Friday, April 20, 2007

Curfews, Chaos and Comfort

Our furniture having been shipped and Sonny already living in Mexico City, Asha and I moved in with my mom until it was time for us to go to Mexico. It was a bit of a strange feeling at first living “at home” again, especially since Mom had moved into a new house, one in which I had never before resided. (The strangest part was when my mom would ask me what time I would be home when I was planning to go out with friends. Not that she expected me home at a certain hour, and I had always let Sonny know around what time to expect me when I go out, but having my mom ask brought up serious déjà vu.)

I also worried constantly that Asha would break something, pee on the carpet and generally just take over the house. She did all of those, but luckily my mom loves Asha more than her beautiful new house. (Incidentally, Sonny’s parents are now in the market for new carpeting and maybe even a paint job since Asha has managed to spill everything under the sun on their carpet and scribble on their walls.) My uneasiness faded a bit after a few days, when I finally accepted that any house with an 18-month old was going to be somewhat unruly and that my mom loved having us there and appreciated the opportunity to spend so much time with us before we left. Of course at this point we had no idea when exactly we were going to be leaving, since it all depended on when our household goods reached Mexico City, cleared customs and could be scheduled for delivery. But I suppose that is one of the greatest things about staying with parents – you never feel like you’ve worn out your welcome because it ultimately is your home, whether or not you’ve lived there growing up.

The realties of our indefinite departure enhanced my anticipation and excitement about the move because I wasn’t yet worrying about the practicalities of living abroad but just focusing on the adventure. I also didn’t have to think about the goodbyes to family and friends because at the back of my mind, even though I was leaving, I still had time. On the other hand, not knowing was frustrating because I had so much to get done before I left that I just didn’t know whether I would have enough time to do it all. I was living in a state of emotional chaos, exhausted from the minute I woke up, simply because my mind was running a thousand miles a minute, until the moment I went to bed, from all the physical running around. Each day consisted of running errands, organizing paperwork, making phone calls, taking Spanish lessons, (and sometimes Spanish homework, which more often than not I neglected), not to mention the day-to-day necessities of grocery shopping, Asha’s doctor appointments and even Gymboree. Sometimes I felt like I was doing just barely enough to survive until the next day. I have to say, however, that even this much would not have been possible but for the infinite physical and emotional support of my mom and in-laws, who were literally at my beck and call with respect to caring for Asha.

It recently occurred to me that no matter how hectic and stressful these past few weeks had been in the US, they were sure to feel like a breeze compared to those first few weeks in Mexico. As I mentioned, here I have had so much help with Asha – there is not a single day that goes by where I have been her sole or even or primary caretaker. Her grandparents often wake up with her, feed her, bathe her, play with her, put her down for a nap, and generally care for her while I am busy trying to sell the house, the car, close out bank accounts, report change of address for all bills, learn Spanish, etc. While I feel guilty at times for being an absentee mother, the constant presence of all my parents in Asha’s life has been comforting to her, while their unconditional love and support has been a godsend to me. Thus, even in the chaos there is comfort.

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