My kukka pilla, my sweetums, my brat, my chaand ka tukda, Chinni, Ammulu –
You go by a thousand names, just as I. Amma, Mamma, and when you’re really sad – Mommy. It thrills me to cook up new names for you and watch you call me some of your made up ones. It’s our ritual. Something you won’t do with anyone else. You asked me the other day to call someone else’s baby – a ‘kukka pilla’ – that, to you is the biggest term of endearment. And I don’t care what anyone else thinks.
You’re the baby I prayed for. Endlessly. The baby I craved to have. The one thing that am incredibly proud of having. And the one thing I count as my biggest achievement. You’re pretty stubborn, just like me, and want things exactly how you want them. Like the day you insisted on coming into this world, a whole four weeks early. Your father had to run to random shops at midnight to buy baby things – because we were so unprepared for something so beautiful. The 5 days after your birth were the best and the worst days of my life – I knew you were here, in this world, in another hospital 25 kms away (long story, another day) and I craved to hold you. See you, breathe in your baby smell, tickle your toes, nuzzle and sleep with you in my arms. But just the thought that you were well, and being a natural fighter, kept me going. The day I held you in my arms, I knew you had me as a slave for life.
You make me proud, every day. Your gentleness for animals, your curiosity about new things, your compassion, and your laughter – I couldn’t have asked for anything more. You might be reading this years later, but remember baby, you will always have my heart. You’re a brilliant guest, and you have all my friends in love with you. You’re lovely with new people, but know how to judge people, and have all my besties twirling around your little finger. You have two proxy surrogate mothers in them, and you revel in their company. You have such an imagination that sometimes, I get caught up in your stories, and do not know where to stop dreaming. You make me believe that all is well with the world. You’re sometimes so brave that it scares me. You’re my brilliant little lioness. Don’t you ever change baby. Not a bit.