I have struggled with this post, simply because to be true to me, I must be honest and yet to be honest seems to make me stick out… you know, to admit that I am not a perfect parent or that my children are not perfect. Gasp. Is that funny? See I seem to have a fair share of friends with truly perfect children. In their eyes. I struggle with that. I am not overly hard on my kids… they are not perfect. 2 are seemingly always fighting, name calling, teasing to tears. They are messy. They are lazy. They never seem to hang up towels. They disobey. They more time than not have me questioning myself as to why I thought I could parent and then again 6 times over.
(The turban is just an added piece… the boys love fighting over it!)
Sometimes as I watch my friends with their perfect children, I wonder if it is not a disservice to hold them in that light? One of the boys showed us a text of a few classmate… one who is perfect to their parents… and I was truly aghast and disheartened that such ugliness was going by un-parented. And yet… it would be too uncool to tatter tale … but ugh I realized that I’d much rather know and address the imperfections (especially racism and hatred) if they are factors in my children then live in lala land.
This said, I am going to be honest and say the last few years with my oldest were rough ones. Many people who have girls and boys say that boys are hard in the younger years, as they are busy, messy and loud. Then they say that girls become much more difficult in their teens as the hormones hit. I would say that I disagree. My boys are moody, their hormones seems to be in full swing and often times, we are not sure if it’s up or down. Sigh. I think that teens are, for the most part, a hand full. And then I panic, thinking of living through with six teens.
Going to India… I had mixed feelings about bring the two older ones. Part of me wanted to be selfish and enjoy this time with my brother alone. Grown ups and me time. Then the other part that obviously won out knew this would be a once in a life time experience. Of course I had no way of knowing it would a life changing for all of us. I was a little uncertain about spending time with my teens… in a way that we never have… as grown ups.
Wow. I wish I could find words to tell it all. I wish I could have video taped the experience in its fullest. Yet all I can say as through out this trip God gave me glimpses of how my little boys were becoming amazing men. I found myself fascinated with the protectiveness that came out… such as insisting to carry my huge carry all with my camera and our cash… so that no one would target me. As we shared a room and beds at families houses, I would feel myself being recovered with the blanket rather than it being pulled away. I would feel a head on my shoulder, or find my own head welcomed on their shoulder as I struggled for comfort on the very long trips. I saw gratitude and gratefulness for the life they are privileged to lead.
I saw my boys, especially my oldest, able to relate in an incredible way to people of all walks. No judgement. Acceptance. I saw him coming down to the level of little children after taking their picture to show them, rewarded with a smile. He understand what a reward it was to receive that smile. I loved that they understand the gift of family. They absolutely understood that the true gift of meeting family that may not be around too much longer. They watched the tears on my face and I believe sought to truly understand all that emotion and confusion. I loved that they embraced their heritage, their culture as theirs. Sure, they are Canadian, their birth certificates say so and yet they sought to embrace their roots. I loved that. I hated being different growing up. I wished I was white. Everyone else around me was. And while I get that my boys may have had those same feelings on occasion, especially living where we do, I saw them embrace what took me till this trip to do… truly appreciate and cherish my motherland. I loved that the boys were able to see so much to be proud of … to see past the negatives and grab on to the positives. Actually I think they had an uncanny ability to over look the poverty, the filth, the discomforts and see the beauty of this motherland.
Upon return, as I listened to Sammy share his trip, I heard him talking about my uncle… except he said, “My Kumar Kaku…” My… I loved that it was his kaku (uncle). It could have just as easily been my mom’s uncle… I loved that he embraced this family … though separated by oceans… as his family as if they were in the next town.
I loved that as we saw needs, immense needs, the boys saw it and responded to it. While in Calcutta at the temple, there were many beggars in this area… and we had been warned to not hand out money as we would be swarmed. I loved that Tyler saw a little older lady, felt that tug and chose to break the rules and hand her a coin. I love that seeing a little church on the roadside, that we stopped at, in need of seating (the members sat on the concrete floor), that my son said, “Mommy, I’d like to help raise money to buy benches.”
I love that this trip opened my eyes to the boys I have been raising, that drive me crazy on a daily bases are growing up to be good men. Boys to Men. Good Men. I love that God gave me this assurance with these little peeks into their character. I love that Sammy put his arm around me as we were visiting family and said, “Mommy, thanks for bring me on this trip.” I love the he loves wearing his Indian outfit, that he is able to stand out and be different. I love that confidence. I love that! I love that they are eager to return again, soon.
I love that God gave me the privilege to be these six boys’ mama.
I love my boys.
ps… if you would like to help the boys with their fundraising for benches for the church they saw… email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And thanks!