- Child 1 performed her arangetram (Solo Bharatanatyam dance recital)
- Child 2 had his thread ceremony (Upanayanam) done along with his younger cousin
- Child 1 turned 16 and Child 2 turned 13. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of the family and from 3 different continents were there to pamper, love and wish them on their special days
- Grandparents arrived to revel and help with both the occasions
- Three siblings and their families arrived to be part of the celebrations
- More cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and friends arrived to cheer and join us on these happy occasions
- The siblings spend hours across continents discussing clothes to wear and colors to coordinate
- Meals were planned for 40 odd people for a whole week
- Cousins spanning the 5-23 years age group hung out and chilled together
- Cousins and siblings from every generation joined the reunion of sorts
- The youngest guest was a year old and the oldest will soon be 80
- Invitations were sent, brochures were printed, posters, stage decor and foyer decor planning was accomplished
- Photographers and videography were planned and booked
- A 40 mile drive each way for additional dance practice sessions thrice a week were squeezed in
- Food was ordered in part, menus were planned for the other times
- Workload was shared with friends and family
- At the same time, there was the coordination with the priest, the temple and the religious items to be procured
- There were the preceding sumangali pujas and kul devatha pujas planned and orchestrated
- The mind was a revolving spreadsheet of to-do lists that changed priorities based on the point in time
- The body was mostly numb from exhaustion surviving only thanks to a daily dose of paracetamol
- Silence was unheard of
- Never had my professional life been put to such practice in my personal life
- But at the end of the day it was all about fun, family and countless memories and a major sense of accomplishment
- And silence prevails yet again…with the mind replacing the spreadsheet with the lovely moments and memories spent with the family!
…on a an otherwise screwed up day that turns out as crappy as crappy can be, finding a few moments to rest your head and foot on the two favorite men in your life. The sheer joy of having one pat you to sleep while the other massages your feet is what a slice of heaven is. There is a reason a girl consciously or unconsciously looks for her dad in her partner. Finding that person who can love you just as much as your dad is a blessing indeed. And to have them both in one place pampering you is divine. If that isn’t what spoiled is, throw in a mom who cooks your favorite things day in and day out, regardless of what the rest of the family requests.
It’s these tiny but precious moments that make priceless memories.
p.s. Moments stolen from an otherwise completely chaotic time in our lives.
The firstborn is an angel and as each day goes by, just the thought that she will be ready to fly the nest in 2 years, rips my heart and makes me incredibly sad.
The second born is at the most difficult age. Terrible twos – piece of cake. Terrible twelve is what it is… The only constant is the negotiation and the disregard for rules. Waiting for the butterfly to snap out of the cocoon. Told the OH I was so done with the tween phase.
On the topic of the OH, just when I think he wants to ignore reality and bury his head in the sand, he does something stellar and proves me wrong all over again. To the two people who are close to my heart – he is the best of the breed. As for me, he made me happy and renewed my faith in him just by bringing a smile to their faces.
The harder I try to bring a smile to her face and meet her expectations, the further I am from succeeding. Coz success is dependant on more factors than just me. Would have been so much easier if I were a teenager minus a mind of my own. Her passion and unconditional love never wavers even when she doesn’t get the response her heart desires. A golden heart is her strength, wrong timing her undoing. Her desire to feed and love is obvious to even the four-legged child at home. The one that can’t talk is ironically the most clear in conveying her love and loyalty, leaving the rest wishing they could be just as candid.
He is the hero to the grandkids, the one who disciplines them the least, expects nothing and is content till a word is said against his blood. In all the years that he has been mine, I have never seen this feisty side of him. His response is measured and timed to perfection. He has shown strength to silence the unnecessary noise that has come his way. He effortlessly proves to me why I adore him the way I do and always have.
A long time back or what feels like a long time back, I wrote this post. Never did I think back then that I would get to any of them. But sometimes wishes have a way of coming together when the stars align. Wondering which one of these turned into reality?
We talked about it for years. We promised to plan for it but never got around to it. We kept enlisting people to join us only to have plans fizzle and people drop out. And then it happened. The booking was done a year in advance because that was the required lead time for accommodation. The timing was not the most convenient. There were major events planned and scheduled right on the heel of this plan but that didn’t deter us from making the plan. As the years go by, my belief in the adage “I don’t know how, but it will happen” just gets stronger. Life ran its usual course and all the best laid plans to train and prepare for our trip failed miserably. The harder we tried the more challenging our schedules got. But in it all was a calm that we would somehow make this happen. Between the six people who signed up for this, one had to go through surgery to get back in shape to even be mobile, and two had to drop out due to schedule conflicts. But nothing was going to deter the ones still interested from achieving this feat. There were schedules to juggle, car pools that needed to be planned, business related travel that needed to be timed, kids exams that needed additional attention, last-minute planning and shopping to be done and the list was endless but we ploughed through it all patiently, never giving up hope.
Finally the day arrived and we were on our way. We were all checked in and tuned in to accomplish the task on hand but there came yet another twist to the tale. One of the four member crew fell victim to a stomach bug. There were no second chances. The thought of abandoning the trip did not even occur to any of them. Medicines were purchased, consumed and we marched on. After a grueling 7 hours we were half way there. It was time to now rest, relax, pass out or devour the beauty that met the eye, depending on the eye and the physical/mental state of the beholder. We nursed our aching muscles, ones that we didn’t till then know existed. We dined frugally, drank in the serenity and the beauty around us, and realized just how insignificant we are in this planet. Friendships grew stronger and bonds grew tighter. Just to know the things we would do and the lengths we’d go for one another is truly a blessing. We encouraged, cajoled and teased one another endlessly and giggled all the way through. We met people from all walks of life, chatted with people we crossed paths with and relived the life outside of technology and gadgets. We were thankful for the basic necessities we had. And then just like that, it was time to finish what we started. The second half was absolutely breathtaking, grueling and daunting at the same time. But the mind is a powerful organ and can conquer the heart and the body effortlessly. Yet another 8 hours later, we were back where we started a few days back. The task was complete, the wish a reality and a sense of accomplishment and pride at what we had achieved.
The sign in the canteen where we had our food, captured the essence of our trip and our emotions…
And that sums up our hike of the Grand Canyon.
Am not sure if I should blame it on age or life experiences but each event that occurs has me in a more reflective mood these days. After a fight with the OH, I ofter wonder if it was worth the battle and hard feelings. I watch my parents and reflect on what I would be like when I get to their age. I look at some traits and would love to be just like them and I look at a few other traits and I want to never be that way. I would like to age gracefully, giving the kids their space and freedom and never be stifling on them. I want them to know they are loved and cherished and can always count on me to be there for them. At the same time, if they choose someone else to be their confidante I want the heart and strength to accept their decision without taking it personally. I want to remember each phase of my life and not make the same mistakes I made or commit the same mistakes I feel other make in my interactions with them as a friend, daughter/daughter-in-law, mother/mother-in-law, sister/sister-in-law etc.
I want the kids to know that I will always be there for them but not expect them to do things just the way I do. I want to teach them all about our culture and beliefs but be able to respect their choices when they are adults. I want to teach them the right and wrong and trust them to always do and stand for what is right. I want to tell them all that was different in my life when I grew up if only for them to realize they have it easier and that their kids will for sure have it even easier than them. I want to give them all that I missed in my childhood, knowing only too well that they will also end up with a list of things they wish they had in their childhood. I want the strength of mind and the heart to step back and not have any expectations from them once they fly the nest. I want to understand and remember how busy they will be once they have their own families and give them the space to life their lives free of any guilt towards caring for me. If what I feel towards my parents is any indication of the unconditional love we have for our parents, I know they will always be there for me when I truly need them.
I want to love the grandchildren for who they are and more imporantly accept the times they grow up in. It is a given that their life will be nothing like the one I was raised in or for the matter, anything like the one I raised my children in. I want to be open to learning and accepting their culture without being judgemental. I want to pamper them like only a grandmother can but not get offended if/when they share their daily happening with their parents. I want them to know they can come to grandma to share their secrets, knowing it is safe with her and that she won’t break their trust. She will give them her two cents only when she feels it is solicited and know to keep her thoughts to herself when it isn’t needed.
I want for me a healthy life and a mind that is forever open to learning new things, accepting changing trends. I want the ability for ever to keep myself entertained with my hobbies and passions. I want to love partying and spending time with friends and family but know at the end of the day that I am just as happy in my solitude doing things that bring me joy. I want to always find new things that interest me and provide me the opportunity to be an excited student for the rest of my life.
And someday when I need it the most I want to be able to return to this space and remind myself of these desires and renew the motivation to acheive them
* some desires like this (translationof the title for my hindi challenged readers )
is an old Assyrian proverb and one that I believe is so true.
The OH and I have been extremely lucky when it comes to friends. We have always had a handful of friends but they are ones we can trust our lives with and count on in good and bad times. We have been blessed with a few in every place we have lived in our lives and they hold a special place in our hearts and always will. We may not talk to them every day or even every month but when we do meet, we just start from where we left off and catch up for all the lost time.
But we know only too well that as much as the friends we make as adults are important to us, the childhood, school and college friends we make have a much bigger impact in our lives. We know that only two well from the good and bad experiences we have experienced had with said friends through our lives. So as parents, we hope our kids are blessed with a good set of friends who will help and give them the right advice when needed through their life and challenges.
When I see the friends the kids have made today, I have to be thankful for the good sense they have had in these friendships. Meg’s friends are all non-Indians and girls who she plays volleyball with given the school she attends has about 10 asian kids. She has been with them for a few years now and the girls do everything together. The OH & I get along great with their parents and it is such a lovely group of kids. They come in all flavors. One loves the food we cook and home, another one will at least try the food we cook and one will pretty much not eat any of it and will live on mac n cheese. But at the end of the day, they are kids that are lovely and are such an important part of Meg’s life. J, A and G are lovely kids and I hope to see them some day all grown up and still just as close.
Raul’s friends on the other spectrum are all Indian kids since the school he goes to is predominantly Asian. A good percentage of his friends are ones he has known all his life. The parents are inseparable friends and spend every free moment they can spare together. The group is a combination of boys and girls and they have now crossed the gender awkwardness and are comfortable hanging out with one another Raul’s best friends are the ones I would choose to be my own any day. As I watch him hang out and interact with the one girl in the group, my heart cheers. She is my favorite baby and watching them interact gives me hope that they will stay friends for life. I pray they will always give one another the perspective they cannot inherently understand and watch out for each other’s backs at all times. They I hope will be each other confidante’s for life.
Friends are a reflection of you and I see in theirs a promising future…