2015: The Summer of Selfies
reflections on a busy summer
As many of you already know, our family works differently – even more so when compared to a single parent-household. I joke with my husband that for all practical purposes, I am a single parent without dating privileges.
In the past five years, V (my daughter) and I have spent a lot of time being around each other. During this time, our weekends, weeknights, evening activities and leisure moments have changed, they are different from what other families pursue or engage in. We may not always talk with each other during the time we are together, or always like it, but it is our default mode, because most often there is no one else. And yet, in these moments of adjustment, realignment and revisions – we find ways to persevere.
What a summer this was . . . so memorable for so many reasons.
This summer we travelled a lot, including back and forth to India, several cities in the country (Delhi, Dehradun - Mussourie, Jaipur, Udaipur, Alibag, Pune-Kolhapur, Panjim & Bombay); Alberta, Canada, Chicago and a short stop in Urbana-Champaign, IL. On many of these jaunts, it was just the two of us (here is a quick snapshot of some parts of our India trip). We witnessed all sorts of human expressions, were faced with the depths and shallows of the human spirit and psyche, where we managed to keep our focus on who and what mattered, where we learned to speak for ourselves and value our time, often in the backdrop of a mindset that seldom sees such confidence or clarity kindly.
And in that time - I saw my daughter mature before my very eyes, learning important lessons about love, life, family and trust, sometimes the hard way.
In the chaos of our travels, we found ourselves sitting together, just watching the ocean waves sometimes, listening to the breeze or the birds, just being *there*. We found time to be silly, laugh at each other and with each other, care for and be cared by one another. Although I was the parent, sometimes, she became mine. It became our summer of selfies: because often times, it was just the two of us, and our togetherness mattered.
I hope that she grows up to see the beauty of this time, learns to appreciate the pleasure of silent company, solitude and being present for a loved one, and the self confidence that it instills - in being happy and content without needing extra stuff as well as learning to weed out frivolous relationships. I hope she learns to see the joy of simple things.
As much as I look forward to my own quiet time, I know I will feel just slightly unsettled in the extra quiet house as school begins for another year and this feeling will only grow as the years pass. My young lady will be caught up in another busy year of school and "stuff" brought about by what's around her for 8 hours each day. In a few years, it will be high school and then college and then we may be living in different towns.
I won’t be troubled by the silence when we are together, just the one that we have because we are apart.
I know I better get used to it- but know that I won't be able to do it. A part of me will always revisit and miss this summer of selfies: for the hard lessons it taught us, for the humanity it exposed and for the rare glimpses of kindness and beauty we witnessed, in the most unexpected places and unlikely people.
PS: This was originally written as a personal reflection note and was edited and updated for the blog. Since we live in the world we do, and this is an open public forum, I don’t share photos of my daughter or else our album of selfies would have been so appropriate for this post.