Aaj C ke papa aaye thy Mystery Reader ban ke. Aap to kabhi nahien aate. (C’s dad came today as Mystery Reader. You never come.)
She told me sometime last week. This Monday she got in to the car,
Aaj party thi. Kuch friends ke parents fruits le ke aaye thy. Aap to kuch nahien laate. (We had a party today. Parents of some of my friends got fruits for the party. You never get anything.)
Buzz’s class has various small events every now and then that the parents volunteer for. There are different things to bring like food, decoration, games etc. Then there are activities where you give your time like reading to them, helping them during nature walks, decorating the classroom for various festivals. Given that D and I work on tight schedules between dropping and picking Buzz off and getting home on time for Bugz, taking time off from work frequently to be part of the activities in person gets very difficult for us. Hence we mostly sign up for things to bring, hand offs of which happens without Buzz being aware. For activities that do require giving our time, we pick those that we can work on off hour rather than during work hours. Like there were sign-up sheets for various activities, most of which required about 6 hours of parents time during the academic year. I signed up for the only activity that requires 20 hours of parents time because most of that task required working off regular hours.
Buzz of course does not understand any of this. For her it is a simple matter of someone or the other’s parent comes to read to them every week but neither D nor I do. Some of her friends’ parents come with fresh fruit plates minutes before the party but her parents don’t.
Today was a Halloween Party at her school where the kids were to go Trick or Treating to the close by businesses. Parents were asked to volunteer to help out with taking the kids. The idea was to have at least a ratio of 1:2 (parent:child). I saw the sign-up sheet get filled every day and soon came to realize that we would have a teary Buzz on our hands if one of us did not go with her when most of her friends’ parents would be going along.
I juggled a couple of meeting and promised to make up for work later in the night. As I was getting her dressed I told her how I would go to school with her and spend some time there with her. A super excited Buzz walked in to her class, got busy showing off her costume and admiring everyone else’s costume, forgetting all about me. While she was busy with her friends, I found a quiet corner in her class, sat down and got busy with my work emails in the 15 or so minutes I had till the party started. Buzz came running to me suddenly, sat in my lap and refused to get up. As she turned her face to me, I saw tears in her eyes.
Mujhe laga aap chale gaye. (I thought you had left)
she said. I reassured her, I was not going anywhere, and hugged her. She sat in my lap till it was time to go.
Every now and then, as we walked to the various places, picked up candy, said our ‘thank yous’, showed off her costume, she looked at one of her friend who was holding my other hand, tugged my hand and said,
Aap mere saath aaye ho? (You came with me?)
Smile never left her face the entire hour long walk. Simple joys of a child. Checks and balances of life.