When I think about the first day I met you, I still get goose bumps.
It was a bright Friday morning; I was fatigued from being up for more than twenty-four hours – in ardent anticipation of this arrival. There had been all sorts of stories told, questions unanswered – and sanity questioned: too early, too late; too young, too old; everyone had an opinion that you had chosen to make an arrival!
May 19 arrived and Dr. Gibbs told us that it was time.
Almost in a hurried silence, you arrived – and filled up the world with your music. The first time I heard your voice, I had tears in my eyes. When the doctor gave you to me first, I was shivering. How does one hold a minute old baby!
There were scurried nurses – running this test and the other. They wanted blood. To me, they were like Dracula sipping out little drops of red from my baby. I watched you throw your tiny arms up in protest on the weighing scale and just felt like touching those little fingers.
They didn’t let us take you home that first night – and we were worried. But over time, they bundled you up and I put you in a car seat in my little Corolla to bring you home to Merrimac Lane. We had assembled a white crib for you, and a play pen, a musical bouncy chair, lots of toys and an abundance of love strewn around in all the right places.
The first night you were home, you didn’t want to go to sleep. I remember holding you closely on my chest and letting you listen to my heart beat, as I lay down on the bed. When you grew silent and fell asleep – I wanted to hear you breathe. That moment, I knew what it meant, to “jump through fire” for someone you love. I lay awake, for a long time, without moving – just so that I could hear you sleep.
You don’t know this – but even today, some nights, I walk into your room, just to hear the sound of your deep breath as you sleep. It gives me a great comfort that you are safe, and resting, that I cannot describe in words.
Sixteen years have gone by.
I realize that I have not been there, every day or night of your life. I know that I didn’t know how to wrap a diaper when you were born. I didn’t know how to give a baby a bath – or how to make you stop crying when you wanted to see something/someone. All I have known is whatever hurt you, if I hold you close to my chest, you may stop crying and fall asleep.
I remember your Kindergarten graduation ceremony when you said that you wanted to bring all those people that don’t have homes – to our home. I watched you sing and dance on the stage – on several occasions. I loved your musical renditions in Bangla or English.
When we first traveled to Canada, or Bangladesh, or other exotic parts of the world, you have always been shy and conservative – but never reluctant. You’re not a connoisseur of great new foods or fruits. But in some ways it’s easier to settle on a Mickey D’s hamburger in Prague than it is to understand their cold mushroom soup.
Music has been our common bond. I have learned to love new music with you: Wiz Khalifa, Rihanna, Beyonce, Plain White Ts or Pink. I like hearing about your friends or their idiosyncrasies. In some ways, I realize that you give me a small window to your world through these conversations or music. Thank you for the latest song you posted on my wall: “Count On Me” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeIJ26h_Eug.) You know you can always count on me!
When I travel to another part of the world, whenever I see a blue dress, shirt or pair of earrings – I think about you and how much you love the color blue. I can see you swimming with the dolphins in Cancun in that azure of the Mexican Riviera.
When we are out together on the boat, I see you in a different world, when the deep blue of the ocean touches us both. Your serene eyes give me a glimpse of a world that I may never fully understand.
You have grown into a beautiful young woman. Almond eyes, coffee complexion, sharp features. Some say that you look like a model. I refuse to hear that. To me, you’re that little girl that runs to me, as I enter our home from the garage on Rustic Redwood Way. You have always filled my world with joy that I never knew existed.
Thank you for a being a great daughter for sixteen years! And I look forward to (at least) the next ninety-six years, of this unadulterated happiness!