Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!

When our daughter Acacia was small her first words were "Do it self"... well actually her first word was "sock" but that doesn't fit with my story. From a very young age she was extremely independent. She tried to take over the management of the house and the mothering of Phillip. OK, the management of the house sometimes worked for her but Phillip held quietly to his own independence. Phillip was always smiling but offered his own challenges. He escaped from the back yard when he was two and a neighbor found him heading for the freeway on his push car determined to find his own freedom. It was one of many moments where I questioned my ability to be a good mother.

I had an image of mothering before I became pregnant. It some how looked a lot like a 60's sitcom and in my imagination my children were always tidy and clean and I dispensed loving wisdom to their willing minds. The reality has been much messier and much more interesting.

I remember a story I heard about Kid Rock taking his son and his son's friend to the movies. When they got to the movie theater, his son insisted on sitting rows away from his father, embarrassed to be seen with him. He looked at his son with hurt and said "Seriously, I'm the coolest guy in this place". When you are a child your parent is uncool, regardless of who you are. Now I'm sure that it's different for me... awww who am I kidding. I tell corny jokes, make up lyrics to songs, cry at sentimental movies and I'm ridiculously proud of my kids. I'm a poster Mom of uncool and proud of it! I'm told that when I get really old (or is it when they get really old?) I'll be cool to them again.

I love being a Mom. I'm really grateful that I married a man who is a great husband, father and friend. Our daughter is 26 this month and our son was 23 last month. They are bright, independent, kind, trustworthy... I could go on to their embarrassment, (see way uncool) but suffice to say we're really proud of them both. As I celebrate another Mothers Day I want to thank them for giving me the privilege of being part of a great club. To all my other friends who are Mothers, Happy Mothers Day. May you be equally blessed.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Learning a New Culture

I felt like a kid with new clothes and crayons on the first day of school. Everything was exciting and new and I was meeting and making new friends daily. The Renaissance was home and felt safe and familiar and allowed me to venture out each day to explore and discover Mumbai.

The wonderful thing about the 6 second organization is you meet people from all around the world. Arati Suryawanshi reached out before I left Nova Scotia and told me to contact her when we reached Mumbai. She invited us to her home for lunch and to be part of the prayers to Lord Ganesh since we moved to Mumbai in the middle of the Ganesha festival. When we went to Arati’s house she invited us to be part of the pranapratishtha, or the prayers and chanting of the mantra to Lord Ganesha.I believe you can tell the strength of the family in the character of the child, and their son Raj is a tribute to them.

Both Ric and I thoroughly enjoyed our day and felt very privileged to be part of the family prayers . The meal afterwards was amazing and Ric’s appetite showed his appreciation!

In the 8 months we have lived in Mumbai I have learned a lot more about the Hindu religion and about why Ganesha is one of the favorites.

Ganesha has an elephant head which denotes wisdom and symbolizes the soul which I am told is the ultimate reality of the human existence. His human body signifies the earthly existence of human beings. In Mumbai, the Ganesha festival is observed from mid-August to mid-September. The whole community comes to worship Ganesha in beautifully done tents. These tents also serve as the venue for free medical checkup, blood donation camps, charity for the poor, dramatic performances, films, devotional songs, etc. during the days of the festival. All of the alms collected during the time of the festival go towards helping the people in the community who need help. The festival ends in Ganesha statues being immersed in water. These statues can vary in height from a few inches to 25 feet and it’s something to see when these huge statues are immersed.

It’s easy to make fun of what we don’t understand. The beautiful symbolism of a religion different from the one I was raised with has helped open my eyes to the peace and quiet dignity of part of the Indian culture.