My right shoulder stings to the touch. I poke it with my finger and a white spot appears, then fades swiftly back to angry red. I scoot my pool chair another foot under the shade umbrella, holding my laptop on my lap. I hear my five year old squealing from the edge of the pool, “Mommy, I can touch to the bottom with my eyes open!” and give him a thumbs up. A group of teenagers have draped themselves across lounge chairs a few feet away, and as I settle back into a cooler spot, I lip synch along to Jason Aldean blasting from their iHome speakers.
Well, I’m just ready to ride this chevy, ride this chevy
Ride this chevy down a little backroad
Slide your pretty little self on over
Get a little closer you can play my radio
Put your pretty pink toes on the dash…
For a few seconds, I’m a cute little country girl riding in her beau’s pick up truck in a field, instead of a middle-aged suburban mom who drives a minivan to lacrosse fields. I catch a look of humiliation over my behavior from my thirteen year old, who stands dark and lean among his fair-skinned friends, just three days into the summer. I shake my booty to the music a little, smiling at him, before I sit back down. He glares and turns his back to me, hiding among his friends. Ah, I love being a mom.
There’s an empty spot on the table amidst a bag of chips, three empty water bottles, and a half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I plop the laptop down. I’m out of practice writing and have been staring at a blank Word document for a while. But my harrowing winter is over, the healing sun blankets me on this wide open day, and I plan my return to my readers.
“Mommy, count for me! See how long I can hold my breath!”
Turning away from the screen, I count.
“1…2…3…” and before his head surfaces, I yell, “twenty one!”
His breathless grin gets wider, as I count faster and faster each time. I’m an honest person, really, but I just want to see that precious, dripping face light up! I snap a picture of him and text it to my husband, who is at work. Some things just have to be shared. And I realize that not sharing my experiences on my blog has made me very sad.
Blogging about my life has been a gift like I never imagined. The connection I have felt to my readers has been amazing, and I’ve performed as a “Dear Abby” of the multicultural family world for some. I truly feel a sense of joy when I can share the experiences of my journey to help others navigate their own. My life has been a bit of an open book, and with the good also came the bad.
In early winter, I felt forced to place a password lock on my blog for two reasons. First, I feared for the privacy of my family. I had gotten creepy phone calls and text messages from someone, whom I feared may have found out too much about us on my blog. That was a wake up call for me. Not only was I putting myself out there, but also my entire family. Second, I began to work toward a career that is very public in my community. I had to decide what degree of openness I could allow and still do my job with credibility. So, for the winter months, I hunkered down, dropped the work on my book and on my blog, and focused on other things. The celebration of our unique, joyful life took a back burner to college classes and the privatizing of our family.
But, as summer approached, a sense of freedom returned to me. School is out, and shedding the backpacks and winter coats for a pool bag and shorts has liberated me somehow. I love the sun. I love the long, relaxed days with my kids (some of the time). I love sitting on the deck with my husband, listening to the crickets in the backyard (until we have to run inside from the swarms of Georgia mosquitoes that attack at sunset). Life is good, and I’m darned-well going to allow myself the freedom to do what I love.
About who I am, and who we are. About sharing ideas with others. About the pure commonalities of our journeys in life. And moving cautiously forward, I will continue this blog.
In an hour or two, when my son comes up for air and asks to go to Ba’s house for play time and some of the aromatic food he can’t get from me, I’ll be making mental notes again. When my husband and I take the kids to spend the day with his relatives, chatting over some new Punjabi dishes, I will be making a mental note. And when, during happy hour with our friends, my husband pulls out his iPod and plays songs from the Saajan soundtrack along with Toby Keith’s song, Red Solo Cup, I’ll be making a mental note.
I’ll collect these gifts in time and hold them dear. And I’ll be ready to share.