Last year, when we found out we were expecting our second child, it made us ecstatic. But that ecstasy was somewhat short lived as we realized the pressures of bringing up two little ones (our older one was just about 3 years old at that point) in a land where we had little help and no grown ups (read- our parents) to guide us and hold our hands when we would falter! And then there was the fear of our little boy’s reaction, though I knew that he would be the best big brother one could hope for. And I was not wrong. Ever since he found out that his Ma’s tummy had a little special someone for him, his curiosity knew no bounds and neither did his love. Kids ask the strangest questions and at times their thoughtfulness takes you by surprise too! Our boy had the usual inquisitiveness about the new member and his actions often melted my heart. If we were out buying him clothes, he would without fail mention that we should also get something for his sister. If we were eating out, he would ask me to make sure that what I ate was not too ‘jhaal’ (hot/spicy) for the one in my tummy. And every night before going to bed he would kiss his sister goodnight and wish her a good morning just the same way. Every single day. Emotions at times ran high as the good man and I tried to make space for our baby girl and our voices would rise. Not a scream or any kind of verbal altercation …just raised voices of two freaked out people trying to get a lot done in a short span of time! But, if the little boy happened to be around, he would come rushing by and gently remind us to not raise our voices as there was a baby in Ma’s tummy and loud voices could hurt the tiny baby’s ears. And the day I slipped and fell down in the bathroom at 11.30 pm, four days before my due date, our little boy showed us love and gave us strength that I could not have imagined. A million things were rushing through our minds as we called the doctor and got ready to leave for the hospital while a visibly disoriented little guy was trying to take everything in his stride. My parents were with us and he put up the bravest face he could manage in the middle of so much chaos and trepidation, and waved us goodbye as we left for the hospital at around midnight. I did not have a lot of time to explain everything to him and he too did not ask for any. I watched him as we got into the car and while my heart was racing for our baby girl, it was also beaming with pride for our little guy. Baby girl was fine in the tummy and when we came back home in the morning after being kept at the hospital overnight for observation, I could see his face just light up and the first thing he asked was if his baby sister was alright.
Our baby girl turned one a few days ago and the little guy was very ill with a viral fever. He still blew up a balloon and drew a little something for her special day. Every day has been a treat watching them together and while I know that this is so because they are both still little, it warms my heart. Our little guy has grown so much and we couldn’t be prouder. It is a matter of time before the “i don’t like you-s”, “he is mean”, “she is not letting me do that” set in and the expression of love might not be so simple then! But for the time being, I am soaking in this unadulterated love… a love so different, so unique…this love between a soon to be five year old big brother and his one year old sister. It has taught me to be kind and brave, no matter what. And it grounds me in humility and puts the faith back when hope seems to be drifting away in this crazy life.