Giving thanks for the important things: Family

Giving thanks for the important things: Family

This past weekend was the long weekend and a holiday in the US on the occasion of Thanksgiving. The origins of the holiday are rather murky but it does bring into focus an important concept: giving thanks. And somehow, in its own cosmic way, the universe conspired to ensure that I’d be giving thanks for some of the most wonderful people in my life: my family.

Early on Saturday morning, Gy and I set off to visit my folks who live across town. If you’re a resident of this garden city or even an occasional visitor to my blog, you’d know that the one thing I absolutely dread is traffic on the streets.

Having lived here for the last 21 years, give or take, I’ve seen the city grow from a sleepy and scenic locale to a hubbub of urbanisation. A distance that would take me 20 minutes to cover back in college now takes upwards of an hour and a half. Fumes from polluting vehicles and terribly potholed roads only serve to make things worse.

Then, thanks to the arrival of the Metro rail in our part of town , six months ago, travel became a bit more tolerable. I could cut across the city in less than 30 minutes. We decided to take it a notch further this weekend and attempt the entire journey using public transport. Starting with a cab from home for the first 2 kilometres at 6 am, we reached the Metro in time to take the train. Once we reached the last stop, we changed over to the suburban track to take the passenger train to the area where my parents live. That involved getting off the Metro, switching to the other track, buying a ticket for the journey and waiting for the train. . . all in under 5 minutes.

All that daily walking helped! Gy could manage all of this easily anyway but I surprised myself by running up stairs and between platforms, to make the train on time. The trip itself on the suburban train was an experience worthy of a dedicated blog post, so I’ll talk about that another day.

The last leg of our journey involved walking about two kilometres to my folks’ home and given the early morning air, it was a pleasure. Gy and I walked hand in hand, watched shopkeepers and greengrocers opening shop, sweeping the place outside and washing the area to keep it clean. We inhaled deeply as we walked past a florist’s wares and dodged potholes nimbly with our walking shoes on. It’s almost as if things were coming together to create the recipe for the best weekend in ages.

Walking in the door of my folks’ home, I was greeted by the sight of my delightful family. I know a lot of people have trouble with their family, but I have no such stories, thankfully. Faces around the room lit up as we walked in, right from my 18-month-old nephew to my father. People were glad to see us and the feeling was more than mutual.

In no particular order, here are the people I am grateful for in my life, just from this past weekend.

Giving thanks for the people in my life, one blessing at a time. I'm grateful and blessed to be surrounded by love and #Thanksgiving seems like the perfect time to express #Gratitude for all of it.

My nephew: From blowing spit bubbles to attempting to ‘jump’ off the ground, this chap is the epitome of living life to the fullest. He is curiosity packaged in a foot-high bundle and is an absolute delight to watch. Being the only boy on both sides of the family, it’s interesting to see how different he is from the girls. From eyeing me warily on Day 1 to becoming my fast friend by that same evening, this child reminds me why it’s important to just be in the moment. Always.

My niece: On the cusp of turning 5, this child is very special to me. I was with her in the hospital the day she was born. I spent the first 3 nights rocking her to sleep and changing diapers while my sister rested. I crooned lullabies while she listened with wide-eyed wonder and held her close months later when she battled a raging fever. She absolutely idolises Gy, looking up to her as the big sister who can do no wrong. This child reminds me of the power of innocence and how much love the human heart is capable of. Also, aunts are meant to spoil their nieces and I do a fairly decent job of it, if I do say so myself.

My sister: I’m blessed to have a sister. I can’t say it often enough. We’ve been each other’s confidants for as long as I can remember. We’ve shared a room ever since we were kids and this didn’t change even when we went away to study! At the dormitory, we were assigned the same room. On this trip, we had a long heart-to-heart talk on so many topics ranging from work to parenting to relationships and it was with a bit of quiet pride I saw how she’s grown up. From that kid sister I needed to protect, she is now a rock I can lean on, when the need arises.

My dad: He’s the quiet force that stays in the background, never making himself obvious but always there, for anything from a deep conversation about life to sharing humorous anecdotes from our lives. He’s always been my go-to person when I’ve been faced with a dilemma. I mused out loud that my nephew was at the best age possible. He replied with, ‘Every age is the best age, if you just allow yourself to receive the blessings.’ His silent wisdom and his deep love for the family manifests in so many incredible ways that a short note here will do him no justice. I did write a post about him a while ago.

My mom: I am forced to pause whenever I speak of my mom. No words seem adequate to do justice to the woman that she is. And I don’t say this lightly. She is my everything. Even this weekend, I noticed how she went about taking care of each of our needs, right from an infant to her husband and didn’t flinch or express tiredness once through it all. Probably the best compliment came from my niece this weekend. I was assigned the task of giving her a bath and she asked me, ‘Periamma, how come Ammamma needs a stool to give me a bath while you don’t?’ I replied, ‘That’s because Ammamma is old and needs a stool to sit on.’ She burst into giggles and replied, ‘ So funny, Periamma. Ammamma is not old.’

Her amusement made me realise something else about my mom. She never seems old because she never feels old. She can play with a toddler with the same energy as she can dish out a 3-course meal for the family. That’s not just a testament to her energy but to the power of love, which keeps her going.

My husband: He was the first to be up on Saturday morning, ready to drop us off at the station. He then periodically messaged to check in with me to see if I’ve reached safely and had any trouble. Thank goodness for technology that allows us to keep track of one another in times that can otherwise be worrisome. I never have to be concerned about his food since he cooks very well, a blessing and a skill that everyone needs, to be honest. It’s a skill that has saved me many a day, especially when I am ill and unable to cook.

My daughter, Gy:Β I have left this one for last, not for anything else, but for the fact that she is the reason for this post. As I tucked her into bed last night, after we came back home, she pulled me down for a kiss and said, ‘Amma, I love you.’ I acknowledged that I loved her too. She wasn’t done.

‘Actually, I think everyone loves you, Amma. You are a very lovable person. Nobody can dislike you.’

Last night, as she said this and today, as I type this, I feel tears welling up. This is what gratitude feels like. It’s the affirmation from people you love without expecting anything in return. I thought of telling her that it wasn’t true.

That there were people who didn’t like Amma or perhaps didn’t love Amma the way she did. That jealousy and anger, the emotions she overcomes so quickly, are not that easy for most people to deal with. That even your best intentions are sometimes mis-read and people tend to dislike you for no fault of yours.

But I desisted. There would be time for her to learn all this. There would be moments in life when innocence gives way to disappointment. It just wouldn’t be today and it wouldn’t be at this precise moment of gratitude.

Hugging her, feeling her cheek nestle against my shoulder, I sent up the biggest prayer of gratitude for this child in my life. Together with every other member of the family this weekend, she has been the reason for giving thanks.

I hope you find your moments of gratitude, in the everyday gestures and the sometimes unspoken thoughts. And I hope it keeps you warm on a cold winter’s evening, the way it did for me.

***

*Featured image & pinnable image courtesy: Shutterstock

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24 thoughts on “Giving thanks for the important things: Family

  1. Being loved by a world of strangers gives you a boost but the validation and affirmation of our close ones is the one that matters in the end.So happy that your daughter sees you as a lovable person, stay blessed!

    1. So true, Sara. I confess that thought crossed my mind multiple times today. I’m happy being loved by a few and the few that matter the most. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading.

  2. What a heart warmer this post this. Yes, I love that what’s is the story behind Thanksgiving, it brings families together. I love that the Americans have this as a holiday and I am all game for it. πŸ™‚
    May you stay blessed, Shailaja and like Gy said, you are lovable. <3
    Parul Thakur recently posted 20s Vs 30sMy Profile

  3. Such a beautiful post, Shailaja. Family – We can choose friends, but we learn to live with family. That’s the best part about it. Somehow it’s like reading that one book again and again, but the way it is seen changes every singles time. As a child, as a teenager, as an adult, my thinking has changed over time and I am glad and not just thankful, but grateful and blessed to have a lovely family and somehow I feel it is like 4 pillars. Being the elder sister, I feel my little sister is my first daughter! And sometimes I feel my little sister is always little and I am over protective. We are in that phase were we are transforming to being the friends and I am accepting the fact that she will be married in a couple of years!

  4. Awww… You make me miss home. So much love and affection in your family! It feels so wonderful to read about them. Gy is a sweetheart. She always has the right words to say. Give her a tight hug from me
    And I am glad the metro has made traveling slightly better. I remember the horror of being stuck in traffic jam.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted Zentangle Inspired ArtworksMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Raj. She does know the right things to say and without being taught any of it. I’ll be sure to pass on the hugs πŸ™‚ The metro has definitely simplified travel although I don’t travel that often.

  5. Such a sweet, heartfelt post! You are blessed to have the family that you have. I also have a close knit family but growing up I did not have too many relatives to fall back upon and I missed it. Gy is such a delight. I have seen that in my younger son, how they love us, selflessly and with so much depth. God bless you all. May your bonds continue to be strong ace joyful.

  6. Such a heartfelt post, Shailaja! Always a pleasure to drop by at your space and smile through it!You have a wonderful family… God bless you and everyone at home!

    I too, will be doing a gratitude post soon. I think that is one need of the hour for me at the moment!

    Cheers

  7. Such a wonderfully warm post. I don’t know if it has something to do with my being a Capricorn but family has always been right at the top when it comes to my favourite relationships. That’s something one can count on without a thought. Glad you got to spend time with your parents and sister. Oh and nephews and nieces are such fun. Like you said, one can spoil them without a single guilty thought.
    Obsessivemom recently posted Be careful what you wish forΒ My Profile

    1. Family has been my go-to solution for so much, I tell you. And my nephew’s adorable antics are still fresh in my memory. Called up the sister to check on him a while ago and gosh, I miss him already!

  8. “Every age is a blessing if you allow yourself to receive the blessings” is worthy of making it a mantra for my life. There is so much wisdom wrapped in it that it becomes absolutely impossible to lose hope. Life is beautiful with a close-knitted family. Shailaja, believe truly what Gy has to say about everyone loving you. Though there will always be some or many who will function from the centre of anger and jealousy but love is more powerful.
    Anamika Agnihotri recently posted Old fort #WordlessWednesday 4My Profile

    1. Thank you, Anamika. I confess I’ve been sad, thinking about how and why people dislike me. But I’m slowly learning to let it go. I used to be that way, carefree and content, about 20 years ago. Life is coming full circle and I’m finding myself coming back to that space again. Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot.

  9. So nice to read your post. That’s all you need. Don’t give those who don’t care for you the energy they don’t deserve. There’s not a day I am not grateful for my loved ones. They are my best cheerleaders, unconditionally.

    Seriously, the metro has been a boon. I remember the Bangalore of yore. Sigh. Now the old houses are dwindling and high rises coming up in their place…convenient, but also very sad that we’re losing our greenery.

    Be happy, Shailaja! Love and hugs!
    Vidya Sury recently posted Horses, Mindfulness and To Don’t ListsMy Profile

  10. So blessed that I’m tearing up!

    If there is one thing that has disappointed me the most in my life, it’s my family. So when I read about the happiness that others get from their families, I feel so happy for them. As someone who has almost never received any support from family, you never know how blessed you are.

    But hey, I have friends who make up for it. More than enough of it πŸ™‚

    Stay blessed, Shy! Love.
    Soumya recently posted Action Replay: November 2017My Profile

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