In our part of the world, Mr. Golden Sun graces us with his warmth only for a few months in a year. So we do not take our summer evenings for granted. We soak it up, and revel in the small joys that the warm weather brings. Atleast our household does. My favorite part of the summer is the simple ordinary moments of togetherness spent in our front yard in the evenings. Want to get a flavor for our unremarkable but treasured summer evening routine?
4:30 P.M. – I leave work (on most days)
4:50 P.M. – Pick Ram from day care. I press the calling bell knowing that it will be followed by the sound of the kids rejoicing in chorus. While the little ones do not know to read the clock yet, they do know it’s time to go home. As I open the door, I see the kids lined up peering eagerly at the entrance. Not with longing, but with plain childlike curiosity. Whose mommy is here? Whose turn is it to be picked up? The kids inch towards me, one to give a high five, the other to hand over a block and yet another to show a book. Ram weaves in and out of the flock, with a wide smile plastered on his face. Perched on my hips, he asks his care provider – “Mimi milk please”. She indulges him and we exchange notes about the day before heading home.
5:00 P.M. – Ram is a stickler for routine. He likes to follow the same sequence of events every single evening – come home, remove his hat and hang it on the handrest by our staircase, ask amma to remove his shoes, grab them with his tiny thumb and pointer and place it on the shoe rack, and then head to toys in the living room. While he is playing, I snatch a couple of minutes to leave some rice in the cooker in preparation for his dinner. Then, we head upstairs to say hello to Guppies and give Ram his bath.
5:30 P.M. – Ram hangs out with me in the kitchen as I make tea and fix a quick dinner for all of us. On days he is really starving, he would cling to me with his life until some food settles his appetite.
5:50 P.M. – Da and Hari are back from work and camp. Depending on the mood of the day, either all of us are squealing in delight or are ready to pull each other’s hair out.
6:00 to 6:30 P.M. – Hunger pangs. Dinner time. Hari talks non stop usually at the table. While our ears are listening to the stories he is narrating, Da and I bury our faces in our dinner plates. Yes, we are two hungry hippos at this time of the evening.
6:30 to 7:10 P.M. – Da works with Hari on his keyboard practice. Ram hangs out with appa and anna in the living room while I do some preparations for the next day’s lunch and dinner. Hari has his bath.
7:10 P.M. to 7:50 P.M. – Outdoor time. Thanks to loot form amazon, craigslist and generous friends, our front yard is littered with toddler toys – cozy car, slide, play house, dump tracks and bikes. I grab a book and alternate between playing with Ram and reading while Da and Hari play tennis with a makeshift net in our driveway. We wave and chat with neighbors and regular passersby.
7:50 P.M. – The countdown and the meltdown begin. “Last five minutes guys” I warn. “Nooo noooo”, protests little Ram in an authoritative voice. “What? But mamma I played only for five minutes” moans and groans the anna. Since this is an every evening affair, Da and I are immune to the protests, moans and groans. We just smile and say. “4 minutes left kannas”
8:00 P.M. to 8:20 P.M. – We are inside for a bed time snack. Da and I tie loose ends in the kitchen.
8:20 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. – Hari and I brush our teeth mindfully while Ram gets ready for bed time. Da and I take turns doing bed time routine with kids. If it’s my turn to put Ram to sleep, I prefer to call it a day and hit the sack. Yes, at 8:30 P.M.! With Hari, both of us read our respective books for 15 minutes and cuddle up for some chatting before I head downstairs.
If you lasted this long, thank you for lending me your ears. Now tell me what’s your favorite part of the Summer?