Playing and growing together

 

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(The red painting, is my birthday gift last year from my then two and a half year old munchkin. He was kind and thoughtful enough to make one for  his daddy too-the one in yellow/green)

    As a stay-at-home mom, I often find myself wondering if I am using my time wisely enough. If I am being productive (running around being mindful of and tending to a hundred needs of a crawling, climbing toddler and the usual household chores aside!) or not is also another thought that occasionally creeps up and usually leads to a zillion other thoughts that often end up having a cascading effect on self esteem. Not a fun thing at all!

   Current circumstances are not that conducive to me taking up (or even getting one, to be honest) a full time job and thinking about how my graduate degrees are going to waste is depressing. Of late, I have been making a conscious effort to not wallow in self pity and focus on what I have around me- a very loving husband who happens to be my best friend and our son, a bubbling ball of energy with all his charms and quirks. Just the thought of this, makes my heart fill with gratitude:)

   I am a big fan of the arts and crafts! I am, however, terrible at drawing anything (and my husband will vouch for that, wholeheartedly!) and I also lack originality when it comes to creating something. So, you see…these are not really helpful qualities if one hopes to take up DIY craft projects seriously! One of my fondest memories from childhood is making holiday cards and I remember the feeling quite vividly- a strange sense of satisfaction at having created something with my own hands and I am sure we have all felt this way at some point in our lives. Haven’t we? And so, with considerable amount of time on my hands and availability of resources that are much more than what the ten year old me had, I started going through Pinterest and what a treasure trove of ideas it turned out to be! And I had the ambitious, or should I say daring, thought of involving my three year old and I was relieved to see that he was not as disinterested as I had imagined he would be. Sometimes, I feel, we give far less credit to these munchkins than they deserve!

   And so it started! I made one piece and then another and another and that caught my son’s attention (which was my whole plan- to see if he would be interested rather than me trying to push him). And we have made quite a few things together since! It gives me something to do and the best part is I get to do something with my son and together we have had many a laughs over silly sticky glue blobs and have had adventures with our scissors and done a huge mess with supplies 🙂 I am thankful to have these in my pocket book of memories.

As you can see, most of these were during the holiday season as that is when his interest had peaked! We have now ‘graduated’ to some serious stuff where we are melting crayons (all with Mommy’s help and supervision!) and then looking for more stuff to melt! All of this hangs on the wall of his playroom and I am working on some more stuff to add to the display. We learn and have fun and in the process I know more about him. He teaches me in his own way that it’s okay to make mistakes, how not to be a cleanliness freak at all times and how awesome it is do even the silliest stuff together…there is unadulterated joy in all of this and I look forward to our goofy art time with all my heart!

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The beginning

    I came to the US in 2009, the year I got married and the year I started school again. At that time, my boyfriend (I am married to this good soul and who I am going to be addressing him as N in my posts) was in graduate school in Minneapolis and so, once we got married, I left India to join him. It was the month of March and I will never forget the feeling as I was coming down the escalator and out of the airport to get into the car- I had the flutter of a newly married, I was also missing my parents, I was nervous to be starting this phase of my life in a new land and I was freezing too since it was around -20 Fahrenheit!

   Fresh off the boat at that time, needless to say it took me a bit of a time to adapt to a new way of life- I was living with someone other than my parents for the first time, I was going to start school in a new country, for the most part of the year it was colder than I would ideally have liked and I did not have friends! Gradually, things began to fall in place, the good man and I found our balance and I soon met an amazing bunch of folks,  who I credit with shaping my initial years in this country. Had it not been for N and these people, I would have found it very difficult to adjust to the life of a grad student (the severity of which I was clueless about!). They made our stay in Minneapolis worth every penny we had to budget for and for every back breaking shoveling we had to do to dig ourselves out from under the snow! And though we have have been living in New Jersey for six years now, Minneapolis, still, is much closer to my heart.

   Living in a land that is culturally very different from the one I grew up in, continues to be an act of adaptation. And raising a child is, for the lack of a better term, complex! Diwali and Christmas exist in harmony but there is fine balance that needs to be maintained. We enjoy our independence but have to be mindful of the bond that ties us to our homeland. We want to pursue our ambitions in this land of dreams and at the same time the fact that parents are getting older and losing strength, is worrisome. Now that I have been here for almost nine years, I find myself in a quandary about choices. The struggle between promises made and promises kept,  between the past and the future, between learning and unlearning, between the emotions that tug at the heart strings and the reality of life, is constant and palpable.

   And when I find myself at these crossroads,  the smiling faces from the good old days of Minneapolis pop up in my mind and remind me to take one step at a time. And as a person who likes to plan every minute detail of everything -be it going to the grocery store or a big trip and everything in between- it is an indispensable reminder.