Category: gratitude

Gratitude this June

Gratitude this June

June is a month of settling down for all of us here, as the new session begins. It is a tough month which is why I keep my targets easy and expectations low.

In the beginning of the month the focus was on getting the children’s schedules in order. We had to figure out what co-curriculars they’d opt for and how that would fit in with their school day.

The trouble is, both H and N tend to cram in a lot in their days. Then they get overwhelmed with it all and give it all up. Personally, I’d be happy if they stuck to school and, later in the evening, played with their friends.

I keep telling them that having one too many things on their plate will tire them out. In typical tween tradition they refuse to listen and we end up having long arguments ending with, ‘You never let us do what we want to do.’

This year I thought I’d let them be, that they were old enough to decide for themselves. As a result of their over enthusiasm, the schedule is chock-a-block between chess and guitar class, handball and skating and drama. A lot of it is taken care of at school but for the rest, I need to be available for pickups and drops and that is a little crazy. I seem to zipping in and out of home all evening. This whole thing is like a jigsaw puzzle of their time slots and mine, where if one piece is disturbed the whole thing goes for a toss!

I’m not sure any longer whether this was such a good idea. But then parenting is about hits and misses, trial and error. I am hoping they’ll see sense soon. Also I do realise that they have just this year and maybe another one, to try out whatever they want after which they’ll have to settle down. 

That said, I am grateful they such have such a choice of activities they want to try out and also that everything is within easy reach – a five or ten minute drive is all it takes me to ferry them around. We have a wonderful neighbourhood and I’m so glad of that.

Through all this running around there have been things that have kept a smile on my face:

  • The weather has been a dream with the rains setting in.
  • I’m grateful I don’t have to step out much and that I can work from the comfort of home. I get to enjoy the monsoon with my cup of tea without needing to see its messy side.
  • Fitness has been a win this month. I finally went to see a nutritionist and am sticking out with the exercise/diet routine she prescribed.
  • We (I and my girl gang) discovered a fabulous new restaurant with a menu full of smoothies and salads and we’re so excited we’ve planned weekly lunches. The best bit – it’s right next to our apartment complex.
  • I took up the #WriteTribeFestivalofWords of seven-days-seven-posts on my book blog and was pretty happy I could complete it despite having guests over. A special thank you to the super-organised Shilpa who never fails to lend a hand when I panic and reach out for help.

 

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

With this post I also kick off the Bar-A-Thon – the fortnight long Blogging Challenge. I’ve kept it simple today because the gratitude post needed to be done and I know it’s a lousy use of a prompt but I’m hoping I’ll come up with something better next time.

The prompt for today was ‘One too many’.

A time for family and friends

A time for family and friends

This last month, the month of May, has been filled with so many blessings that I’ve lost count. It is by far my favourite month of the year. It’s the time I am truly home, among extended family and childhood friends. The days are about reunions and getaways, about reinforcing age-old bonds and rediscovering the flavours of childhood, of leafing through photo albums and laughing at our tiny ponytails and large bell-bottoms.

There wasn’t a single morning, afternoon or evening when I didn’t have someone around, when I wasn’t planning a meet up, a movie or a dinner. Many an evening, my plans would dissolve into nothing because someone would drop by with the ease and comfort born of years of familiarity, the kind that needs no phone call, no appointment.

The children oscillated constantly between the various homes. The FIL took upon himself to tutor them in Math during the mornings, a family tradition of sorts. Their older cousins have all had to put up with his tenacious love for teaching Math. Despite plenty of good-natured ribbing and calls of ‘It’s your turn to get caught now’, he persevered and surprisingly enough, the children complied without a murmur. That there was a constant supply of laddoos and pedas might have helped.

The children also developed a severe case of ice-cream insecurity. The moment the tubs showed signs of finishing they’d sound an alert and sure enough, one doting elder or the other would order out another.

One night they were carried off to a wedding by my sister, their first ever. I stayed home enjoying a chat with the in-laws. They came back tired and completely overwhelmed, yet thrilled at the colour and the crowd, the food and the festivities and the excitement of it all. ‘The bride was epic,’ pronounced N. She had never seen such finery except in films. Meanwhile, H said the buffet was the best.

I had set myself some tasks for the month including blogging and figuring out some technical concepts which I normally do not get time for. None of them got done. I have to admit the first few days I was a trifle unnerved with this total lack of order, something I normally strive hard for in my routine. It was strange not to be worrying about the children, their food and their studies, specially after a rather stressful year. Bad habits stick on so hard, isn’t it?

Then somewhere along the way I let go and decided to go with the flow. Then on, I had the best time ever.

Sometimes it's best to go with the flow. Click To Tweet

We went off to spend a weekend at my cousin’s farm and then in the middle of all the craziness, we  managed a two-day trip to Agra. The six-lane Yamuna Expressway meant that we could travel the distance in about four hours. Everyone had cautioned us that it would be too hot, that the children wouldn’t be able to handle it, unused to such high temperatures. We decided to go on anyway and I’m glad we did. We spent the mornings and evenings visiting the absolutely stunning monuments and stuck to our hotel room during the hot afternoons while the children took to the pool. It was as idyllic as it could get.

I often talk about how much I love my hometown but it’s the connections and warmth of relationships that continue to make it special – a place where friends are family and family are friends.

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

Vacations, train travel and other happy things

Vacations, train travel and other happy things

April is the fastest moving month of the year for us because it has so much crammed into it. It begins with exams, moves ahead with results and ends with travel and vacations. Quite perfect actually. And so it was that I didn’t quite notice how it crept up upon us and was over before I knew.

There’s a lot to be grateful for this past month.

First things first, the children’s exam results. They were my top worry for months together and I am glad and so very grateful for the way they turned out. The kids weren’t top of the class but they were pretty much what I’d expected, even better maybe. I always worry that I don’t worry enough, that I don’t push the children enough so it’s kind of reassuring to know that it’s alright, that we’re doing fine. So very grateful for that.

The most interesting bit is that N maxed her Art exam while H scored the highest in Science. Seriously, these two couldn’t have been more different!

The other highlight of the month was our 20-hour train journey from Pune to Delhi. It’s a whole different kind of wonderful to share a bit of your childhood with your children and to watch them enjoy it just as you did.

Trains were a very happy part of my childhood, perhaps because travel back when we were children was ever so rare. We’d squabble for the window seat, gaze for hours at fields golden with wheat or dotted with neat bundles after it had been harvested, we’d twist our necks trying to follow the trees that rushed by, we’d wait  for every hawker who came by, begging for a paper cone of bhel or peanuts.

I am glad to say that not much has changed.

Despite the fact that the children had carried along their tabs they did pretty much all what we used to. They went around inspecting the compartment, hung up their rucksacks on the hooks by their berths, spread out their sheets and blankets and settled down quite happily. The welcome tetrapack of juice was all it took for them to become Indian Railway fans. The feeling was only strengthened as lunch and snacks arrived at periodic intervals. When ice cream was served as dessert, they were completely sold over.

We read, talked, played word games and worked on N’s story. It was such a happy day.

The next five days in Delhi were completely relaxing. We managed to visit Kidzania which was a long-pending tick on the children’s list of fun-things-to-do. Although they were a wee bit grown up for the experience, they had a good time. I strongly recommend it for all children. Do try to visit it, there’s one in Mumbai too. The best bit is that it is extremely parent-friendly. I loved the super comfortable parents’ lounge. I ordered in a masala chai and ‘lounged’ on one of the huge sofas with my kindle, leaving the children to do their own thing. Those were happy five hours for all of us.

And now we were in Lucknow. I have so very many things to be grateful for here that I need a whole post, or maybe a bunch of posts.

Is there anything better than being in a place filled with family, friends and the happiest memories you’ve ever made? Click To Tweet

This new month promises to be wonderful.

*********

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

Striking a balance is the hardest thing to do

Striking a balance is the hardest thing to do

If you’ve been with me on the blog for a while you’ll know how I have always rued the fact that the twins seem to feel no pressure of exams while I am completely freaking out. The more I worry, the less they seem to think about it.

During their mid-terms in October last year, things got worse than ever. All through those two months (before and during the exams) I was constantly yelling at them and then feeling terribly guilty at the things I had said. We’d reach a stalemate, go through silent spells and then I’d be back trying to appease them, trying to get them to study, only to lose my temper yet again.

The worry about their marks and exams hung like a dead weight on my mind dragging me into the dumps, waking me up at night and keeping me anxious all day. I hated the entire exam system, hated that I had to handle it all alone and hated that I had to put the children through it all. It was  vicious.

All for a class 6 mid-term!

I can see how foolish that was, now. But the thing is, the reaction of a troubled mind is often far from logical. In retrospect I realise it was also partly because I had been struggling with a lot of health issues. That must have contributed to my chaotic mental state.

By the end of exam time I knew just one thing – I never wanted to be in that space again. More importantly, I never wanted to put the children through that. No marks, no awards were worth it.

We talked about it, the children and I. And we promised that at the next exam all of us would work towards keeping our cool, NO MATTER WHAT.

The children call it my Kalinga War, moment 🙂

Yeah Asoka the Great is part of their syllabus this term. So basically, that last exam was a sort of turning point. I made the keep-my-cool promise, even more fervently, to myself. I promised I’d not let the worry of their scores push me to the edge of reason, ever.

I am happy to say, this time round exam time has been relatively peaceful. Nothing much has changed – I still have to push them all the time, they still rush off the moment my attention flags, they’re still playing computer games, watching television, amusing themselves in a hundred different ways and annoying me in a thousand more.

The only thing that has changed is my attitude.

Sometimes the only way to make things better is to change your attitude. Click To Tweet

This doesn’t mean I haven’t lost my temper at all. A leopard takes time to change her spots, right? But I have definitely dissociated myself a little bit and that feeling of panic hasn’t come back.

For that I am grateful.

After years of worrying that the children do not worry enough I can finally see the benefit of it. I never thought I’d say this but here I am feeling grateful that H and N do not panic. A friend, who is a teacher, spoke of kids who threw up constantly, suffered from headaches and body aches or ran a fever throughout the exams – all due to anxiety. And these are kids from class five and six, 11, 12 year olds. I would not wish that upon any child ever.

That said, I have to admit I doubt myself all the time, specially when I see a lot of moms pushing on relentlessly. I know of moms who solve each math problem along with their child. And when I hear of things like this I cannot help but  wonder if it’s just me. If it is I who am at fault, that I don’t have it in me to handle the pressure and then I worry that H and N might suffer because of that. Am I allowing them to slide into mediocrity by letting go? Have I been too hasty in letting go?

I don’t have any answers and so for now I push all these thoughts away. I’ll wait for their results before I make up my mind about anything. If they aren’t radically different from the mid-terms I’m good, or else I’ll need to rethink their study pattern.

However, there’s one thing I’m sure of and that is that I never want to go back to the madness of those anxiety ridden days, for their sake as well as my own. I’d much rather they score less and be happy than top their class but become a bundle of nerves.

And for now I’m enjoying the sense of peace.

*********

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

 

Happily, gratefully busy this February

Happily, gratefully busy this February

February seemed to drag on and on forever but now that I’m trying to recap the month it seems to have flown past. It’s been very busy and yet uneventful. I think that’s a good thing. I like ‘busy and uneventful’. I’ve been much more relaxed this month than I’ve been in a long time.

…because health is so important

If I were to name one thing I was specially grateful for this month, it would be health. The recent passing away of well-known actor Sridevi brought home the fact ever more strongly. It breaks my heart to think what her teenaged daughters would be going through, perhaps because I imagine my children in that same situation, should anything happen to me, and the thought frightens me. It’s morbid, I know. However it does put things in perspective.

Going forward from that thought, the biggest happiness of the month was that I could finally get my tests done. I spent a good five hours at the hospital giving all kinds of samples, and standing/lying down under machines of all shapes and sizes followed by multiple visits for some more investigations and consultations. Finally, I have been pronounced reasonably healthy. Whatever little blips I have can all be corrected with supplements. The best bit was that the heart was in its place and pumping happily along. But then I always knew that :-).

The evening walks

There’s of course the old enemy, fat, to contend with. But I’m on it and I’m glad to report that I’ve managed to begin the evening walks I’d been planning for ages in addition to my morning routine. They’re short ones, just about twenty minutes, and only on weekdays. It was a bit of a shocker to realise how I’ve lost stamina. There was a time I was walking 7-8kms and now I tire in 2. The speed is pretty pathetic too. After the first few days I did away with all walking apps because the figures were just so abysmally depressing, specially when I compared them to what I could once do. Now I just have a timer and am concentrating on walking a minimum of 20 minutes everyday. The speed and the stamina will have to wait.

Books and Friendships

This month a few blogger friends decided to exchange pre-owned books from their personal collections – a fabulous idea conceived and coordinated by Shalini who blogs at www.shalzmojo.in. I received Big Little Lies from fellow bibliophile, Lata and although I still have to review it on my other blog, I will reiterate that it turned out a wonderful read. A good book stays with you for a long long time and this one shall too. If you haven’t read it, do pick it up.

And then of course there are the children

Sometimes I worry that most of my moods, my happiness and my stress, stem from the children. It’s not healthy, I know. I am depending on time to change that. Or perhaps once the Husband is around more often the pressure shall ease off.

Early this month they went on a day-trip to an amusement park out of town. I’m grateful they came back safe and sound and also that I could take this small step towards letting go.

Much as I enjoy my alone time, the happy moments with them are absolutely priceless. I organised a surprise lunch for them on Valentine’s Day and their excitement was a treat to watch. N made some very mushy cards for me while H had a huge hug to offer.

A week later, we went out for dinner. That was a bit of an event because with the Husband away we keep putting off going out for when ‘papa is here’ and things tend to turn a little dull. But one Saturday we all dressed up and went out and it was great fun. I must remember to do it more often.

Apart from the lunches and dinners their everyday laughter and total goofiness never fails to lift my spirits. The other day, the maid went on uninformed leave and as I was getting dinner together bubbling with annoyance H walked into the kitchen, a tulip clutched between his teeth (not a rose and not even a real tulip, for that matter) doing the classic MJ pelvis shake. It would have been absolutely gross had it not been so very ridiculous. And every shed of my annoyance was chased away by the riot of laughter.

It is moments like these that keep me going.

*****

 

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

Also linking up with Shirley’s Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 06

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