Abraham was here. Abraham, my grandson. He came, conquered hearts and left. There is such treasured divinity in a fistful of love, scattered with innocent nonchalance and an impish grin – half-credulous, half-dubious. An almost-toddle, a sure-stumble, a sidelong look askance, a clenched paw rubbing sleepy eyes – all these, and more, make up my Abraham! Strong, purposeful crawl strokes, thump, thump, thump, a quick stab at climbing the fridge shelves, left open inadvertently, an adorable, slumbering belly, gently rising, gently falling. Abraham, darling, you are cherubic sweetness personified, in sleep and in wakefulness!
You are a morning smile that goes a mile,
An afternoon cuddle that does the mind befuddle,
An evening lullaby like a dreaming butterfly.
A walk in the rain that washes the spirit clean!
The days leading up to the visit of this three-feet dignitary were filled with a joyous bustle that could never exhaust our spirits. The sun shone through the rain, through the racing wind, and through the cumulus clouds, gathered like fluffy sheep, on the horizon. The usual mundane trips to Shoppers’, Walmart, Loblaws, to ensure a suite of essentials, for the VIP, was kept ready at hand, became an exercise in sublime jubilation. Typical, after-work ennui vanished, our supper-times were replete with happy chatter and life acquired a different, more wholesome meaning. The baby-world became our new sphere of operation. Day-to-day conversations were smattered with expressions like ‘diapers’, ‘pack n play’, ‘ball’, high-chair’ and even uttering them, bestowed upon us a rapture untold. Suddenly, surreally, our black and white orb became shot with the shimmering colours of the rainbow!
Every nook and cranny of the house was scrubbed clean, and every household article, that had even the remotest possibility of coming in contact with Abraham, was Lysol-wiped several times over, with unflagging zeal. His bedroom decorated with framed photos of him and his cousins. A chicken stew, to tickle his palate, was cooked with a medley of wholesome peas, carrots and sweet-potatoes and his bed laid out to hold his play-weary body, and to goad magic sleep to his restless eyes.
Alas! Just when we thought the room looked perfectly Abraham-ready, it occurred to us that this special baby is unable to sleep in a room where light leaks in. Oh well! Nothing that a pair of doting and ardent grandparents cannot handle! Out came the thickest and darkest eiderdown from the linen-cupboard and with some effort, it was tucked snugly over the drapery rod on the window. Viola! Instantly, nighttime fell on the room at ten in the morning, and with an elated spring in my step, I left to attend to the kitchen. Minutes later, unable to keep myself from the decked-up room, I skipped over to take a gloating peek. A space, that I had left pitch dark, just a little while ago, was lit up with a bold swathe of brilliant sunlight. The bulky eiderdown lay in a mischievous heap under the window and the drapery rod was poised precariously on its pile, with a shamefaced grin – hee, hee, hee!
A dogged look of utter resolution began to emerge on the granddad’s countenance. Unfazed, with lips clenched, jaws set, and eyes focused, he whipped out some black garbage bags and a roll of heavy-duty masking tape. Then, armed with a step-ladder, he tackled the offending window from the outside. Any casual onlooker, trying to look in, would think the glass of the window had popped, it looked so utterly cringe-worthy but did anyone care? Certainly not us! Darling Abraham’s Comfort was of Paramount Importance.
The long-awaited Saturday, of Abraham’s advent, finally dawned. Notwithstanding the fact, that Abraham flew in on a plane, metaphorically, he rode into our hearts; Chariot Blazing, Crown Shining, Plumes Flying. At the airport, he reached out and touched my face tentatively with the tips of baby-butterfly fingers to ensure I was not a Facetime apparition. Convinced I was not, he glanced up and gave his Mamma a pleased smile, which seemed to say “So, this is she, and I can actually feel her?”. On reaching home, he curiously explored his new digs on all fours and seemed satisfied with what he saw. Ah! We heaved a collective sigh of relief that the Chief had endorsed all our endeavours.
At lunchtime, he sat in his feeding chair, with an arm casually wrapped around the back and enjoyed his chicken-stew with utter lip-smacking delight. On exhortation from his Mamma that his Dida had especially cooked the stew for him, he peremptorily summoned the cook from the kitchen, with a loud and clear “Eeeiii” and showered her with slurping, saliva-laden “oomas”, his name for kisses. If she attempted to return to the kitchen, he hollered for her again and smack, smack, smack came more “oomas”. And, what did these “oomas” do to the cook’s heart? It melted like a popsicle on a scalding sidewalk!
Like most children, Abraham adores the outdoors. Silverhill Park, minutes from our home, became his favourite haunt. On a gentle tempo, he rode the swing, pushing his sweetly earnest face into the wind and letting it play riot with his hair; blinking away the blustery sting from his eyes. It turned out, that the sand-pit is the niche after Abraham’s heart. The tactile feel of the gritty grains between his fingers bestows upon him a special thrill.
Abraham has an endearing proclivity for being startled; the elation lies in the anticipation and is heightened when one of us would advance towards him, in mock menace, uttering in a crescendo, “dhorto buroke” (let’s catch the old guy!) and he would squeal in utter ecstasy, even while he is caught and scooped up like a delightful dollop of chocolate cheesecake. The captivator, captivated!
It’s such a rapture to look back wistfully on the hours spent playing with Abraham, the dappled sunshine dancing on the little man’s face, the benevolent breeze from the mighty maples saturating us, in sporadic drafts. Our little wonder, in perfect tune with wondrous nature.
While the little lion slept a hush fell on the whole house and the adults tiptoed around, keeping a close watch on the baby monitor for the slightest sign of any stirring. Every sibilant conversation revolved around the little chipmunk and his high-energy antics till, eventually, gentle baby sounds began to emanate from the monitor and shadowy movements became vaguely noticeable on the screen. To my utter joy, the honour of Rousing Abraham was bequeathed upon me, by the exhausted Mamma and Dadda.
I tentatively cracked open the door of his room and peered into the gloom. For a moment, the room appeared to be devoid of any life; it was so utterly quiet. As my eyes adjusted to the shade, familiar shapes began to emerge. Just before panic could set in, I discovered a wee figure at the far corner of the pen, leaning out into the blue-black darkness, in acute anticipation of Mamma. His elbows and forearms rested on top of the crib rails, like Juliet in the balcony scene, hanging out for Romeo. “Abraham”, I said softly. Immediately, his tiny body visibly stiffened; this DOES NOT SOUND LIKE MY MAMMA, I WANT MY MAMMA, his entire being seemed to scream. I stepped closer. He sensed my movement as a sign of impending capture and immediately, dropping down into the crib, he powerfully crawled to the other corner, farthest from me. Digging his face into the mattress he curled up into a tight unyielding ball of reproach, his diapered behind sticking up in the air silently shrieking, “GO AWAY, I WANT MAMMA”. “Abraham”, I whispered again, gently. The ball curled up tighter. I decided to change my tack. “Abraham”, I breathed deliberately, Dida’s going to take you to Mamma”. The rigid little behind quivered a little, like excited jello. Again, drawing out my words, I persevered, “Let’s go to Mamma, Abraham”. Dear Reader, please note: “Mamma” was the operative word here. This time the ball uncurled into a full thirty-four-inches frame and began to sidle towards me. With rounded arms outstretched, anticipation writ large in deep brown, melting eyes, he climbed into my arms. Heavenly, delicate sweetness, all warm, like chocolate fudge on a sundae!
That’s when a huge moral dilemma assailed me. I could have kidnapped the tender bundle right then and there and disappeared into my bedroom, where I would have indulged in an extreme decadence of baby-feast. I could have tickled his belly to my heart’s content, kissed him all over from the top of his crown to the tips of his toes. Cuddled, pummeled and completely surrendered to that intoxicating baby thrill! Abraham, totally scandalized at the betrayal, would have caterwauled for his Mamma and she would have dashed to rescue him, or maybe not. She is a pretty cool Mamma after all! But, no, I didn’t do any of that; it would have been an outrage to the trust with which a little, credulous heart had employed me as a taxi-cab to get to his Mamma, and I could not be a disrespectful Uber-driver and take him on a detour, he clearly was not looking forward to.
So, tamely, against my very grandmotherly intuition, I carried the precious parcel to his Mamma!