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…
A couple of days back, driving into work I heard a report on NPR, my station of choice during commute. I love the variety of information I learn from this station in addition to current affairs. Given my schedule, there is usually minimal to no time to watch TV or read newspapers and therefore the 30 minutes of commute each way have become my time to catch up on news and all things random and interesting, thanks to this station. Just so you know, this is no promotion for NPR, just a passionate and avid listener. The remaining drive time is confiscated by the kids to listen to music of their choice. Occasionally I will emotionally blackmail them to let me listen to the hour and a half of Indian music that is played during the afternoon commute.
Grandma arrives at the Sands residence monday next week to spend time with the grandkids and be part of the two events in the works for the summer. Grandma is an avid chef and takes it as her sole purpose in life to feed those near and dear to her in addition to doing the favor to everyone who cross paths with her. In spite of that she has unfortunately not been able to change the one person she has been married to for 45 years now. While she loves to cook , he hates to eat. He sees it as a necessary evil to survive. He throws a fit to even consume the 10 things he supposedly likes when it comes to food. Grandma raised her daughters to be open-minded with food and eat anything that was placed in front of them. She was fairly successful in her efforts. Much as the girls love having grandma cook for them, their biggest fear is with the quantity grandma insists they consume. Even though they are now mothers to teens and tweens, grandma still considers them to be teens and insists on personally attending to serving and feeding them in addition to cooking for them. Grandma is a believer that one should eat hearty and then burn it off with their daily activity and exercise. The part that grandma fails to understand is that even hours on the treadmill cannot burn the calories consumed in an Indian diet, specifically a carbohydrate intensive tambram diet. Weight loss and metabolism has not been oh so kind with age on this daughter. She has to workout extra hard and watch her diet like a hawk to avoid piling the pounds, so to speak. What she has the freedom to do now, portion control will soon not be an option once grandma arrives. So she has been devising, thinking ways and means to keep her diet and at the same time not anger grandma.
If you are wondering what any of this has to do with the title of the post, and have stayed with me thus far, here is the link. The report on NPR was about the use of deflection in basketball as the unofficial stat to measure success in college basketball. The report mentioned that a deflection can occur when a defensive player in any way redirects the intended flight of the ball. And this is the daughter’s plan to keep her diet. As long as she can deflect grandma’s attention to the other members of the family, she can avoid the spotlight on her long enough to finish her meal. The candidates that hold much promise are grandpa, who she still hasn’t given up on (now I know where my glass half full personality comes from) and Meg, who has such a strenuous routine between her volleyball, dance and conditioning commitments that nourishing her is a daily challenge. Grandma, of course will not mess with the remaining two men in the house since the grandson actually meet her expectations without the nagging and the other happens to be the son-in-law, another foodie she doesn’t have to mess with.
Will I be successful with my deflection efforts? Stay tuned and I will keep you posted. In the meanwhile, grandpa and granddaughter are spotted daily in conversation, threatening each other about how grandma will be here shortly to
overfeed feed them both, each thinking the other has it worse Meg threatens to tattle on grandpa from the past month when he has been with us without grandma and grandpa reciprocates the sentiments, in their fun banter during dinner every night!!
My kids are 15 and 12 years and they are typical kids. Do they help around the house? They absolutely do. Do they do it voluntarily and willingly? Probably not. I guess I understand that since who really enjoys chores. They are after all kids. Does that mean they get away doing nothing? Absolutely not! The OH & I strongly believe that kids need to realize the value of effort and what it takes to earn everything they have. They may grow up to take a lot of things we grew up thinking was luxury as a necessity. But that doesn’t mean they are handed everything on a platter with no effort. I am sure I have mentioned in some previous post that unlike a lot of our friends, the OH and I don’t believe is paying kids for chores they do around the house. They are firmly told that the house is as much theirs as it is ours and keeping it tidy is as much their responsibility as it is ours. They may (god willing!!) make good lives in future and even splurge on things but we strongly feel it is our responsibility to teach them the value of it and the effort it took to acquire it.
Having said all of the above, I also understand that childhood is special. Once they are done with school and move on to college, chores will follow them for life. As parents, this is the only time we get to let them live a life, free of commitments and chores. They have pretty hectic schedules and the least I can do is make their life a tad simpler. Meg’s day starts at 5 am and most days end at 11 pm, what with a 3 hour volleyball practice each day after school and homework commitments after practice. She most days has to stay in school for an extra couple of hours waiting for me to finish work and pick her up. I know my mom insisted that, as kids we learned basic cooking and did simple chores around the house. On the other hand, I am not very insistent on Meg learning to cook. I think she will do that when the time comes and will do an awesome job when she has to. They are both raised in a home where both parents cook. Often times, Meg will return home from a tiring day of volleyball practice or dance practice and start baking something as a relaxation activity. She will research recipes and come up with some pretty fancy desserts. One of the electives she picked in school is culinary this year that requires her to cook up all kinds of dishes. Occasionally when she is home during break I will call her on my way from work if we have to leave someplace right after I reach home. She knows then to make me a lovely cup of tea when I get home. I can ask her to chop vegetables and have it ready for me when I get home and she will do that willingly. She will pack her own lunch on days I have off just so I can get a few extra hours of sleep. They will make each other’s breakfast and milk as needed. Anything that does not involve the stove, Raul is on the hook for pitching in as well. When it comes to something like unloading the dishwasher the enthusiasm is more lukewarm but having done this parenting thing for a few years now, I understand that kids see these tasks as more sous chef activities than the ones the actual chef performs
Then, why do I still do things for them? Even though they do it all, they are at the end of the day kids and have a lower sense of urgency and time than adults. If they sleep through the alarm some days, to a teenager, doing her eyes takes higher priority than eating a breakfast. She’d rather skip that than go to school without her eyeliner. Her nutrition is more a concern for me than to her. So in the mornings, sometimes the pressure is on me to ensure they are properly fed and nourished before I take them to school. When they are in the kitchen early enough, they absolutely pitch in but on days when they haven’t hit the sack till late in the night due to homework and other commitments, they tend to sleep right through the alarm and be less of a help in the morning
Summing it all up, will I
nag harp on them if their bed is not done each morning or if their room is dirty? Absolutely Yes!
Will I do the same if they don’t pitch in the kitchen for me? absolutely not!
Does that mean I am zen about it and never get mad at them when they fight over chores? Hell NO!
Let’s just say I pick my battles and try to give them a happy-go-lucky and stress free childhood they can look back upon fondly…
Someday down the road, when the kids have flown the nest and the OH and I have all the time in the world, I would love to revisit this page just to remind myself what I was able to pack in a day and still function…
5:00 am : wake up to the alarm
5:00 – 6:15 am: pack lunch for the kids and myself, get ready for work, wake kids up, get breakfast ready for kids and grandpa, light vilakku (lamp) in the pooja room and gulp down a quick glass of chocolate milk. Of course in the meanwhile one kid sleeps half hour extra after being woken up and the other spends 30 minutes getting ready.
6:15 am: leave to drop kids at school (opposite direction from work of course) and reach work at 7:30 am
7:30 – 4:30: at work
4:30 pm: leave work to pick kids up
5:30 reach home and have 20 minutes to get one kid ready for swim lessons and the second one to volleyball training. Make their cuppa of milk, give them a snack pre dinner and get dinner preparations started.
5:50 pm: Leave home with both kids to drop them off at their lessons (classes are about 20 minutes away)
6:30 pm: Get to the gym for workout
7:30 – 8:30 pm: pick up child 2 from swim lessons and get home to finish cooking, feed child 2, grandpa and self.
8:30 pm: drive back to go pick child 1 up from volleyball
9:30 pm: get back home, feed child dinner and clean kitchen up
10:00 pm: crash only to rinse and repeat cycle for the next four days with minor variations to the classes attended.
The weekend activities include volleyball tournament (which is probably another 25-40 miles from home) all day saturday (6:00 am-9:00 pm) and dance class all day sunday (10:00 am-4:00 pm)
And in all this the one person I can usually
beg/nag count on to share the chores is on an official business to Japan
Same mom, same dad, same upbringing, same rules, yet such different personalities. I guess this is how the universe keeps you challenged through parenthood…
- One is as tenacious as it gets, while the other will give up at the first instant following failure
- One is tough as a bull and can stand for self in any circumstances, while the other is emotional, sensitive and has absolutely no tolerance to take crap
- One is a people charmer and can charm the pants off anyone, while the other takes forever to warm up to anyone and even longer to trust anyone
- One is a straight shooter and will almost never veer from the path that is right, while the other is only too happy to cut corners to achieve required results
- One is awesome at making people feel important and is all about warm and fuzzies, while the other is far from the touchy feely kind
- One is all about sports, while the other is all about the arts
- One is hardly ever at home due to all the activities signed up for, while the other loves nothing more than spend every moment doing nothing
When you wonder if any similarities exist,
Both have extreme OCD tendencies, and have their own set of peeves. They will both take very good care of anything that is of value to them while the rest can go to trash for all they care.
And just when you make the mistake of thinking they are nothing like you, they will do/say things that says loud and clear that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree after all.