It has been close to two weeks since I left India. What can this post be about? I can go on about how terribly I miss my family back home. I can go on about my fascination for the snow and everything white and new. In fact, I have plenty of things to drone on endlessly for many more posts to come. But all of those are expected. From the time I made the big decision a few months ago, I’ve started preparing myself on what to expect. Missing my loved ones and getting amazed by the novelty are all things that I was well-prepared for. No surprises there. What took me by surprise is the way I feel about some of the things that I hadn’t given a tiny bit of thought at all. Let this post be about that. About re-discovering myself.
I cannot speak for the whole world yet, but for anyone, especially women, who has been married and has kids in India will perfectly understand the toll that parenting can take. It is an enjoyable responsibility but a huge responsibility nevertheless. Only the ones who have been there and done that can truly fathom the magnitude of it. Even the ones who are faking a bliss will admit that to themselves. Others can just ooh and aah about it saying, “Oh the kids are cho chweet! Kids are adorable! You are so lucky!” and go on about their day, without having to worry about picking them up on time from school or wondering if they are fed well enough or deal with the illness that they might come down with or sit together and do homework or resolve their fights or fix food or do this or do that or do anything and everything that eats up the 24 hours slowly and end up having zero me-time at all.
That’s what I suddenly seem to have in abundance now. A lot of me-time. Yes, I will have plenty of classes to attend and assignments to do that is going to keep me super busy but I am doing it all for myself, right? That’s me-time. I am exploring the streets, walking in and out of the house at will, cooking what I feel like and when I feel like, taking my time with my coffee without having to gobble it down my throat and just looking out of the window and gazing at eternity. In parenting terms, that is a lot and lot of me-time. An unaffordable luxury! As much as I hate to say it and as much as I am afraid that I might be called a bitch of a mother, I should admit that I am enjoying this new found sense of freedom. Oh come on, it’s been at least seven years since I went about my life without “a plan” on a daily basis. I need this break. And since I know that my family is going to join me very soon and relieve me of the heartache from staying away from them, I am enjoying this break from the routine even more.
I am a new person here, an immigrant entity. I don’t have to conform to the rules of my society which I never conformed to even back home anyways. I don’t have to be wild. I don’t have to be coy. I don’t have to rebel. I don’t have to submit. I can just be me. I can just be. That was something that I was fighting for, for the last ten years at least. And for some reason, I don’t feel like an outsider at all, not an exception anymore. I belong.
I had no trouble setting up my house here. No trouble with the shopping, cleaning and stuff. I have done that for four. How difficult can it be doing it for just me? It was all up and ready in four days, ready for my family to arrive. The house is silent though. Of course, I miss the constant sound of rhymes from the television in the background but to be truly honest, I am liking this quiet as well. I have always liked my solitude and to experience it after so many years is peace. This is my party. Some quiet time for myself. To read. To listen. To sleep.
And yes, it is so romantic. As a couple, my husband and I had taken each other for granted that we’ve forgotten how it is to miss one another. I miss him now and I know how much he means to me. I look forward to talking to him over Skype. I wait for his emails so eagerly. I feel ten years younger and it feels like the courtship phase of our relationship one more time. Romance rekindled!
My children have been doing surprisingly well. They’ve understood that mommy is not around and have started taking on little responsibilities, just so that they can report it to mommy at the end of the day and win a clap clap clap over Skype. Oh my my! The fussy eater that my son was has started finishing his plate by himself. My daughter calls out to me and sings her rhymes over Skype. We all laugh. We all cry. We all miss one another. And that’s a good thing. We now know the value of our relationships and appreciate it so much more that when we get back together in a few days, the family bond will only get stronger.
As for me, I am thoroughly enjoying this going back to school phase now. Sitting through 6 hours of classes every day is tough but it doesn’t stress me as much as I thought it would. Probably because I was stressed more earlier? Or probably because I am liking it? Or maybe I am just talking too soon? When I was young, my schooldays were one of the best periods of my life. Since then, I had plenty of ups and downs, some deserving and plenty undeserving. Now feels like a ten-years rewind to fix things that fate screwed up for me, to redesign and reboot. An opportunity to relive. I should be crazy to let go of it. I won’t! It’s about time for all the efforts that has gone in to the piggy-bank to pay up. I’ll make sure that it pays up and pays well, all interest accumulated.
This could be one of the phases of my life that I might fondly revisit many times in the years to come. To know that I am living it is motivation enough to make the most of it. The beginning is already behind. The light is no longer at the end of the tunnel. It is here. It is now. And I am there!