Monday, January 28, 2013

The Things That Matter...

It's about taking time out for the things that matter.  About not stressing over days off.  Or unfinished Things-To-Do-Lists.  It's about remembering what they did for you, when you had no idea.  About not buying themselves anything while you bought XXL T-shirts that cost three times the price because of a simple logo.  But making it seem otherwise. It's taking advantage of the moments.  The soon-to-become memories.  And the smiles and laughter.  It's turning the tables from them taking care of you to you taking care of them.  This is, my friends, what they must call growing up.

I am fortunate.  It's well known.  Things work out for me, and trust me, I get it. But, I also know that I make things work in my favor. I am not afraid to do what matters most to me, with minimal regard to those who may rain on my parade.  And for that personality trait, I am ever thankful.

So taking my parents back to India for their first trip in some twenty years was of no question.  Being able to see India through their eyes was a moment that I was not willing to let pass me by.  And it didn't disappoint.  They are the most easy going people whose wonderful traits are littered among the five of us kids.  Don't get me wrong.  We argued many times but we instinctively trust each other.  And their ability to roll things off their back makes me so thankful to be their daughter.

We started in Delhi and then hired a driver to go to Jaipur, Rajasthan.  On to Agra for the Taj Mahal. And Mathura (where Lord Krishna was born) on the way back to Delhi.  After about a week or so, we finally made our way to their home.  The area where they grew up.  What shaped and framed them.  We met up with P and Sujay in Surat and toured the streets that brought us our parents.  We heard stories of walking kilometer after kilometer just to get cilantro.  Of tirelessly hauling through Saturday and taking Sundays for themselves. Of hitting the street vendors in Chopati and sitting along the banks of the river (Tapi Nadi), enjoying the life.  Even if it was a hard life. Of saving rupees when they came along and continually scheming for a better future.  Of making the arduous decision to leave your daughters with your parents just to finish the work that fed the many mouths in one home.  Of leaving the girls behind to venture across the seas in search of that opportunity.  That pot of gold.  The land of opportunity people so often referenced.  To live another life nearly as difficult but with a promise unavailable in their homeland.  Of fighting the fight.  And eventually winning.  Five educated children.  Four grandchildren.  And, for once, spending a few dollars ... or rupees... on yourself.

We often wonder if we tell them enough how thankful we are for what they do.  What they did. And deep down we know we don't say it often enough.  Or maybe we do, in actions louder than words.  But, for the family I have, I am ever so thankful for parents who made us all friends.

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