When I was newly married, my mother-in-law would urge me to go out of the house, till the front gate, to bid goodbye to the OH every morning as he left for work. ‘I used to send him off every morning so far. Now that you have come, you continue the tradition,’ she would say. My mother-in-law believes that her sons and daughter and daughters-in-law have to face the complexities of the world as soon as they get out of the four secure walls of the home, and so they should be sent off properly every morning. The OH does travel a very long distance for work, too, and hearing his accounts of the things he sees on the way to and from work, I am inclined to agree with my mother-in-law.
Anyway, I used to feel very awkward bidding goodbye to my new husband. We used to live in a ground-floor house then, and the neighbours, sitting around and basking in the sun, would be looking on. I was the new daughter-in-law in the neighbourhood, after all. I would feel extremely embarrassed. Till the day I began feeling that it was an extremely romantic ritual, a beautiful tradition that I should always continue. I began to send the OH off with a huge smile on my face, a cheerful greeting and a wave. He would leave with a smile on his face, too.
I am happy to say we continued this tradition even after the OH and I shifted to our own apartment. Every morning, irrespective of what I would be doing, I would step out onto the balcony of our house when the OH would leave. He would look up from the apartment gate, smile, and we would exchange silent goodbyes. I would smile back and mentally wish him all the very best for the day. I would feel like something was missing on the rare days I could not follow this ritual.
After Bubboo’s birth, the balcony goodbyes have been dwindling. I am either feeding Bubboo or changing her when the OH leaves or she is crying her heart out then. Otherwise, it is way too cold to bring her out to the balcony. We have taken to saying our goodbyes in the house itself, with the OH planting kisses on Bubboo’s and my forehead before he leaves. On most days, Bubboo’s kiss is followed by a lot of cooing and more kisses and cuddles, till the OH realises that he is going to be marked absent at work if he doesn’t leave immediately. Then follows a mad dash on his part, and I tell him to drive carefully.
I am eager to see the day when Bubboo will wave her Papa off to work from the balcony of our house, with me looking on. Or will she cry and refuse to let him go?