Spent some really good hours with a friend and her 9 month old son today. The boy is absolutely adorable -- will be really handsome -- and it was so, so nice to see mother and son doing their thing. I loved the way he would just throw himself at her, completely trusting that she wouldn't let him fall. Of how she lifted him over her head and he simply stretched his arms out and shrieked with delight. Or how each time she left the room, he would crane his neck to see her or to hear her footsteps. Mostly I really cherished watching the exchange of touches between them.
When I was little -- as in not five feet 'little' but a kid! -- and I'd hurt myself or fall down or bump into things (which was usual and has not changed), Papa would rub wherever it was that I'd hurt myself and say, "There, it would now be all right." It didn't 'do' anything to the injury as such, but I would feel much better instantly. Or how when my period cramps would get really bad, Ma would fuss around me, stroke my hair and get me a hot water bottle. The bottle helped heaps, but it was the gentle touching that helped much more.
I clearly remember when I was 13 and Thamma (paternal grandma) was staying with us... I had developed these black corn-like things on my ankles from wearing tight shoes. Now my (late) Thamma was obese and didn't move around much. However, every nigh, unfailingly, she would painstakingly rub cream on my ankles and massage it in. "Snow cream will soften the skin and make the marks disappear," she would say. The marks did go away. She was so, so good at providing physical comfort to other people. Pressing your forehead if you had a headache, pinching the eyebrows (er, can't explain it in English but it's the most divine thing EVER!) if fatigued, gently massaging cream to relax the skin, the most bloody awesome head oil massages... It's amazing the things I have picked up from Thamma. Things I hadn't realised I had learned.
Like 'dotting' my face with cream before rubbing it in because "it spreads better and you don't miss out any area." Or knowing that when another is tired, nothing works a miracle quicker than running your fingers through their hair. So far I have not known anyone who does not like it. She 'finger combed' my hair every night when she stayed with us.
I am really fatigued today. I was fine in the morning but once my friend left, I have progressively become more and more tired. Now I feel it's in my bones and I miss Thamma so much. I miss my Ma a lot too. I had always assumed that I would have my mother around whenever it was that I had my first child. Now I don't know when I'll see her; though it's definitely sometime Bub's born.
I wonder how it would have been had either Ma or Thamma been around. I know it's normal to not be able to sleep in the third trimester but perhaps Thamma would have gently patted my back or stroked my hair each night I lay awake. And perhaps every time I would have said my back hurts, Ma would have rushed to get me a hot water bottle. Then arranged cushions around me, pulled a stool or something for me to rest my feet on, offer a back rub, touch my cheek and say, "Aaram kore di?" Papa on the other hand would have gone and brought some tandoori chicken, knowing it's comfort food for me.
Home-cooked Indian food, made by someone else -- that's what I have missed most during my pregnancy. I can make most dishes myself -- and I have -- but I have sorely missed the sense of being pampered with food. Restaurant food is just not the same. I have had -- and have -- many, many cuddles and hugs (Partner is really good with those), but I think I have really missed my Ma's concern. And I cannot tell her how much I want her near or how sorely I miss her because then she would really miss me and get upset.
Now as the date draws nearer (still couple of months though), I am getting sort-of edgy. Wondering about what's to come and wondering what I've missed out on because I am so far away. If I was in India, would I have had a naming ceremony for my child? And a traditional Indian baby shower? With bangles and henna? Would my baby have had many pishis and kakus and maamas? And many uncles and aunties instead of now calling everyone by their first names? On names: I know Bengali nicknames are joked about and well, I have at least seven that I can recall instantly... but would my child have had as many names...instead of Mum struggling with getting any names on the shortlist?
Indian or Australian? Complicated Indian? But how the hell will the Aussies pronounce it when even 'Jhoomur' has become "Zhumoore"? (Though to be honest even most Indians have had trouble pronouncing my name, rolls eyes) Simple Indian name? But then would Ratan become Rat and Pooja turn to Poo?! Based on grandparents? But Partner didn't know mine and vice-versa and 'Abha' would become Ava... it's not the same. A name that has a meaning? But desi or Aussie meaning!?