Monday, August 29, 2016

Our rising kindergartener and her 'village' of 4+ years...

This seems like a really significant week for me...Raya starts kindergarten early next week...and yes, it's time for some introspection...exactly 4 years and 4 months back to date, 'D' and I made and followed through one of the toughest decisions of our was to drop off our then only child, our little 7.5 month old munchkin, at the AOL child development center, while each of us headed out to pursue professions that we are passionate that keeps us sane and grounded...The month preceding that day and the month following that day were a couple of the toughest months of my life....the month preceding that day was full of deliberations...ifs...whats...whys...hows...about me going back to work and what would be the best caretaking option for Raya, with me being back at didn't help when some friends and family questioned my choice to go back to work and what it would mean for Raya... the month following that day, was filled with monitoring our little one in the classroom, through video cameras(day in day out) and rationalizing our decision to send her in...and yes, today it's exactly 4 years and 4 months, since that day in April,2012...and let's just say we haven't looked back...

So we just got back from a trip to Miami...On our way in, on the flight, Raya was seated in the middle seat of a row...I was in the aisle seat of the same row with little Rayan in tow......a girl in  her late twenties had the window seat...she was apparently headed, on a work trip, to Miami and had to get into a meeting straight from the airport...she didn't seem very interested in small talk and I don't think she was looking forward to having an active 4+ year old sitting right next to her on a three hour flight...oh well...I tried to give Raya enough heads up about not going into the chit chat mode...but I guess that was too much to ask of her...5 minutes into the flight and she was actively engaged in trying to start a conversation with the lady next to her..."Are you going to the beach?"..."Do you live in Virginia?"...The lady answered in monosyllables and tried turning her head away...but nothing could stop the little munchkin..."Are you going straight to office?" LOL...Monosyllable responses followed...I was gettting fidgety and wanted Raya to stop trying to chit chat...and then..."Did you watch the Olympics?"...that got the lady's attention and she  suddenly turned her head to fully face Raya, "Yes, I did! Did you?"...That was enough to make Raya continue, "I watched gymnastics and swimming. I looove Simone and Gabby"...her tone almost made it seem Simone Biles and Gabby Williams were her childhood the lady was completely engaged in an animated converstaion with Raya....Raya continued and among other things, told the lady how much she disliked onions and declared, " You know I want to swim like Michael Phelps and Lodecky"...I am guessing 'Lodecky' was supposed to refer to Katie Ledecky...In the very same breath, she continued, "When I grow up, I want to be a singer and soccer player"..."I want to sing like Adele"...The lady gave Raya a quick peck on the cheek...looked at me ...and both of us chuckled, as Raya steered the conversation back to the lady and asked, "Are you dressed for office?"...Before the conversation proceeded any further or got uncomfortable or even worse
got into the "Are you voting for Hillary? Donald Trump will build walls" zone, I gave Raya  the tablet and told her to watch a movie...The "Hillary/ Donald Trump " question was what she had asked her granddad a couple of weeks back...She reluctantly(for a change) took the tablet, with an "OK mamma". While I would have loved to see where the converstaion was headed and keep her away from screen time...I wanted to make sure we did not end up making our co-passenger uncomfortable...the rest of the flight was uneventful ...As I watched little Raya get immersed in the movie, I couldn't help but these past 4+ years have whizzed the baby babbles have transformed into full fledged conversations...and all I could do is cross my fingers and heart, be grateful and say a  little God's grace, 'D' and I have 'managed' to manage this first phase of Raya's life reasonably well, without letting go of our own...who knows what life has in store for her...who knows what the future holds for everything else in life, I am sure it will be full of ifs, buts, whys and whats...choices that will be made and shape her life...

But I believe, every once in a while, as life whizzes past, we should try to pause and celebrate what 'is', rather than what 'was' or 'will be'...

Raya is today 2 weeks short of her 5th birthday...she is one week away from starting kindergarten...she will be one of the youngest in her class...but we do believe that she is ready for the challenges of public school...she has grown up to be one of those who needs constant challenges to keep her going...She loves 'mac and cheese' and 'hot dogs'...she also loves 'butter rice'('makhon bhaat')...yes she is Indian American indeed :)...she wants to be a soccer player, when she grows up...she wants to be able to sing like Adele...she loves Bollywood...she wants to swim like Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky... she loves reading...she wants everyone to vote for Hillary Clinton...she is scared of three headed monsters...she still makes her way into our bedroom in the wee hours of the morning, cuddles with her mamma and baba and then in her sleep pushes us to the edges of the bed while she takes over the entire king sized bed...and like all 4+ year olds, she throws her own share of tantrums...sometimes for reasons unknown...

Today I want to pause just for a moment to celebrate my little baby, before she starts a new phase of life in elementary school...a part of what Raya has grown up to become as a 4+ year old, is her inherent personality...a part of it is the effort 'D' and I put in as parents...iterating through a process of good and 'not so good' parenting choices, as we are constantly learning, ourselves...but a gynormous and very important part of Raya's development these 4+ years has to be attributed to the 'village' that has helped us through this process...our extended families...and the absolutely wonderful, loving, caring group of caregivers and teachers at the AOL child development center...I can't agree more with the fact that "it takes a village" to bring up a child...Today I want to pause to thank them I want to celebrate the 'village' that has nurtured Raya and helped her  blossom these past 4+ years...for I would not have been able to stay sane, 'hungry' and 'foolish'(in a profession that requires me to stay 'hungry' and 'foolish') without this support system ...

Who knows what the future holds for everything else in life, it will probably be full of ifs, buts, whys and whats...good and 'not so good' choices that will be made and will shape her life and destiny ...but today, I want to  celebrate what 'is'...a.k.a Raya and her little "village" of  4+ years...without thinking of what 'could have been' or 'will be'...

So, thank you!


vanitha said...

Wow ....beautifully written wishes to Raya..

NetworkedBlogsViaFacebook said...

Preetam Rajkhowa: well expressed

Unlike · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 3:38am
Shuchi Sharma: Beautifully written Priyanka.. as usual smile emoticon:-)

Unlike · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 3:44am

Priyanka Rajkhowa: Thanks yaar ...hope all's well...

Like · Reply · August 30 at 7:16am

Shuchi Sharma: Yes dear.. All well..

Like · Reply · September 1 at 1:54am

Kalyan Chakravarty: Nicely written as always ��.

Unlike · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 10:46am

Amy Craig Joannou: My thoughts exactly (except Evan wants to be a police man in outer space!). I feel so lucky to have the school.

Unlike · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 3:51pm · Edited

Priyanka Rajkhowa: Yup absolutely!!! Love the 'policeman in outer space' bit:)

Like · Reply · August 30 at 8:17pm

Shabiha Yasmin: Well written Priyanka, so true ����about it takes a village

Unlike · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 9:06pm

Meghna Goswami: All the best to Raya as she begins kindergarten. It's such a shame the kids haven't met yet! We'll have to plan a get-together soon.

Unlike · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 10:52pm

Priyanka Rajkhowa: Thanks Tinks...yep...gotta plan something !

Like · Reply · August 31 at 8:13am

Vidya Sabesan: As usual, great writing! And Raya is a sweetheart �� much love to her for a great year ahead.

Unlike · Reply · 1 · August 31 at 8:37am

Tapati Sharma: Well written chintu
Being Belonging & Becoming is what the Early Years Learning Framework of Australia is called
As u said the parents & the prime care givers have done the best as it seems ...See More

Unlike · Reply · 1 · August 31 at 9:07am


Preeti Iyer: Well written Priyanka!

Unlike · Reply · 1 · August 31 at 10:24am

Suchitra Subramanyan: smile emoticon:) our kiddos are growing up too soon

Unlike · Reply · 1 · August 31 at 10:59am


Priyanka Rajkhowa: Thanks folks!

Like · Reply · August 31 at 5:16pm


Samantha Chandrasekar: can I book a slot for a conversation with Raya ?? Or get on the same flight as her to India ? smile emoticon:)

Like · Reply · September 4 at 6:11pm

Priyanka Rajkhowa: Ha ha ha...any day! At least with you , I wouldn't have to worry about her crossing boundaries like I have to with strangers:)...hope all's well...much love!

Like · Reply · September 5 at 9:21am

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