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Joy of caring

Photo shot on my phone @ apartment garden

It was my decision to drop and pick kids from school ever since 2 years.  I want to. At least as long as I can. Who knows where they would be when they take up their higher education and if I would get a chance to do that? 

However I did not think this way few years ago. When I was working for a company and I had to drop them in the morning and then make it to office, I always thought that I was losing on time. I thought I should probably look out for a private transport or school bus. Doing so I thought I could leave office early and come back home early to spend time with kids. Coming home early, never happened. However early I went to office, I could never come back early. Reason one being, life at my office began post 12 so obviously it ended late. People dropped in late and worked late hours. Second there was no work from home option or office transport that would force some discipline. Third was more a social mindset obligation. I wanted to grow in the organization. And for most such aspiring working moms, availability was always questioned. So I made myself available.

Luckily, my brother would insist and morally force me to drop the kids during those days. When I had occasional early meetings, or was sick he would take over the responsibility of dropping the kids. My mom would pick them back from school. He ensured I drop them. Indirectly he ensured I spend that school commute time with kids. Today with all pride I can say that it was the best thing he indulged me into. I can’t thank him enough for having pushed me into it. Now, the morning drives are one of the best parts of my days. The small treasures that I have discovered and discover during these drives with my small wonders are priceless. One such today.

It was already 8:04. The youngest (my niece) was fully ready as always. My mother or brother in turn gets her ready by 7:30 itself. My daughters were running about here and there. Breakfast taken; elder’s socks and shoes not worn; younger’s shoes not worn. I pick their school bags and my niece’s lunch bag and insist them to wear the shoes and/or socks in the car. We rush into the lift. 

By the time we reached first floor from 14th they wore their socks and shoes. They opened the car and jumped in. Out of the blues I remember that the younger one had to carry leaves for her activity. I announced that I would pluck some leaves near the school.

The elder said “Amma, I will go pluck some leaves by the time you start and come near the gate.”
I was surprised. My elder panics whenever we start after 8. She says she would get late if we start post 8. She usually starts being hard on me, the younger and the youngest on occasions when we start post 8. She says she needs time to walk from the car-stopping place to her class. The walk involves taking several floor stairs with her heavy school and lunch bag. Thinking of all that and the fear of being late to class puts her into panic state. Knowing that we started post 8, she still insisted on helping her sister in getting the leaves. That turned out as a surprise for me.

As I start the car, I questioned “Are you sure? Do you know the time? And, plant from the parking slot is quite far. Will it not take time?”

She looked at the car display screen and exclaimed “Its 8:11! No. I will not get the leaves. I will be late. Btw where will you pick the leaves?”

I said “I was planning to pick some near the exit gate. That is if we started early. This is what I told yesterday to your sister. But now, we will go to school. You can get down and walk to your class. I will park the car. Pick some leaves and drop the other 2 to the gate.”

By now we were close to exit gate. She insisted I stop the car. She got down and plucked a cluster of leaves from a show plant.(probably it is called umbrella plant or so) It was beautiful. Several leaves clustered in a circular position to form a flower / umbrella like structure. She rushed back into the car and handed the leaves in the younger’s palm.

The younger thanked her with her cute smile.

I acknowledged her caring gesture. I said “I am moved. Despite of knowing that its post 8:10, you cared to get down and help your sister. That’s very sweet of you. Thank you.”

She felt happy with my acknowledgment. Sometimes genuine small gestures mean a lot.

We drove to school. It was 8:22. The first bell is at 8:25. Usually I don’t park the car for it involves searching for a parking slot. And finding the slot in school hours is like filtering information from google in peak traffic hours. I stop it and the elder collects the other 2 and drop them near the gate. If its 8:15 or more, then I park the car. The elder runs and I walk the other 2 to gate. Today for my delight the elder said “Stop the car, I will take them.”

The younger was in her own world asking me to hold the leaf so that it does not get crumpled while she got down with her bags. The elder gently took the leaf from her hand and also helped the youngest get down. The younger was still in her own world. She does not depart with out a bye and a flying kiss to me. The elder requested the younger to make it fast. The elder took the youngest’s hand and all 3 walked towards the gate.

I sat there watching them for few seconds. It was a sight to capture. The vehicles behind, by then, had started honking. I had to move despite the desire that I wanted to stay back and watch them. I moved on.

I was happy. The elder had managed to plant a smile on my heart.

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