I have been sick.
And so has Re.
He had a bad night. I had a worse morning. It’s phlegm and all its related nuisance, making you feel that your lungs, your head, your throat, your sense of rhythm is all lost. I don’t know which is worse. Seeing him suffer, or suffering myself through it.
But what made it pass and made me feel that tomorrow will be a better day is my mother.
Perhaps she had a premonition. It was one of those nights I couldn’t have survived without her. It was one of those nights when no one else would have done. She was right beside me when I needed her the most. Like she always is. Like she always will be.
So as I patted Re last night, and assured him that it will all be okay, and this too shall pass, she did the same to me. There were two babies that were rocked to sleep last night.
It felt as though having a child made me find my mother all over again. I felt I had curled back into her womb. I felt protected like I can feel with no one else in this world. There is something about sickness and a distilled sense of clarity.
This morning, she uttered the magic words, “I will make some garlic-pepper rasam and mash it well into rice and you can have it. You will feel better. Just let everything be. Rest.”
I know those words. I must have heard it thousands of times. And they still help.
Meanwhile, Re got better, and I got worse. And something strange happened. Re became my mother too. He showered umpteen “Bless yous” on me as I sneezed my lungs away. He played quietly by himself, leaving me to resolve my nasal passage. He brought me tea and a cookie (ok, in his Master Chef way, using his mini kitchen). He also said the magic words, “It’s okay mamma, do ninni!”
I am writing this, so I must be better. Re is fine too, and is letting me write. And there is food on the table: Carrot and broccoli soup with basil and Dalia upma that I made for Re. Garlic pepper rasam with pumpkin sabzi and rice my mother made for me. And yes, papads.
Tonight, two children would have gone to bed happy. Because two mothers tried really hard to make them.