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Last year’s summer vacation was quite unique and special. Usually, we plan to take a trip somewhere away from the city, but this time our calendars didn’t allow for it. Pre-school was closed and there were few children (read: very few of my son’s friends) coming to daycare. So, my 3-year-old was sure about not going to daycare. Instead, he came up with a great idea. He said, “Mumma, can I go to mummy papa’s house? (What he calls Nana – Nani’s house).
I never liked the idea of summer camp actually (personal choice) and jumped at this opportunity. I always wanted Riaan to cherish his childhood with grandparents as we did in our times. Summer Holiday meant ‘Nani or Dadi ka Ghar’ (grandparents’ house). I might sound old fashioned but I am sure once he grows up, he will have all the time to do his own things.
Though he is very attached to both the grandparents, staying overnight without us had never happened up until then. We both were very skeptical about how he was going to stay or react to this new arrangement. But my baby was firm on his decision every time I asked him if he was sure. We finally gave in also comforted by the fact that my parents were in NCR.
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When my parents heard this ‘good news’ – that their precious grandchild was coming to stay with them during summer holidays, the expression on their faces – well, there are no words in the entire dictionary to help me put them in words.
In a nutshell, for Riaan, Grandma is Santa Claus and Grandpa is the best storyteller in the world. Riaan could spend hours sitting with his grandfather, listening to our childhood stories. Grandpa and grandson used to make houses with newspaper, spend time colouring, or watching cartoons together. In the evening, both the gentlemen would go to the park, buy vegetables, fruits, and chocolates. Grandma would teach him and make him understand the ways of God. She would let him play with her dressing table too (which Riu enjoyed the most). Every day’s ritual would include a cake or pastry cutting along with blowing of the candle. Delicious food would follow and they would always have one more story to tell and give him the five extra minutes to play before bedtime. Why wouldn’t he love them? They have all the time in the world, they don’t have to make the kid follow a routine, finish his vegetables or make him sleep on time.
When I used to speak to him during his well-deserved summer vacation, he insisted every day saying, “Mumma aaj nai aao lene mujhe’ (Mom, please don’t come today to pick me). Just like that, seven days turned into ten. We literally had to beg him to come back home as we were missing him so very much!
As part of our everyday routine, my father had a habit of calling me twice a day- at 1- 1:30 pm and at 7 pm and he would only ask about how Riu was doing – “did he have lunch, make him drink water before you step out of office, what did he do all day?” and so on. But those 10 days I had to call them. The tables had turned 😊
I remember how my mom used to get upset when we were left for college or even after we got married. I now understand how difficult it is to spend a single day without your child. Now I can relate to her so well.
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In a sudden turn of events, 2 months later, my father passed away. When I look back, I feel content that I was able to fulfil my son’s wishes to spend summer vacation with his grandad and vice versa. For the rest of our lives, my son and I will remember what a great summer it was with grandparents.
I realized how blessed children are to have their grandparents by their side in good health and what great asset grandparents are to children.
We miss you Papa but hope you’re smiling down on us.