It’s time to reflect and celebrate.
15 years back, a week before my wedding, I had a meltdown. I detested the idea of getting married. Having to give up my nascent career, acclimatizing to a new family, and starting out from scratch with a person, that I did not know a whole lot, in an unfamiliar environment. If someone asked me what I wanted in a husband? I would have said someone with the same wavelength as mine. I look back and laugh at the naivety of that statement.
The first year was filled with many firsts. First time flying in an airplane, first time moving to a foreign land, first time making a full meal, first time setting up a house, first time being in a house all day all by myself, first time not working or studying. What should one do with one’s time was the million dollar question that drove me in a whirlpool of self pity. No car, no washing machine at home. My first brush with American television was at the laundromat. I went to the local convenience store so I could speak in broken hindi to a desi shopkeeper. I got a glimpse into the disparity in America as a I volunteered for an organization that served the homeless. Oh the rush and thrill of new beginnings! I look back, wonder and pat our backs for going through the nerve wracking phase without realizing the enormity of it. How could two risk averse individuals like us dare to be so vulnerable when we barely knew each other?
The assimilation into the new culture began slowly. Watching back to back Adam Sandler movies, dressing up for Halloween, daily visits to library, eating falafel, jalapeno poppers and haagen dazs, shopping at Abercombie, 4th of July fireworks, the driving lessons, fishing for friends, friends’ friends, second cousins, and third aunts. The never ending posing for and taking pictures and getting two copies developed hurriedly to send back home. Keeping track of who is having babies? Should we be having one? Then when do I make something out of myself? Will we be going back to India for good? Who will take care of our parents if we don’t take care of them? Clearly, we had questions but no answers. Da was settling in his job and I joined grad school. He biked to work, and I took our car to grad school. Looking back, this was probably the phase in which we laid the foundation upon which we have built our lives. We discovered things about each other, and were happy inspite of knowing the good, the bad and the ugly!
Then came other life events – being part of sister-in-law’s wedding, Hari’s birth, father-in-law passing away, getting into the job market, day care struggles, my brother’s wedding, living with mother-in-law, moving into new house, appa’s 60th b’day, having appa and amma over, new nephews and nieces, my grandpas passing away, getting green card, Ram coming into our lives, and so many other happenings. Looking back each of these events have shaped us individually, as a couple, and as a family. They have made us stronger and fond of each other.
Today, marks 15 years in this journey of togetherness. Life has been good, and the times it has not been as peachy, we have found strength and solace in each other. We have made mistakes but we have also learnt how to forgive each other. We fight a lot, but we are also quick to apologize. We have understood what works for us, and the trade offs we are willing to make. We disagree on more things than we agree on, but we accept each other for who we are. We are just glad that we picked each other to go through the journey of togetherness.