Except for the hotel room and bat franchise. This is George Clooney answering the question, “How often do you get homesick?” (W Dec. ’13 art issue). It is exactly how I feel… And why I feel blue during those holidays we don’t travel.
I’ve been trying to break the second law of thermodynamics lately, given a whole mess of frantic volunteering and helping and doing… I’ve been waiting for my activity to give me energy, magically, like a perpetual motion machine.
Can’t be done. Physics is physics. So, I could use a nap right now. Or two. Or three. Yeah, three naps would do it.
Before I sleep, let me share some good news.
- My friend is okay, she just came out of major surgery. If anything ever happened to my friend, I don’t know what I would do. She gets me, intrinsically, this friend.
- My other friend’s mom just came out of surgery too, and she did well. My friend is the most generous, caring person, and she is a dedicated, loving daughter, more patient than I could ever be. She inspires me to be more giving.
- My own mother is doing well, 20 months after a bone marrow transplant; she’s cooking and chatting with our kids on the phone, sounding happy and light. The sound of her laughing is the best sound ever.
- My father is doing well, and has entrusted me with a huge project, because he believes I can help. He knows I can help. The confidence he has in me is a treasure.
- My husband will go camping with his college buddies this weekend, a much needed and well deserved break–he always comes back from those trips so happy and refreshed (if tired, and thankful for a warm bed indoors). He has good friends. He is a good man.
- Our children are good students (just had teacher conferences): they are healthy, happy, well-behaved, hard-working children.
Gratitude can give you energy. It can stop you in your tracks and make your shiver on a sunshiny day. It can make you want to move.
So, yeah, I’m tired. But I also feel like I could sprint a mile or two, too.
“Seven years ago, my husband and I uprooted our two daughters, Ranju and Malu, from their comfortable lives in Manhattan and moved to India to be closer to our aging parents, and to allow our American-born children to know their Indian heritage.”
I cannot even imagine what would have happened, had my parents moved us back to India when we were young. I was last there when I was 11.
Pressure to conform.
I think that’s what I felt in India. An intense pressure to be anything but myself: as if “me” were inadequate, incongruous, generally incorrect. I didn’t have the wherewithal to silence those voices that Ms. Narayan describes. I didn’t know how to push back without being rude. (I may have learned how, since then. And my difficulties then may have been exacerbated by the severe illness I had–my maternal uncle used the word dysentery–making me lose 15 percent of my bodyweight.)
Maybe that’s one of the myriad reasons I haven’t been back since. It’s embarrassing that my 11-year-old self dictates the actions of my 43-year-old self. But it does. (for now)
I don’t know Ranju and Malu. But they impress me. Tremendously.