same breath. Because it means that you have a capacity for emotion that will inevitably make you hurt over things, more so than others, but it also means you have a capacity for emotion that will make you a wonderful person, caring and loving. Your wife may thank me for this one day.
This is who you are- this amazing, funny strange little wagon- who walks his walk, talks his talk. I love your individuality, I love your pause before action stance, I love how you think and I love the person you show the potential of becoming one day. I love you Nadi. May you have the best most brilliant life ever.