Friday, September 18, 2009
Courtesy of my cousin: REALLY?? Indians aren't allowed at beaches in Goa?!?
That being said: Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
If you were to look at my Google calendar these days, you would think D and S are the most popular people on the planet. 1st birthday parties, 2nd birthday parties, 3rd birthday parties, "summer fun" trips to Fairyland, preschool day at the zoo, 3 1/2 birthday parties (I'm not kidding). On and on. And on. I joke that I couldn't "overprogram" my kids even if I wanted to because there's no time in between the birthday parties...!
For many of us, a child's birthday party on the weekend has become like the Thursday night happy hours of college: Ubiquitous. And with ubiquity comes obligation. How can we not go to Mary's birthday party when Mary came to D's, what will Mary's parents think, all that "social etiquette" that I truly thought in naive fashion I would never get bogged down by. (Spoiler alert: I was wrong). And obligation just sort of takes the happy part out of happy birthday, doesn't it? I realized recently--with more than a little bit of embarrassment--that I have stopped having fun at all these kiddie brouhahas At a 1st birthday party yesterday, I actually found myself annoyed with D for taking too long to walk through a farm. Annoyed at my kid for having too much fun at a birthday party. Yikes. Wake up call anybody?
I actually had to remind myself that--I love birthday parties (as long as they are not for me). I love cupcakes, games, hell I even still get excited for silly goody bags with plastic loot. I love celebrating the people who are important to me. And I love being present for the milestones of the growing legion of children who are in my little world. For all of those reasons and more I want to bring back the happy in happy birthday, bring back the fun. Yesterday at the park, D and S were having a ball, running around, going up and down the slide, feeding the animals, being kids. Sure, S inhaled a cupcake and proceeded to vomit it--but that's pretty much par for the course, right?!? My point: The kids are loving the party and I am going through logistics in my head, wondering how to say hello to everyone and leave in time for naps, thinking about whether S can nap in the car en route to the other birthday party we have to attend later in the afternoon. On and on. I didn't stop and smell the roses (or the cow manure as the case may be--the party was at a farm after all) for even a second. And that is my loss.
I need to reboot. See the trail to the little pond as the magical, wonderful event that D sees it as, as opposed to the diversion that adds 10 minutes to my agenda. And maybe I have to start saying no more. No the party for the girl in D's school that I don't even know--and that D doesn't even know; no to the playdate with a friend of a friend of a friend; no to the gratuitous events and parties and social occasions that have made me forget how much I love events and parties and social occasions. Because the joy of these things is more than crossing off "K's birthday party" from your check-list. The joy is in relishing your presence in these peoples' lives. Contemplating your good fortune for being included in such milestones. Engaging and re-engaging with the people you love. The joy is celebrating a single day of noisiness and merriment, cake and sugar comas, knowing full well that you are building a life with these people composed of quieter moments, and the everyday nothingness that, really, is everything.
Friday, September 11, 2009
-Many of us struggle with how to remember 9/11 without frightening our children. Here's a great solution--take part in the 9/11 Day of Service.
-Teach your kids to smile big--it might ensure that they have happy marriages one day.
-Yikes: According to this study, babies as young as 6 months already judge people on the basis of their skin color.
-Cookies for breakfast? Sure--some "cookies" are just fine.
-And: Thanks to everyone who emailed asking about posting photos of my sister's wedding. For the time being, hope this photo of P&J, which I think captures much of their fun and whimsy, makes you smile.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
My sister got married last weekend and I have been struggling to find words to sum up everything I feel. The sensory emotions and feelings are clear: "She looked amazing!" "I feel so happy!" "J's such a great guy!" "EEEEEE!" ...But going deeper I find myself almost at a loss as to how to express how moved and genuinely blessed I feel.
It's a truth generally accepted that weddings make us gooey. Watching two people right at the beginning of "the rest of their lives," declaring their love for one and all--come on, it's romantic. But when it's family up there at the altar, or on the mandap as the case may be; when it's your parents "giving away" their baby girl; when your mom tears up when she hears that her son-in-law to-be promise to, "above all," always make your sister laugh; when, in lieu of a traditional toast, your dad--your dad-- sings the lullaby he used to sing to you and your sister every night to all of the assembled wedding guests--well, it all, of course, takes on an even more poignant tone.
For the whole weekend, and thereafter, my mind has been flooded with images of my family. And then, always, images of my sister and me growing up. Neither of us was the type to dream about a wedding--not sure why that is, but I look back fondly about it. We didn't dress our (few) Barbies as brides and we didn't practice kissing on the backs of our hands. Didn't occur to us. We had dolls but we chopped off their hair to see if we could be hairdresses to the stars. One time I reportedly told my dad that I wanted to one day get married on the big new wrap around porch we built when I was 10, but then my sister and I promptly returned to catching frogs and jumping on the trampoline.
I was always the more "girly" of the two of us. When I was a teenager my dad famously and repeatedly told our family that I suffered from "Mall-aria." He was not exaggerating. But time changes things and the compartments we put ourselves in--especially in a family--often prove to be not so rigid, far more fluid: Looking at my sister last weekend, her tomboy tendencies and penchance for "Value Village" duds aside, she was the most stunning, original bride I have ever seen.
The wedding was perfect. In addition to being the union of my sister and her now-husband, it was a family reunion for the rest of us. My cousins and I reminisced about summer sleepovers during which we braided each other's hair and got giddily excited for Putt-Putt golf and Olive Garden dinners; my aunts and uncles got to meet my children; my mom had had three of her sisters in the same zip code for the first time in a decade...all the wonderful trappings of a wedding. It's one of the biggest things that is giving me the "my-sister's-post-wedding-blues": I am constantly amazed by the love, warmth, and interconnectedness of my family and, as I get older (read: cheesier) I miss everything--both the people and the memories--more and more viscerally every day. My time with these people who I have the fortune of calling my family has made me who I am and when I think about it, I'm not all that surprised that I'm having such a difficult time articulating what it "mean" to me because it's just too expansive...it would be the same as trying to explain "who is deepa"...
But more words thrown into that pot only begs sentimentality. The day I have it in me to truly explain the ups and downs, joys and sorrows, raw emotion, loyalty, and glue of a family is the day I burrow into writing that good ole Great (American) Novel, right? More immediately, it struck me how much--especially with it being my sister's wedding--a bride and groom sort of leave their friends and family behind. I remember the day after my own wedding, en route to Tahiti, with--quite literally--not one single care in the world. Though I missed my family after an amazing week with them, the word "sad" would never have occurred to me. This time, on the other side of the equation, I am sort of hung-over, sad for the wedding to be over, confused that it is back to reality, melancholy about the assembled family going in every direction.
We all, in an instant, go back to what we were doing. And it sometimes feels like all the energy, passion, nostalgia, and wonder--it sometimes feels like it was all a dream.
I was amongst the first of my friends to get married. I was 26. By the time I was 27 I was pregnant with D. I'm now 32 and have 3 little crazies. Sometimes it feels like warp speed and sometimes, as any mother knows, it seems like the day will never end. But I can still remember exact moments from my wedding. Nobody had told me to preserve those moments--few people we knew at the time of our wedding had even attended that many weddings! But etched in my mind are certain snapshots from the day, from a certain smile on my mom's face when she saw me in my wedding sari, to the way my cousins could make me laugh, to, of course, the way S looked at me that day.
It is always a little like going into a time machine, attending a wedding. You can't help but think about your own.
But then it gets bigger. At my sister's wedding, I had the sort of mental montage that would be set to a C-minor instrumental in a romantic comedy movie. How different we were growing up; how different we are now; how similar we are now...The variant paths we took, the various interests we have; how our friends are similar, how our friends are different. The way that it still all leads to The Same Thing.
The moment when you make a decision for the world to see.
The moment when you are, regardless of age, cast in the role of a daughter, a child for your parents to attend to, protect, watch over.
The moment where nothing is beautiful enough and everything is sacred.
The moment when all the rest of it begins.
The moment when all the rest of it begins.
Friday, September 4, 2009
I'm back! And I still can't sum up the beauty, wonder, craziness, and hilarity of my sister's wedding so, instead, here is some of the random stuff I am digesting in the post-wedding fog.
Worst birthday present idea ever (even for the post-feminist little girl's birthday party?) The poll dancing doll??
New studies show that "overbooked kids" are a myth--once again, it is just us, the parents, who are stressed.
"Fair and Lovely," meet "Dark and Beautiful."
I'm usually proud of myself for remembering to bring D's lunchbox to school. So imagine my inadequacy quotient when I saw the handmade notes this mom puts into her kids lunchboxes everyday.
In for some guilty pleasure this long weekend? Check out how some of Bravo's Real Housewives go back to school shopping for their kids.