Pain


As I write this I am propped up on the couch with my right foot elevated and ice pack underneath my heel on Monday morning at 8:18 am. A pair of extremely sad eyes are fixed on me as Sage wills me to get up and fetch the leash for his morning walk. It is hard to endure his disappointment at my immobility but I am hardening my heart and trying to ignore his silent plea.

About 8 months ago, I started running on the treadmill. I had never run in my life, I started something new. I felt amazingly alive after a run. I increased my distance gradually, bragged about it to my family and basked in their adulation. Slowly, imperceptibly, I started to feel a pain in my heel, especially, when I woke up. I ignored it because it was just a niggling pain. At work, a couple of friends and I were running up and down the stairs for cardio exercise between our shifts, with inappropriate footwear. The pain in the morning increased enough for me to take notice. But as I got on the treadmill, it went away so I continued running. The pain got to a point where I felt it at every step, not terrible but enough for me to notice and wonder. While describing it to a friend at work, I said I must have hurt myself while running. She mentioned planter fasciitis. Even though I could hardly pronounce it, I jumped on the internet to get more information and bingo….every symptom matched mine.

I mentioned it to my doctor. She prescribed Aleve and no exercise for a month. Of course I did not listen. But I did give up running. I walked instead, wincing at every step.

The pain worsened. I went to a podiatrist. He put me on steroids that sky rocketed my blood pressure. I bought different kinds of orthotics, started using a night sling, became regular with stretches, ice packs, rolling tennis ball under my feet but one thing I did not stop doing was being a martyr.

My work involves a fair amount of being on my feet but at home, I persisted through pain. Taking the dog for walks, albeit shorter, running up and down doing laundry, usual household chores, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring. Every step is increasingly painful, and as I winced, I promised I will put my feet up after this chore. But after that chore, something else came up which needed my attention.

Now I have pain snaking up to my hip and although I try to maintain my smile, I feel very discouraged inside.

I have made a decision last night as my feet throbbed and I felt the familiar sense of hopelessness, I will stop being a martyr. It will be hard but I will stop my walks, stop making elaborate meals, stop worrying about neatness in the house and focus on eliminating the pain.

So here I am, propped up on my couch, venting in my blog because I hope one day when the pain is gone, I read this blog and remember to pay heed to the message that my body is trying to send. And also remember to stop being a martyr.

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Kolkata meets Troy


A very dear friend came to visit me from India and started talking about his roomba. He extolled the virtues of it. He said how easy it is to use and programme. He said how satisfied he was with the product. He, perhaps, saw the dog hair universe in every nook and cranny of my house and felt this dust and dog hair infested house could do with some cleaning help. The inhabitants are obviously laz….I mean, otherwise occupied to keep their house minimally clean. He said he was going to gift us a roomba. I protested vehemently, he did not bring it up anymore, we had spicy chicken wings, went to the mall, hung out drinking tea and then he left. After a week of his departure, an Amazon packet came for me bearing the gift of …..yes, you guessed it, a roomba. Whenever I get a new gadget, my first reaction is one of panic. What? I have to learn something new? Something modern? Something that requires reading directions and setting up? My brain’s first impulse is to simply shut down for a few minutes. Unwillingly, I read the directions, make sense of them, set things up and use them. I looked at my shiny, black roomba with same anxiety and brain shutdown. “I have to figure you out?”

But first things first, it required a name. After much deliberation we all decided on Troy. I don’t quite remember the reason behind it so don’t ask. The next step was to set it up, connect it to the wifi and turn it on. When all was done (after some hiccups) Troy started zooming around the house picking up Sage hair as the four of us, humans, watched him work with utter amazement on our faces. Sage watched him too, with wariness and distaste.

I became Troy fan. Why won’t I be a fan of something that runs around cleaning my house while I sit on the couch with my feet up and a book in my hand? A robot maid! When I read about Irona in the comics Richie Rich in my childhood, I never imagined I would own a semi Irona one day. But here it was, running around my house picking up dirt, dog hair, gently nudging the dog to move when he was in its way, gently nudging my feet when I am in its way. How enchanting!

Not too long ago, on a Sunday morning, I was calling my home in Kolkata while Troy did its magic around the house. On a whim, I turned the camera around on my phone and showed my parents and the women who keep the house for them my robotic helper. The astonishment rivaled mine when Troy first came home. Baba called both Breshpati and Gouri to see the marvel. He explained to them how I sat on the couch all day, without moving a muscle, and my house gets cleaned. I tried to intervene weakly saying, no, I still need to dust and mop, but that was brushed aside. The news spread that I sit on my lazy butt all day and my house gets magically clean. The cleaning ladies in Kolkata watched with their mouths open as Troy ran around cleaning. They spend hours sweeping, dusting, mopping to keep the Kolkata dirt out of the house and here was a circular machine doing just that without any human intervention. They asked me several questions. I answered trying to explain. But the explanations did not sink it. To them, this was simply unbelievable, magic even. I followed Troy with my phone camera while the two ladies watched it clean. Roomba met its adoring fans via internet. And the word of my laziness spread like wildfire.

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Food and us


Long, long time ago when I was very little and was just learning to read English, my mother bought a picture book for me. It was mainly pictures of two blonde children, their white dad, their white mom and their yellow dog. The few sentences in that book talked about their usual day. For example, they woke up at 7:00 am, ate breakfast, played with their dog, went for a picnic – mundane things like that. The most surprising element in the book for me was that the mother started making dinner at 4:00 pm and the family ate dinner at 5:00 pm. I remember reading that line again and again in amazement and wonder. I always wondered what the family ate and it confused me to no end that dinner was prepared in one hour. Since I was a wee lass, I have seen and observed a very different rhythm of life, not only in our household but in the society in which I was nurtured. The rhythm of our very middle class Bengali life was completely food centric.

When I was 4 or 5 years old, the morning started with intense smoke. The household help put fire to the earthen stove called unoon. It required coal and cow dung patties. Experts could get it going with minimum smoke but if one was not an expert or the coal was not completely dry, the smoke permeated the whole neighborhood. Water for morning tea was boiled on the burning stove, followed by breakfast. Generally the menu for breakfast was decided the night before. Tea was accompanied by biscuit (cookies), while real breakfast was cooked. After breakfast, the household help came to my grandfather asking what the menu for lunch and dinner would be. My grandfather held the purse for family expenditure so the menu for lunch and dinner was a joint decision by my mother and him. Sometimes they disagreed and then there would be problems.

When I was older, we first had kerosene stove and then gas stove with two burners. Ah, the luxury!! Two burners were so appreciated and the hassle of not having to get the earthen stove going every morning was the best feeling ever by those responsible for cooking family meals. This is how the day went in our house and it is safe to generalize in this case and assume that this is how the day went in most houses when I was growing up. My mother, at that point, decided the menu for lunch and dinner, the household help went to the market to pick up ingredients for the meal. She came home and started the process of chopping vegetables, gutting fish or cleaning meat, preparing spices. When I was young, we did not use ready made spices. Cumin paste was made from scratch, turmeric paste obtained from turmeric tube, gorom moshla was made by crushing cardamom, clove, cinnamon sticks in a mortar and pestle. I still remember the sound and smell of fresh spices being prepared and the noise of sheel nora in our kitchen. Lunch menu was definitely different from dinner menu. In between, there had to be elaborate breakfast – luchi torkari, and evening snack – porota alu r torkari or Bengali chowmein or alu r chop (fritters of different kinds). We had tea (milk for young ones) and biscuit when we woke up, around 9 there would be a hearty breakfast, lunch around 1 or 2, tea again around 4, evening snack around 6 and dinner around 10:30 or 11 pm. This was typically how much we ate during a day off. So one can imagine, the household help’s day was spent in the kitchen. With the advent of gadgets and ready made spices, life became much easier but for many families the number of meals in a day remained the same.

For me, someone used to seeing life revolve around preparing food, it was incredible that the mama in the family started preparing food at 4 pm and the family sat down to dinner at 5 pm.

Being a mama in the family now who loves to cook but hardly has time anymore, I now smile at my amazement at the book. Most days we scrounge around, make do with what is lying in the fridge, boil some pasta and slap some pesto on it, make peanut butter and jelly sandwich and make dinner in less than half an hour. Those days I think that mama in the book must have made some elaborate meal – it took her a whole hour!

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Aging


Aging does not bother me too much. In a weird way, it is liberating. The face is not as thin as it used to be, the jawline is getting blurry, there are pouches under my eyes, the hair has significant strands of white. Although, I must say when I take care to blow dry my hair, and the strands of white are not all fuzzy and crazy like, they totally look stylish.

Feet hurt a little at the end of the day and yes, the back hurts sometimes when I wake up. The knee creaks and the doctor tells me my bones are bad. Physically, it is a downhill journey but mentally it is freeing. I speak my mind more, I am less sensitive, I can laugh about myself and the horrible insecurity has magically disappeared. No, you will still not find me dancing wildly on the dance floor but that is primarily because I have 2 left feet and no sense of direction. I can cause serious injury to fellow dancers by grooving in the wrong direction. When someone calls me old, it is not an insult, just the state of my being in the present moment. I embrace all of it. Except one thing……

What is with the belly fat??? I hate that jiggle. And it is not about what people are going to think about my pear shaped body, it is completely about my efforts at getting rid of it and the utter failure.

All my life, I have been unable to put on weight; so with the cockiness of someone with fast metabolism I did not pay attention to the gradually accumulating belly fat till one day I could not button my pants. Talk about a rude awakening. Every time a pant feels tighter or the love handles spill over the waistband I promise myself, this is it – less carbs, no sugar, more exercise and I can get this to disappear. But I work at a library. It is a well known fact that librarians love to eat and feed fellow librarians. Customers love us and show their appreciation by bringing us home made goodies or store bought treats. Moreover, I am a Bengali. We Bengalis can not resist food. So all of the above work against my good resolutions.

So now that I have written down all the reasons for my burgeoning girth, I can hopefully work towards a resolution. There are a couple of reasons for that. A doctor check up is coming up. My doctor will not be amazed by my fantastic BMI this time and second being a Kolkata trip in a couple of months. Kolkata means home, Kolkata means parents, Kolkata means love, Kolkata means memories, Kolkata means amazing Bengali food and Bengali sweets, Kolkata means…. belly fat. Sigh. And my slowing metabolism. Deadly combination.

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Love won


Once upon a time a baby girl decided she wanted to see the world earlier than what her mama’s doctor had predicted. She got her way. She came early. She looked up at her mama and won her heart right away. Her mama kissed her nose and promised to love her all her life.

The little girl ruled over all in India – her enamored grandparents, uncles, aunts, neighbors, friends. Then one day, she had to leave all that was familiar and moved to a new country. She knew no one. Her mama was sick. Her daddy was busy. She had no friends. Then she saw ladybugs in their new house. She asked her mama if the lady bugs from back home missed her and had they come to visit? When her mama slept, she spent long time sitting with the ladybugs and remembering her home.

Time, however, is a great healer. The little girl went to school, made friends, slowly adapted. Her new country became home.

She did many great things. She played, studied, sang, wrote. Her mama continued to love her, tried to answer her questions, often got frustrated, was often unsure how to nurture her defiant spirit and channel her energy in the right direction but the love that flowed from the mama to the girl through that first kiss, remained a constant.

Childhood was sweet, teenage was tumultuous and finally at 19, the mama looks at her little girl in wonder. She is a woman. She is a person with a thinking, analytical mind, she has a certain depth that the mama can not comprehend. She is fiery in her demand for equal rights. She is a woman the mama wanted her to be when she held her in her arms.

There were times of doubt, there were shades that was disappointing in this whole process of growing up but all those moments of doubt, all those shades of disappointment were overshadowed by all the love that was showered upon the little girl. Love won. She accumulated so much love in her 19 years that she has enough to pass around.

Happy 19th birthday to my child. May love see you through all your life. May you always pass it on.

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Last day in New Orleans and a broken promise


On Sunday, Sean went to church while I took my time with coffee and shower. After his return we took the street car to the World War II museum. It was a sobering experience to say the least. After seeing photographs of young soldiers, making the ultimate sacrifice to stop evil from destroying our world, after reading narratives, witnessing the devastation that war caused, we wanted to pack up the museum and send it to Washington DC so law makers can do all in their power to prevent another large scale destruction of life and property. As we walked back slowly, both of us were quiet and contemplative. The sights and sounds of war, something that happened years and years ago were still hard to absorb.
Lunch that day was surprisingly easy and delicious. We found Auction House, a conglomeration of restaurants, within a building. I had an amazing Louisiana crab cake and Sean had some concoction that included avocados. We shared a chocolate hazelnut banana empanada from Empa Nola. Instead of getting back to the hotel, we decided to go see the Lafayette cemetery. We waited for eternity, or so it seemed, for a street car to come so I put my time to good use. I watched Ryan’s baseball game on Game changer. You can take a baseball parent out of town for a vacation, you cannot take baseball out of a baseball parent.

But here is the most important information in this blog that you need to know. We broke our promise. We did not take a nap on our final afternoon in New Orleans. We just rested for a while once we got back to our hotel. After church, Sean went scouting for nice restaurants away from the touristy French Quarter, which, in retrospect, we should have done earlier. And he found an Italian restaurant in the downtown area, which, to him, looked promising. Domencina was fancy and delicious. We ended our stay with a truly sumptuous meal and we each ordered a dessert, which we never do. He ordered Cannoli, I ordered Crema cotta that had honey, blueberries and basil. Heavenly.

We walked back to the hotel and rested. No naps. As I said, broken promise and all. In the evening we slowly walked around French quarter absorbing the ambiance and the joie de vivre  that we felt on the first day and which, in my mind, is truly the characteristic of this city. After looking around several sauce shops, we bought hot sauce for Ryan, mask magnet for Sahana,  chocolate covered pecans for both and headed back.
We packed to go back home and watched Cavaliers  beat Celtics. Sean was grumpy and berated King James .

A blog about this trip would be incomplete if I did not mention what we found when we got home. The house was immaculate, my kitchen was organized, counter tops spotless, the lawn was mowed. Ryan did not miss a singe baseball game. Sahana kept everything in order.

The trip was much needed. A little break from routine. But the realization that our daughter was grown up, responsible was priceless.

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NOLA: Day 3


Our vacation in New Orleans was constantly threatened by a big storm Alberto that was gathering strength in the vicinity and was expected to lash out in the general area. We kept the weather channel on and checked weather update on our phones a lot before we booked tours or made plans. After getting caught in torrential downpour on the first day, we carried our umbrellas everywhere. Saturday morning was supposed to be rain free so we had booked a tour to see the bayous and meet some alligators. We showered, got dressed early and headed down to the lobby where our transportation company was supposed to pick us up and take us to the waterways. There, we were going to board a boat called Swamp Thing, explore the bayous and see alligators. Very touristy, I know. After collecting tourists from different hotels, our van left the city and deposited us by the water in a very rustic setting with a small ticket counter, a tiny gift shop, relatively clean  restrooms and a captive alligator next to the gift shop, sun bathing.

 

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After waiting for about 20 minutes, the captain of our boat, a native of the area, welcomed us all and started navigating the boat into serene waterways. He kept up a constant chatter telling us the history of the land that we saw around us, but I really wished he would stop talking. The day was so beautiful, the green around us was so lush, the water was so still that it reflected the azure sky and the breeze caressed my whole being. I just wanted quiet so I could absorb this stillness within my soul.

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But he kept talking. I leaned back on Sean and tuned him out. We passed a small burial ground by the water – unkempt, forgotten, home to those long gone. As I write this blog, many weeks after our trip, that tiny little forgotten cemetery evokes a special feeling. It found a special place in my heart.

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As we went deeper into the bayou, we met our first alligator. The captain turned off the boat, grabbed a bag of marshmallows and went to the side, dangling the marshmallow from his hand to attract the alligator’s attention. He also spoke French to him. It was obvious that the alligators in that area knew the drill. S/he came right to the boat, grabbed the marshmallow, chomped it down and asked for more. Since that was our first one, everyone in the boat took million pictures of him/her. During our time on the boat, we saw several. The captain spoke to all of them in French, fed them all marshmallows. Some travelers  did not like the fact that he was feeding unhealthy snacks to the creatures. He pooh poohed their concerns and said alligators did not have any sense of taste. They are attracted by the white color of the marshmallow. While we were engrossed in finding alligators in the water, and squealing like children when we spotted one, the captain held up little Elvis, a baby alligator, about year and a half old. The women in the boat screamed. He offered to pass the baby around. Men held him, women refused. When it was my turn, I held him of course. After that, a few women dared to hold him as well and I believe Elvis was held by all and of course, photographed.

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It was close to lunch time when we were dropped off in front of our hotel, but instead of rushing in to take a nap, we made an executive decision to take the historic street car to go to the garden district to see the antebellum style houses. We bought day passes for street cars, rode them all the way till the end and rode back to where we started. It brought tram cars of Kolkata to mind. There were many tourists on the trolley as well as residents of the city. I wonder how irritating they found us, tourists, taking up space in their public transport just for joy rides.

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Once we got off at St. Charles street, it was way past lunch time. We could hear our stomachs growl but from previous experience, I knew getting food won’t be easy. Surprisingly enough, we did not have to reject too many restaurants before we found Daisy Dukes – a restaurant that served breakfast all day. Sean was happy. I was relieved. The biscuits were amazing.

Guess what we did after? Yes, that is correct. We hurried back, got in bed and promptly fell asleep. Promises to keep and all that.

Since we bought day passes for the street cars and since I was doing a lot of walking on my bum foot, we took the trolley to Esplanade, at the end of French Quarter  to give Frenchmen’s  street another chance. I had to really twist Sean’s arm to go there again. He had given up on the street. It was a completely different experience from previous day though. The street was vibrant, alive and filled with music. It had completely transformed itself at night. And although the restaurants did not have any food for Sean, we listened and moved to jazz music. After spending the entire evening there, we walked back to our hotel. I was completely done with checking out restaurant menus, knowing we will find nothing for Sean since the simple red beans and rice were cooked with sausage. We stopped at a small cafe – Cafe Beignet for a chicken salad sandwich for me, omelette for Sean and a plate of beignets.

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The next day was our last day in Big Easy. We still had to see World War II museum and Lafayette cemetary. We had to buy mementos for the kids. We still had to take our afternoon nap. Last one in New Orleans.

A friend commented on my last blog that she felt a sense of ennui in these blogs. The ecstasy of Rome (my blogs on Rome) was missing. That comment stayed with me. And as I reread the blogs on New Orleans, I did realize both Sean and I have learnt to slow down. In our previous travels, we wanted to do something every minute of our vacation. This vacation was different though. A lot of the focus was on resting, taking a break, sleeping, recharging. We both are beaten down by constant activity. We both needed the escape and the quiet solidarity.

 

 

 

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NOLA: Day 2


We had booked a trip on a paddle boat ride for a ride along the mighty Mississippi on Creole Queen. The most interesting part of the ride was a historian narrating the history of New Orleans. The mystery of Spanish haciendas in the French quarter was revealed, the several change of hands of New Orleans was told, the battle of New Orleans to beat the British under the command of Andrew Jackson was dramatically narrated. We made one stop at the museum at Chalmette plantation, the battle field where the battle of New Orleans was fought. A park ranger talked in depth about the volunteers who convened under one flag to cause considerable damage to the British and managed to drive them away. On our way back, the talk was about Katrina. Every member on board listened with horror as the historian narrated grimly almost hourly advent of the storm that took lives of thousands. As we listened, the sky opened up, almost in grief.

By the time we docked, the rain had diminished to mere sprinkles, so we opened our umbrellas, which we smartly carried, and made our way to Frenchmen’s street. We had been told that street was a great alternative to raucous Bourbon street in French quarter and worthy of a venture. The music was better, food was good. We were disappointed. Everything was sleepy, and closed. We checked out the menu of several restaurants, found nothing that Sean, a vegetarian who does not eat vegetables, could eat. Finally, we ended up in Mona’ s cafe, a Lebanese restaurant. I devoured a delicious Lula kabob and Sean had a vegetable platter that contained the best baba ganoush.

After lunch, we strolled slowly back towards our hotel, stopping to see the majestic St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square.

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Once we were back, we promptly went to bed and fell asleep. Afternoon naps, everyday – a very important part of our vacation. Neither of us realized how sleep deprived we were.

In the evening, we went out late. We decided to stroll the French quarter again since every street gave us ample opportunity to catch snatches of music and watch people. As will be the norm each day, we rejected at least 12 restaurants since there was nothing for Sean and ate at a Mexican place. Sean had veg fajitas, I had shrimp po boy. We both had simply fabulous modoros (fried plantains). Our sweet server did not know how to change channels on their TV, so she handed the remote to Sean. He found NBA basketball game and we watched a game between Rockets and Golden State warriors. After wrapping up day 2 with more people watching as French quarter became increasingly inebriated we headed back to the hotel, watched NBA in bed and called it a night.

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I will end this blog with this observation. The mass of humanity in Bourbon street reminded me of the throng on the streets of Kolkata during Durga Pujo. The people on Bourbon street were immersed in the heady feeling of alcohol, jazz, beads and night clubs. The throng in Kolkata during Durga Pujo are focused on lights, pandals, extravagance, street food. But the energy in both places, I found, were similar. There was a feeling of letting loose, shedding inhibitions.

We saw quite a large number of homeless people on the streets of the city. Some were just listless while some socialized with other homeless men and women. A majority of them, especially women, had dogs with them. The dogs, interestingly enough, seemed to be in great health and exuded friendly demeanor. Sean and I conjectured whether the dogs served as body guards for many who were forced to sleep on the streets. There were dark corners too where hapless men just lay silently, most likely under the influence of some substance. One homeless man was downright honest. He asked folks for money saying, “Can you give me some money so that I can get drunk tonight?” We looked at him quizzically. He said, “What? I am not gonna lie. If I get any money, I am going to buy booze.”

We were in New Orleans. How could we not see the bayous and alligators? We had booked a swamp tour for the next day. We were going to be picked up by our transportation company to take us to the waterways, where we could either go on a loud, very fast speed boat or a slow moving, covered boat. We opted for the slow one to experience a leisurely boat ride. We gave up thrill in favor of serenity. More on that in the next blog.

 

 

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Pain


As I write this I am propped up on the couch with my right foot elevated and ice pack underneath my heel on Monday morning at 8:18 am. A pair of extremely sad eyes are fixed on me as Sage wills me to get up and fetch the leash for his morning walk. It is hard to endure his disappointment at my immobility but I am hardening my heart and trying to ignore his silent plea.

About 8 months ago, I started running on the treadmill. I had never run in my life, I started something new. I felt amazingly alive after a run. I increased my distance gradually, bragged about it to my family and basked in their adulation. Slowly, imperceptibly, I started to feel a pain in my heel, especially, when I woke up. I ignored it because it was just a niggling pain. At work, a couple of friends and I were running up and down the stairs for cardio exercise between our shifts, with inappropriate footwear. The pain in the morning increased enough for me to take notice. But as I got on the treadmill, it went away so I continued running. The pain got to a point where I felt it at every step, not terrible but enough for me to notice and wonder. While describing it to a friend at work, I said I must have hurt myself while running. She mentioned planter fasciitis. Even though I could hardly pronounce it, I jumped on the internet to get more information and bingo….every symptom matched mine.

I mentioned it to my doctor. She prescribed Aleve and no exercise for a month. Of course I did not listen. But I did give up running. I walked instead, wincing at every step.

The pain worsened. I went to a podiatrist. He put me on steroids that sky rocketed my blood pressure. I bought different kinds of orthotics, researched footwear for plantar fasciitis, bought 3 pairs with highest ratings, started using a night sling, became regular with stretches, ice packs, rolling tennis ball under my feet but one thing I did not stop doing was being a martyr. Nothing has helped so far.

My work involves a fair amount of being on my feet but at home, I persisted through pain. Taking the dog for walks, albeit shorter, running up and down doing laundry, usual household chores, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring. Every step is increasingly painful, and as I winced, I promised I will put my feet up after this chore. But after that chore, something else came up which needed my attention. I hardly sat down till bed time.

Now I have pain snaking up to my hip and although I try to maintain my smile, I feel very discouraged inside.

I have made a decision last night as my feet throbbed and I felt the familiar sense of hopelessness, I will stop being a martyr. It will be hard but I will stop my walks, stop making elaborate meals, stop worrying about neatness in the house and focus on eliminating the pain.

So here I am, propped up on my couch, venting in my blog because I hope one day when the pain is gone, I read this blog and remember to stop being a martyr.

The world, my world included, will continue to revolve if I put my feet up for a while.

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Parenting my adult child.


As the doctor handed me my new born, along with the myriad of feelings, I felt a strange mix of helplessness and responsibility. This tiny human that lay peacefully in my arms, trying to focus on my face was my responsibility. I was responsible for nurturing her, raising her, loving her. Parenting was a trial and error. I did plenty wrong and I did plenty right. I followed my instincts and tried to learn from my mistakes. As my daughter grew from an infant to a toddler to a little girl to a teenager, my parenting changed. Just when I got comfortable in parenting a stage, she grew, she changed.

Slipping through my fingers all the time…

And I had to change the way I interacted with her, I had to learn again how to be a parent to her at that certain phase. I had to read her, understand her and react accordingly. The cycle of trial and error started anew at every phase of her transience.

“Here honey, hold my hand and stand up. You can do it. Look at you, big girl.”

“Please don’t snatch the toy from your friend.”

“Please wait your turn.”

“Finish your vegetables ”

“Wake up. You have to get ready for school.”

“I am so sorry 6th grade was difficult.”

“I am so proud of you for trying.”

“You can do this.”

“You will NOT talk that way to me.”

“Put your phone down NOW.”

“Be home by 11 pm.”

“Congratulation, my love. You did it.”

“Your room needs to be cleaned before I come home.”

“Let’s read next to each other.”

 

But despite the various changes, she was still a child, and I was the adult.

All of a sudden, as my daughter returned from her first year of college, I realized, I was the parent of an adult. A very young adult, but an adult nonetheless, who has somewhat outgrown the confines of our house. And perhaps, outgrown the confines of my parenting of last year. Even during her senior year, I was the nagging parent urging her to complete her assignments, finish her college essays, demanding she return home at a certain time, instructed her to take care of her room and tidy it the way I liked.

The woman who came back had changed somewhat and I had the sudden realization that I have to relearn how to parent her yet again. The gears need to be shifted, the expectations realigned. How much do I parent her, how little? I will always be honest in my opinion of her choices but in what way do I present it?

Like a new parent, I ponder over my new role. I will make mistakes, I will figure it out along with her. A journey starts and I am excited to see how I nurture this young human who is slowly emerging to take her rightful place in the world. But one thing is certain, I am here for her. Her constant,  her roost.

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