Monday, April 23, 2007

The Grandparents...

(This post is by Sandeepa of Bong Mom's CookBook)

The Parents left over the weekend after a long stay, leaving both me and S miserable. Don't know about D though. It's amazing how guys never crib about their in-laws and yet lead a peaceful life, thus leaving no opportunity for serials like "Sasur bhi Kabhi Damad Tha"

More than me missing my parents I was worried about S who was extremely attached to them, more with her Dadai, my Dad. So whole of last week I kept explaining to her that Dadai & Didun are going back to Kolkata, because they have a house there which is also missing them. She took it nicely after my Mom promised to come back after taking care of the house. At the airport I told little S it's ok to be sad, even I am sad and she said she was "6" sad. Rating sadness on a scale at age 3 is pretty amazing I thought when I cannot even rate my pain in 1 – 10!!!

We gave her constant company over the weekend but grand parents are on another level and we can never achieve that. She used to almost bully my Dad and even tried teaching him Ballet !!! I really feel sad for little S. She is the kind of child who loves talking nineteen to a dozen but needs a patient listener who will also respond and ask the right questions. My mind strays many times during her chatter, especially in the car when I want to sit quite and think while she wants me to actively participate in some inane conversation. With my dad & Ma she used to spin stories, imaginary ones and have great time play acting.

Since S knows that her Dadai & Didun are not going to come back soon, the first thing she did after coming back from airport is call up her Thammi (my Ma-in-law) and she asks her when we should get tickets for her to come here. Thammi agreed to come soon but poor thing has had a knee replacement surgery and is in the healing stage. So we have to wait for her to recuperate.

This is when I feel "What am I doing so far away from my own country". The distance is so much that it’s not possible to hop on the next flight for a quick visit.

On the other hand I am amazed by the tenacity that grandparents seem to garner. The way my Ma would keep little S busy by doing little projects with her, teaching her Bengali Rhymes and Bengali Letters is amazing. I don't think I will ever make a good grandma. I can never do for my grandchild what S's grandparents (both sets) do for her. When I think of retirement I hardly envision myself sitting and playing with a 2 year old in my daughter's home, no I think of lazing in some private island with some good books in tow!!!

But both my parents and D's parents love spending time with S. They agree though that being close would have helped, then they wouldn't have to stay here for a long stretch and abandon all other aspects of life they have in India. But even then they are ready to pack their bags and come to spend time with her

Grandparents also have a very positive influence in the kids life I feel. I think they feel more secure and safe and learn a lot about our culture from them, especially the immigrant kids. When S's school was teaching family, she used to come and tell me about her friends’ Grandma and Grandpa. This time around she was very proud to have them visit her school too.

On a funny note, yesterday during afternoon tea time I was telling D, that tea time was more fun when my Ma was here because it was she who would make it when I would get back from work and we would sit around the table and chat over tea. Hearing this little S went away and came back with one of her cute play tea cups and offered me some wonderfully brewed make believe tea !!!

17 comments:

mcewen said...

I'm so glad that you had a chance to spend some time together, you're so lucky. Seems to have had a great effect on her too.
Best wishes

Dee said...

Sandeepa,
I can sooo relate to you here. My parents or in-laws have been with me for the last 2 years and even 3 days without them seems like eternity of silence! My mom seemed to have infinite energy taking care og Chintu when I was at work and she had the energy to take care of me and Chintu till he slept. This gave me so much time for myself ! She never complained one bit and enjoyed being and playing with her grandson. Same with my dad. Chintu at age 15 months misses his thatha (grandpa) so much that whenever he sees an older person working in the garden or when my MIL gives him oranges (which my dad usually used to feed him), he keeps repeating the word 'thatha' endlessly. Even an infant can miss grandparents :) . In the long term, I want to figure out a way that they can be with their grnadparents whenever they want to..They can give love in ways even parents can't !
-Dee

Dee said...

I'm sorry... I meant "I want to figure out a way they can be with their grandson whenever they want..." in the last line...typo :)
-Dee

Tharini said...

Oh Sandeepa! I feltso sad reading this., If there's any one thought, besides my weight of course, its the thought of that day when my mom shall leave us. Oh my god, even thinking abt it now is painful. I cannot imagine what Akhil will do without her.

Yes I totally understand what u mean when you say...is it worth it to be this far away from them?

Grandparents are simply amazing. And just for that, I kno we will go back home one day soon.

Shilpa. said...

Oh my, what a darling S is, to say she is "6" sad, how adorable! :) hee hee! actually, my mom still teases me about how I used to say I loved her "10" much when I was a kid! :)

Sigh, the sentiments in your post are all too familiar to me, about what some of us are doing so far from home.. I can totally relate, but there are as many push and pull factors here as there are back home, so I am living a very conflicted existence!

Gosh, it's refreshing to know that I'm not the only one who suspects I'll make a lousy grandparent! :) My retirement plans sound very much like yours, haha!

You must be pretty sad about your parents going home, so I hope writing this was therapeutic in some way... I suppose it'll be your turn to visit them next? It's no joke travelling with a kid, though!

indosungod said...

Sandeepa, I hear you and feel for you, the love that grandparents give is so different from ours. We are always distracted. Sometimes no most of the time I feel guilty for living so far away. I was the most happiest (yes two superlatives) when I was visiting my grandparents. Mom is coming for summer the grandchildren are all excited.

Asha said...

Hi sandeepa,good to read about grandparents and S:)) Glad she got to know them and enjoy at least for some time.
My parents are too busy with their own life in B'lore to visit us(dad still working as a honorary Judge) and my in-laws are very very controlling!:P
I had one set of very loving grandparents and the other ones not so much!! S is lucky to have such loving grandparents:))

Retirement for us?!
Trisha wants to be a doctor and she already told me she will have kids ONLY if I take care of them bcos she will be too busy!!!:D
Looking forward to second round of parenting!!!!

Sandeepa said...

I love this club, its like chatting with close friends :D

Thanks mcewen

Dee
Yeah the whole house is kind of silent now. yesterday I picked S from school and as soon as we entered, she quietly asked if her Didun is back. It really made me sad

Tharini
Have a great time with your Mom while she is here

Shilpa
Yeah the writing was theraupetic. Putting it all in words while talking makes it difficult. This is way better.

Indo
You must be all excited now alond with the two girls :)

Asha
Ha ha Trisha is smart, all figured out :) You know what with all your yummy treats the kids will love to be with you :)

B o o said...

Awwww, what a lovely post Sandeepa! Just today I was thinking along the same line. Since we lived in India for the past 18 months, my daughter had so much fun with her grand parents and now it breaks my heart every time she talks to them on the phone and says bye with a sad tone.
I just hope I have the same enthu and energy as my mom at her age to even get up from the bed! ;)

Praba said...

That was a sweet story. Mom and Dad left for India last December...We packed and left the same day on a vacation so we didn't have to deal with the pain of missing them after a long six moth stay...It actually worked great! We got back after a couple of weeks with memories from our vacation.. although K kept asking why weren't grandparents coming with us? I tried to explain they had booked their tickets already, and all the visa related stuff...K wasn't quite convinced the first couple of days, and kept asking why did they leave for India, and not join us..later she seemed fine - but I could see she was internalizing it, and trying to come to terms with it - would have been harder had we stayed back home - a new setting helped us deal with it better..we couldn't have spent the winter holidays sitting at home amidst all the gloominess of the weather coupled by parents leaving...

Now that the weather is nicer, I am sure you and your daughter can stay outside and do stuff...That will help you handle the sadness of missing their company...

Anonymous said...

I think it is much better to see grandparents off and on rather than living with them all the time. When one lives with grandparents, conflicts between parents and grandparents inevitably creeps in and those family dramas are awful for kids. When you see grandparents every few months, you appreciate them that much more (and the other way around) and relationships are so much more cordial. Just my two cents.

gayathre said...

dear sandeepa,
that was a beautifully written post.even i feel choked when my mom left for india as well as when i had to leave from there to US.its really very depressing when i think that we cant visit our parents whenever we wish and we have to plan and wait for a certain amount of time,because of the cost and time involved.the same is true with my dear sis too.she misses her little niece beynd description.i have a grandma who is a role model for us.even in those good old days,when my grandpa became very ill,she joined nursing(after my uncle and mom were born),got a govt. job and pulled up her family.i really treasure her and her experiences.i have never seen her uttering a single word of self-pity!

Kay said...

sandeepa, what a beautiful relationship it is! :) Thanks for sharing it with us.

Now, I miss my grandma.

Gayathre, Your grandmom is one strong lady!

Reena said...

sandeepa, i hear you. hugs to you. i know you are missing them so much.

often times i have wondered about the love and warmth my daughter is missing. i grew up away from grandparents too. though i never missed them that much because they had so many grandchildren too. that is not the case these days. M is the only grandchild in both mine and my husband's family so grandparents miss her so much.

i know you are missing your parents too and house will seem empty for few weeks at least

SJ said...

Hi Sandeepa, Big hug to you and little S. It feels so miserable after parents leave. Though I feel sad myself I do agree the little one's suffer more. My daughter was less than 2 when my father. Even now 5 months after his trip, whener she sees an aeroplane she says "My Dadu went gone to Bombay". I wish we could give them all the love and attention they get from grandparents.

On the positive side S is lucky to have 2 sets of loving grandparents.

Roopa said...

Hi Sandeepa,
Little S is a lucky!, my dad is about to leave to blore in a months time. Now ankur is so attached to him for all the treats he gives, esp the part stroll at the playground he is gonna miss him soon. Now my in laws are old more than travelling from blore to SG they get tired travelling from my native to blore. This time they have refused to travel so have to plan for my son to spend time either in playgroup which i dont really fancy as it is hardly as hour and by the time we reach home in another 15 mins we have to fetch him back!

Asha Trisha is smart!!

u know nidhi already says that who is going to all that u care for ankur, i not gonna have kids until i have someone to take care of them i know u will b there for me :) ha ha these kids are really so much grown up they think far apart from us! BTW Trisha kids will love with youas sandeepa said! i think you will also love thos wonderfull moments which i suppose you would be missing when you see some of us discussing about the little activities of our kids :)

Sumana said...

Hello Sandeepa,
Very nice post, so apt at my situation. My parents left to blore a couple of weeks back. My son who is just 6 months, jumps and keeps clasping on to my face when i call thatha (grandpa). My dad used to sing kannada folk songs for him and when i sing them he looks all around to find if his thatha is somewhere around. I feel sad for him and i miss my parents even more.