Slice of life, Evening of June 21st 2017: Sleepy children and their abus

Every once in a while, there are little moments of life I want to share, since life here isn't unlike the familiarity of the US.

It’s 7pm on a Wednesday and I’m watching my abuman and abuwoman enjoy the company of their two grandchildren, Ruth (age 2) and Donna (11 months).

Tarisu (age 59), wearing a polo shirt and shorts, sits on a bench in the kitchen as Donna struggles to stand between his legs. She slaps her open hands at his knee, giggling.

Tarisu says Donna can’t ever sit still. Following expectations, she stomps her feet and writhes around, not wanting to sit, but still bending her knees slightly in exhaustion and defeat.

Leitare (age 53) is in a weathered blue Mother Hubbard dress that reaches her calves, sitting on a straw mat on the ground, leaning back on her right hand. Ruth lies between her spread legs. As Donna quiets down, Leitare looks back down at Ruth, who is sleeping, draped over her leg and sprawled on the ground. Leitare softly pushes Ruth away, grabbing Ruth’s arm from over her head and to her side, so she can comfortably lie down. Ruth remains fast asleep through the movement, her mouth slightly agape.

Tarisu gently pulls Donna to the ground so he can eat on a straw mat across the kitchen. After shooing her away for long enough to finish his fish and rice, he happily welcomes her company back in his arms. She quickly crawls over to him, mumbling nonsense “bah” and “oopah” sounds along the way. Once she crawls over, she finds her favorite scrap of fabric on the floor and pulls it in like a blankie, caressing her cheek.

Tarisu leans back on his arms. Donna sits between his legs and silently looks around with a slight panic at the encroaching thousand-legs that are creeping up on her from all angles of the straw mat. Tarisu hits them with his flip-flop and sweeps them away. Donna crawls into his lap and curls into a ball.

It’s a quiet, joyful moment, present in the smiles on their faces.

I think about my cousins’ kids, and my aunts and uncles. It’s a familiar sight, and it reminds me of home.


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