A few months back my daughter and I took a solo (han, err i mean SANS hubby) flight to Karachi, Pakistan. Those of you who have taken this trans Atlantic flight know it took us approximately 19 hours (including transit time in the United Arab Emirates) to reach our destination. (I will be posting some of our random adventures as I recall them- stay tuned). For now though to sum up, it was a very very very very very long time (especially in toddler years) to travel with an almost 2 year old (at the time) in the confined space of an airplane. Yet somehow we both survived the trip. The purpose of this adventure was to surprise the grandparents and celebrate my daughter’s second birthday with them. It had been about 8 months since our official move to Toronto. Not so long as to really warrant a trip, but the doted on first grand child was SEVERELY missed. We decided on staying there for two months (when the airfare costs a pretty penny, you want to make sure you milk the stay for what it’s worth!) . Plus having no real commitments to anyone during this period other than that towards my child of course (ehh the hubby can manage alright without me :p), it was a good time especially considering it would be a long time before I would be able to take such a long vacation again (if ever) before little madam’s preschool started this coming fall.
I won’t bore you with the details of the luxuries of third world life that I thoroughly took advantage of on this trip. The holy Trinity of Matriachs i.e. the Mother in Law, Mother and Sister In Law were in full force to take care of all of her highness, the Toddler Queen’s needs. I got attention by default because I was the sacred shell from which was birthed this divine creature. I cannot even begin to explain to you the kind of love these women have for my child. I have never witnessed this kind of affection before, and perhaps it is perfectly normal for grandmothers and aunts to have this kind of bond, which I am sure it is. Half the time we probably don’t even pay attention to it, taking it for granted. However, the times I have taken specific note to just observe the love in action, it truly has amazed me. The grandmother’s aside for a moment, let me tell you about a most special connection that my little toddler has with her aunt (who she lovingly calls Popo i.e phupo i.e father’s sister).
Until very recently I used to think that my husband and I were one of those ‘match made in Heaven’ couples whose entire lives were strategically laid out so we would find each other at the precise moment that was ‘meant to be’ in order to create this most beautiful being who was destined to be born. You see I had already dreamed of my daughter long before I ever dreamed of my future husband (a story for another post). However, a discovery on this recent trip back home made me rethink this hypothesis and sparked a new theory. The love story of my husband and I was never really about us. It was about the kindred spiritual connection between our daughter and her aunt.
Before you think I am some astrologically guided hippy (Ok fine I admit, it fascinates me), I am generally a practical/logical minded person but cannot help but believe in karma, fate and destiny (Like Oh-Em-Gee how awesome would it be to have three friends with names like that!). I came about this revised postulation whilst rummaging through my old art portfolio bag. I had some paintings and sketches that I had done during art classes many summers ago. I had not looked at these in years. I turned to the back of one of the sheets to a pencil sketch of a young woman sitting cross legged with her hair up in a loose bun holding a sketch pad herself. I could not recall when I did it but assumed it was from the art class, as there were always a number of students, past and present who would drop by and often become subjects for other students as well. Something about the sketch pulled me in closer. I stared at the face. And then I went pale (well my wheatish complexion became a shade less wheatish- think Basmati brown rice not white hehe) and a shiver went down my spine. I could not believe it. It was a sketch of my sister in law. A sketch I had done when I was 16 years old. Before I ever knew my sister in law to be, before I ever met my husband to be! How was this possible? Maybe it just looked like her and my imagination was getting the best of me. I took the drawing down to where my mother in law was sitting. I asked her to take a look and tell me who the woman looked like (…anxious pause). She confirmed the likeness, as did my father in law who happened to pass by. I finally showed it to my sister in law and she too agreed it looked like her and proceeded to tell me how she used to attend the same art classes. Then we figured out the timeline for the drawing must have been when I first joined the class as she was about to finish and leave for University( Fine, all logical just a coincidence right?) But how is it that neither of us ever remember meeting or bumping into each other then? I don’t know what she thought of the incident but I was forever spooked, not in a bad way but in a shall we say…cosmic way. Come on, what are the odds of anyone drawing their future sister in law and not realizing it until 5 years AFTER marrying into her family…and 15 years after the incident??? Isn’t there an old adage about portraits (drawings, photographs etc) having a way of capturing souls. There was something very Dorian Grey about this (again not in a bad way- but you get what I am saying). Some connection was forged during that sketch. Thirteen years later I gave birth to the daughter that was destined to be. And I never thought I would ever be quoting from the Twilight series (never read the books but am a closet fan of the movies- I will never admit this out loud again), but I believe that my sister in law ‘imprinted’ on my daughter.
IMPRINTING: A very loose version of ‘imprinting’ restricting it to stage one of this process as the so called ‘research’ states: ” This person becomes unconditionally bound to her for the rest of her life. The experience is described as a gravitational pull to the person as connections to everything else become severed or just secondary and it becomes a necessity to do what it takes to please and protect the imprintee for the rest of her life”.
© artbypopo, RK, 2013
And lo and behold ask any eye witness who has seen that child and her aunt together (since birth till now, in person or via Skype), there is no greater love and laughter that exists than there is between those two. They even have the same glorious curly twirly whirly hair!! It is a bond akin to none, and I believe it almost, almost surpasses the mother-child connection (by maybe a fraction). I kid you not. And I am just in utter awe of it. It is something truly divine. The only thing which brings a sigh to my thoughts is that it brings down our (hubby and I) great love story to no more than a petrie dish. Our union was simply a means to a far greater plan, a far greater union of “kindred spirits” (Anne of Green Gables- your kindred spirit has stuck with me forever-only the fans and a dear friend J will understand).
So I dedicate this post to my daughter’s dear POPO, who will always be her Other Mother (grandma’s don’t be hating- you especially know what I am talking about). For all those restless nights where I lie awake gripped with fear when my thoughts are randomly ambushed by what would happen to my daughter if God forbid, something untimely were to happen to me… and the answer rushes through my mind like a cool, calm breeze, bringing me an immense amount of peace. Popo. And immediately I know my daughter would not nearly be deprived of the love of a mother. For that I am so grateful… and now this light-hearted post has made me teary eyed. Dammit.
We love you POPO.
© artbypopo, RK, 2013