Sunday, June 28, 2009

Marriage, Motherhood and ...skateboards?

A placid, laid back summer weekend turned into a moment of reckoning for me today, One moment we were swimming at ProClub, shopping for pink lacy dresses and then suddenly, I was confronting issues like my fidelity to gender equality, my maturity as a mother, my kids' maturity and my ability to let my kids get the winds beneath their wings...or whatever the heck that song was. And finally, there I was pondering the meaning and relevance of marriage - the institution, which brought me full circle debating the gender issue. We were, like a nice yuppie couple, shopping for overpriced kids' clothes at Nordstrom's. And then suddenly, there we were, at Zumiez, browsing skull and crossbones motif skateboards. Yes, skateboards - for my 7 and 4.5 year olds. Our neighbor, my daughter's classmate, just got one. So I knew this was coming. But as I said to the teenager helping us in the store, "This is all happening too fast for me."

Arjun has mentioned a few friends who had cool boards or were learning with the older boys, but we managed to completely block it from our radar. But now that we were in the shop and he was definitely getting one, I debated if li'l Saanya should get one too. I went back and forth between, "Why can't she have one - who says the broken bones from a skateboard are a boys' prerogative?" to "She just bought silver ballet shoes - what does she want with a skateboard?" Anyway, they both got one and, I have to say, they are pretty cool. I just decided to sit back and resisted the urge to bribe them out of the store with a trip to Build-A-Bear - something told me, they weren't going for that today. We came home and I sat on the front porch watching Arjun tentatively try out his moves. Once he fell and scraped his leg - I almost leaped up and scooped him up but he beat me to it. He rubbed his leg and got right back on the skateboard. This would NOT have happened even yesterday - yesterday, he would have come to me for comfort and consoling. Today, there he was blinking back his tears and rubbing his scraped leg, resolutely. I could see he was trying to live up to the responsibility of getting a skateboard. I squished the sorry feeling that rose in me and gave a thumbs up to him, "Way to go, Arjun. You're doing great!"

While the kids were watching their boards being prepped in the store, I did what I always do when I have a spare moment - I whipped out my phone and browsed over to and On one of the two, or between the two of them, what caught my eye was an articles talking about an article..and a book. Between the two, I spent a good deal of time pondering marriage (or the end of it) and love (or the end of it).

The byline (or whatever its called) for this article by Sandra Tsing Loh reads The author is ending her marriage. Isn’t it time you did the same? It talks about the author's decision to end her marriage, how she struggles and finally gives in to the massive and by her implication, impossible task of sustaining a household, kids and a marriage. I've been fascinated by the western openness to discussing private but still universal issues. I read this article with fascination and mulled over it at some length today - does marriage turn us into monotonous drudges?

Lamenting the same fact with a bit more wistful longing for that unadulterated passionate love of Harlequin novels or Mills & Boon romances, as I knew them, growing up, is this book "A Vindication of Love" by Cristina Nehring. I have not read the book and probably will not but I did read the review in the New York times last Sunday. It sounds exciting, if not completely practical.

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