Two Peas in a Pod

I often don’t realize how good I’ve got it. A darling husband, a couple of exciting jobs and two gooey, adorable kids. The grass is green, there’s a song on my lips and the first breeze of a lazy summer, tickles my freshly done hair.
In the immortal words of the Poet Browning,
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven
All’s right with the world!

Now because I am not an absolute idiot, the first thing I do is whip out my Gratitude Journal. I have a nifty app on my phone, where I can record events and things I’m grateful for. Two clicks and I’m in there, making a new entry. I write about Reya cleaning up her toys, without me reminding her. A good 2 minutes go in penning down my son, Nirav’s successes with long division and anxiety. My husband gets the next notable mention since he got me takeout food twice this week; and also bonus points because he’s cute. I ramble happily about our puppy and the new Coffee shop down the street; the color of my nails and how much I’m digging my exercise Playlist. Some of what I write seems silly. Airheaded even. Like who cares whether I drank 7 glasses of water every day. Or is it noteworthy that I kept both kids away from Peppa Pig for an entire week (it was so hard?). 

But even so, I jot down every tiny success into my phone. Because I know I would need it someday.

The weekend passed us by without too much incident. On Monday morning, I spotted the first gray clouds. Over Nirav’s head, as he battled a fresh set of challenges. I talked him down, worked on his fears and prayed this was temporary. 
It wasn’t.

By evening, I knew we were back in the GrumpZone. The air was different, my head hurt, and I was wading knee deep in tantrums and sulk fests. The non-glamorous parts of Nirav’s Autism were screeching for attention, and Reya? Well, she was just being a 4-year-old.
Now, I am very careful to let my kids express the emotions they feel. So tears, laughter, shame and pride are equally valued and talked about. I mean, it’s such fun to see them giggle with abandon on happy days. But when they’re both upset and vocal for hours on end, it can get more than a tad gloomy.

Two days later and moods weren’t better. I was exhausted from work and putting out what seemed to be the 7324th fight of the day. That evening, Reya came up with her eyes glistening and announced,
“Amma, I really don’t like Nirav.”

I was dumbstruck. She’d never been this blunt, but I had to be honest. Chastising her would not be useful. She felt what she did. How could I deny her sentiments? And if I yelled at her, would she confide in me the next time she felt a certain way?
So I hugged her for a long minute, while she listed all the things he’d done to offend. I listened. Held back my own tears, because right now it wasn’t about me.

Eventually, she calmed down. Wiping her tears, I tickled her chin. She fiddled with her toy train for a minute before walking back to where Nirav was reading books. He looked up, guarded and still raw from their last fight. Then without a word, he scooched back and she climbed over. I saw her snake an arm behind his neck and heads together, they continued reading. Two perfect little peas in a pod.

That night, I whipped out the Gratitude app. I needed to read about happier times. To remind myself that the sun exists. Birds warbled in the trees once upon a morning and with time, they would sing again. I looked back at all the bright little things I’d jotted down. Picture after picture of toothy grins and proud faces. I smiled and my life beamed back from behind the phone screen.

I often don’t realize how good I’ve got it. So I pressed the + button and typed.

“Today my kids discovered they may not always like each other. At about 1 pm, when they were screaming their heads off, I felt the exact same way. It’s hard to like someone when they annoy you endlessly or refuse to compromise. I’m sure I drive them crazy too.
But today, we also understood what it means to love. To stick with a person, through thick and thin, no matter how angry you are with them. To always stand up for them, even though you really want to run the other way. To talk about feelings even when you’re uncomfortable, because honesty today will shield you from a lifetime of sorrows.
Love isn’t pretty with a hundred, fluffy pink bows. It’s layered and intense and such hard work.
But for the right people? For a family as perfect as ours?
Love is as easy as pie.”

They slept under a mountain of pillows, hogging all the good blankets. Sister hugging brother, sibling loving sibling.
Heart full, I clicked a picture.
Then without making a peep, I slipped away. Grateful for quiet time with my husband and Netflix.

And somewhere high above us, in the cold inky darkness, the clouds parted.

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