By Meera Ramanathan, Guest Blogger @me & online at: dreamzwild.wordpress.com
It was the first week of May and we were delighted to finally catch some sunshine. As we relaxed in our patio, admiring the flowers that were in full bloom, we started talking about our son’s first birthday. It was a big milestone for him and for us. How did we want to mark it? A quiet dinner so we could do away with a party or a big bash inviting the whole world?
My creaking bones preferred the former to the latter.
We called our family and to our pleasant surprise all of them were eager to drive or fly to be with us. That pumped the much needed enthusiasm and we got our planning hat on. Do we invite friends, colleagues or keep it just family? I had always thought that moving to the US had somehow diminished the bonding that cousins share and I wanted my son to have his gang of comrades. Cousins who would teach him to ride a bike or tricks that are exclusive to kids, aunts who are always eager to cook his favorites and uncles who kept a secret stash of batteries for his toys. He would have friends but cousins bring a familial insanity that is unique. So we decided to go with just family. Family, who held our backs as we struggled as first time parents.
The invitations were sent and bags were packed. The food, decorations and favors were chartered out and the party was just round the corner. The oven was running overtime and the house was sparkling clean as his grandparents arrived. Finally we could breathe better since parents calm us and ground us with equal measure. They took care of the grandson and let us plan the party. As his aunts and uncles arrived we realized that they didn’t act like guests but were more like hosts. Everybody cooked, cleaned, wiped noses, changed diapers and ran errands. My son had the gift of family that many could only wish for.
On his birthday as we blew his candle, I wished for this laughter to continue throughout his life. I wished for us to get together more often and mark every big event. He would falter and fall, break a tooth or a bone but would have aunts and uncles who are ever willing to cuddle with him. He would flunk a test or fall out of love but would have cousins who are ready with a hug and an ear to listen. The only gifts we can bestow on our children are roots and wings. For now we are focusing on the roots to run deep and strong. Family is the most important entity in life and on his big one with the smiles and sounds of all those near and dear, we felt that we had taught him that lesson that he would treasure in life.
More About Meera:
Meera Ramanathan is a columnist focusing on her dual passions — food and travel. A voracious reader, she also writes about the immigration melodrama, cinema and parenting woes. Tweets at @meeraramanathan and blogs at Lost in Thought.
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