Thursday, August 26, 2021

Saree or no saree - the intentions are important

An occasional phone call to check something for Anand led to a conversation with wonderful Lisa. She sorted out what we needed at that crazy time. She called again a couple of days ago with an invite for lunch. The DDS commissioner Jane Ryder was visiting the facility and there was a lunch afterwards. I agreed to join because I really like Jane and it would have given me an opportunity to meet Lisa. 

I walked in and I was the first one to arrive. So much for my Indian time judgment. The Commissioner was touring another facility and was on the road. I so wanted to call my older son Ajey and tell him that I was THE first one to arrive :)

Soon everyone arrived and we all said hello to each other. I was introduced to Ken, the CEO of the center and then to Jane. She was trying to place me and I joked I am Jaya, just not in a saree. She remembered finally and the smile on her face was infectious. 

We sat with our lunches and the conversation just flew. They were very interested in knowing more about “Desi Moms Network” and I had plenty to tell. We talked about how we can make things better and she promised to provide more support for the moms in our network.

We were invited to a tour of this facility and the name on the theatre caught my eyes. GB and Lexi Singh Performance center.

Heard Mr Singh lived in a nearby town and supported the center with a generous donation. It was amazing to see something like that. It was least expected.

I met some of the most wonderful staff today and I hope the connection brings something wonderful for everyone.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Empty nester Saga - continues- The bump(s) along the way

It was a totally different weekend. Kids were not around, Hurricane Henri was on its way for everyone but another storm was brewing for us. Anand was trying to settle into a new routine and it wasn’t going well. We had been warned and know that it will not be an easy road. All of a sudden he was on his own - freedom came with a lot more responsibilities and work. He was not a happy kid and we are on the receiving end of texts messages . He was angry and just wanted to come back home and we didn’t know how to help him. It was new for all of us.. It was a tough weekend with the storm coming in , new place and new people around.

I tried to make the best out of the “first” kid free weekend. I had a drink or two, listened to music and watched some TV and then decided to sit in the rain. That was the most relaxing thing I did for myself. But again my mind was just around Anand.

Monday morning we got an email that Anand is meeting the Program director and the therapist. Finally we got an invite for a family meeting initiated by Anand. I was worried and hopeful about his meetings.

Apparently they did wave the magic wand and when we joined the family call I saw a happy and talkative Anand.

We heard what he was going through and how to avoid the outburst. He told us everything he had discussed with them before the call  and I could see how happy he was. He was ready to give the program another chance and was very hopeful. That one video call was such a game changer. I had a difficult weekend and all of sudden this cloudy Monday brought some sunshine. I know this one is the first but certainly not the last. We will have many more road bumps but now I can trust that they are capable of handling those road blocks. I am in a much better place now. Seeing him after a week and everything else was overwhelming to say the least. 

There are a few people who knew what we were going through and my village kept an eye on me, checked on us and cheered for Anand. I am so glad you are here for me and for my son. #Gratitude 


Our backyard was a place to be this weekend. 

 Fish was on the menu 

I wonder sometime how does she do it? 4 daughter and their families, she keeps an eye on all of us. simple FaceTime with her can make her happy. Our mom doesn't need much 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Empty Nesters Saga - How do you come to terms with the emptiness.

It’s been 4 days and it is still sinking in. The house is quiet and there isn’t much to do. The cleaning ladies changed the direction of the bed so Anand’s room looks different. The curtains are up so it is full of light too and I am leaving the doors open.

When we dropped him off and came to hotel 10 minutes away I didn’t have any plans . We checked in and I took a nap, a much needed break.  We stayed in Great Barrington and after waking up we left for Simon’s Rock and Lake Mansfield. So many young kids were playing in the water while the parents were watching, reading, snacking and chatting. It  was a soul soothing sight. The evening sun was kind. After that we walked around downtown GB. Barrington Brewery was our next stop, the first drinks of officially empty nesters.  Then we drove to the nearby town of Lenox, a quiet historical downtown and I enjoyed walking around. One thing about the Berkshires , most of the shops are closed on Monday. Also somehow we didn’t see too many youngsters.

The dinner was back in GB at a Mediterranean restaurant called “Aegean Breeze” in an outdoor setting with beautiful weather, that’s all I needed that night.

Next morning was all about a fabulous breakfast overlooking the mountains followed by a hike on Melville Trail. Mr and I are not hikers so you can imagine but how can you NOT hike in the Berkshires so we did try. We went up for about 40 minutes or so and then decided to come back down. The river walk was my favorite part not the hiking. We drove to Pittsfield and I was amazed to see the city. It is one of the biggest downtowns , a 2 mile loop. An outdoor Mexican lunch in downtown was very well deserved. 

Later in the afternoon we decided to head back home. So many people had talked about the ice cream farm in Lee so had to stop there. The hardest part was driving away from that town. Anand will call home now. I didn’t stop at his apartment on the way home and that was an achievement.

The icecream was a treat and I loved every bit of it. A drizzle made sure we get back home and not roam around any more. 

The empty nester saga continues, stay tuned.

A silk saree from a friend's closet - Pic is taken by a girl who was in diaper when we moved next door, She was wearing a saree yesterday for her mom's Varlakshmi Pooja. Such a feeling

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Empty Nesters Pandey's - A new reality

I have written about our days at home before Anand left for a program for the year on my blog. The program is designed to teach him independent living skills as well as social skills. 

The pandemic changed everyone’s life and ours wasn’t an exception. The three Pandeys still managed okay because we had our work and online social life and met people on and off with social distancing as we had our circle already in place. Anand was finishing his program at Accept Collaborative and was ready to take the next step, planning to join Bridgewater State University’s MAICE program designed for kids with needs to give them the college experience. The application process was going on, he got accepted in March and right away everything went downhill.

 Anand did join the program but it was online for him, same as everything else in the world. No-one adjusted willingly to this new world but it was particularly hard for him. He had left his known social circle in Accept and gone to a new program which was online. So the last 18 months were difficult , seeing him spending time  playing games and watching videos, only doing one class online in the fall semester and in spring one on campus but with no added college experience. 

This year this program brings us hope and excitement. Anand will have an experience like everyone else who starts college or living independently.

The mother in me is hopeful and nervous. We are back home, trying to adjust to a new reality. Both the boys bedroom doors are open, curtains pulled away and it’s just a quiet home. The fridge is not over flowing and meals are quick and easy. 

I am planning to use this time to do things I haven’t done before.

For now I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping the Universe will be kind to both my boys.

Goodbyes are hard - time to practice "Let Go"

 Last week I decided to document our count down for Anand’s going to a new program this year. These posts are my daily blogs. Past two weeks were eventful in way to say the least. Ajey’s moving to city and Anand to the Berkshire I hope for the best for my men.

 Monday we all woke up and got ready to start a new beginning. The 2 hour drive was quiet and calm with no traffic. After checking in we got into his apartment and unloaded the stuff, organized his room. Anand opened his bank account and I walked in the area aimlessly thinking this would be my son’s “hometown” for this year. So many changes in all our lives and hoped it will help us grow.

His roommate’s mom brought so much stuff and I felt guilty for not doing enough. But I know my boys are minimalists , they don’t need much.

We had packed lunch in school and then a parents session about “what to expect”. It was very interesting to hear about everyone’s concerns but one thing was very evident in that room. All of us were hopeful and worried at the same time. We all had been playing so many roles for our children and all of a sudden we were leaving them in someone else’s care.

Ashish and I stayed in the area for another day to explore the Berkshires. We drove around, walked, ate and visited a brewery as “empty nesters” officially. But at the same time I couldn’t stop thinking about Anand. I know it will take some time. But for now I am determined to have a new beginning for me too. I am hopeful that my boys will do just fine.

Tuesday - It was so weird waking up in the hotel room and realizing that Anand is just 5 miles away and slept in a different room, away from home, which will be his home now for the next 10 months. 

Ashish and I enjoyed our breakfast overlooking the mountains, then did some hiking and took a long drive around various towns in the Berkshires. After lunch we headed back to our newly “empty nest”. My evening was spent putting away leftover things, packing supplies and all the empty boxes. My dishwasher is still full as Anand used to empty it. I decided not to do it tonight. Tomorrow will be a new beginning for mom too.

 Reading this was heart wrenching I wish I had this manual 24 yrs ago. I do feel I would have done things so differently. This piece of paper was one of the hardest to read.