I had planned to take the kids to India this summer to spend time with my parents. When I came back from my trip after sadhabhishekam, my girl asked me how thatha was doing. I told her that he is getting weaker and have a feeling that he may not make it till summer. She dismissed me saying that nothing like that will happen and once she is in India she will take care of thatha so well that he will be back to his normal self.
I showed the kids the sugarcane juice video on Sunday and they were surprised that thatha looked so different from the photos from January. They couldn't understand how he became so weak. When I woke her up Monday morning with the sad news, she immediately had tears in her eyes. She held me in a tight hug and told me "atleast paati is healthy. Lets hold on to her." My son just had a stunned look and did not know what to say. He asked me if I had told Nattu and I said yes. He asked what was her reaction. I told him about the hug and comment about paati. He then walked over to me and hugged me tight and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
I have to build on their memories of their thatha with stories about him so that they do remember him fondly when they recall him. He was not like typical grandpa loving and caring. He teased them and enjoyed when they got irritated. He loved my daughter's non-stop banter and the way she cleaned the house with broom three times a day. My interaction with my dad is what my kids enjoyed the most. My dad, being a lawyer, loved to argue about any topic. My discussions with him kept the kids entertained and they admired the way I was on par with him. I may never win the argument but I was always encouraged to talk my mind. While growing up, my dad always told my mother "it is better to discuss things openly with kids. This gives them the courage to come and discuss issues bothering their mind. If we don't, they will do things behind our back."
Have to keep talking about my dad to my kids...
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