A Wondrous Adventure – week 71

We’ve just returned from India.

Two boys and one mama on tour. It made a great Instagram hashtag.

The teenager and the tween were excited about this adventure. Tween Two had been before, a couple of years ago we ventured to the northern desert region . An easy first step.

This trip we hit up Mumbai, Varanasi and Kolkata.

Arriving to the chaos feels like home to me. This is my tenth trip to India some have been long and languid over many months and others have been quickies to enrich my soul during difficult times.

The boys have been lucky. They have travelled well over their short lives; births in London and New York, travelling Europe by car and train, and drop in holidays to Asia has given them an understanding of their place in the world and importantly how much we have compared to the have nots.

Arriving to the faecal smells of India hit the senses at 7am in the morning. The crammed taxi, the gridlock traffic. We bustle into the hotel for brief relief before we’re off again on the local trains to taste the food on the beach, the laneways and roadside.

We cycle early in the morning as Mumbai awakens to her daily routines. We gather the smells of the pavement dwellers and the cleanliness and order of the slums.

Flying into Varanasi gives us a new smell. The smell of burning wood for warmth and the offering of the family to the Ganga god underpins the taste of everything in this small rural location. The Ghats are busy with offerings amongst the closeness of the smog and pollution. It’s not how I remember it  long summer evenings sitting and thinking, a quiet calmness. That was in the 1990’s  Varanasi like me has grown up.

We check out a day early as we yearn the bustle of a city again. Kolkata doesn’t disappoint.

We walk the roads to Mother House to be part of the movement of volunteers. We spend time with the round milky babies and the wobbly children. We tickle, we laugh.

Early the next morning the boys drag tired bodies from the warmth of blankets to experience mass at Mother House, a volunteer breakfast of cha, bananas and bread before heading off on the local rocking bus to work in the one of the children’s homes.

The delight of the teenager and the tween as they spend time with young people who haven’t had the kick start to life is refreshing. They do laundry, play, teach, read and feed before tucking up into large cots for rest time.

Our metro ride back to the hotel is full of funny stories and laughter. The lightness of their world is wonderful.

We eat, we explore, we taste. The food has flavour, the conversations are rich and we discover new enchantments with each twist and turn.

My early morning solo run on our final day provides delights to the locals and some peace for me. I run to Mother House to listen to the singing. The doors are closed but the sweet voice of women, young and old, emerges above the traffic and the horns and floats down to me.

It’s this peace amongst the chaos that makes two boys and one mama on tour such a unique and wondrous adventure.

All love

Jessica Purbrick-Herbst
January 2018

 

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Stormy clouds – week 65

Stormy clouds hung over Tween Two.

In full force he fought the demons that make him crack.break.fall apart.

It was the last week of term. The school production was in full swing with Tween Two taking on a  front and centre role.

He learnt the lines, he sang the songs; solos were practiced and practiced. He examined the life of his character.

The opening night was beyond spectacular. The crowds cheered at the incredible display of 70 children having the time of their lives; the stunning singing, the acting, the words.

The second night arrives; a few mistakes, a missed line, a yawn. Tween Two was primed and ready to deliver his piece. He missed a beat, memory went blank – eyes widened. The cast nudged in, a heart beat, just a fumbled word, phew… the scene moves on and words are remembered.

Sitting in the second row I noticed a physical change. A squaring of shoulders, a face turned to thunder. The tears begin to fall.

My stomach lurched, the play continued.

Its the solo act, the singing of a narrative song. Tween Two steps to the front of the stage, thick with glistening shine, chin out and sings.

The voice is clear, striking, moving. The crowd holds its breath, the tears continue to flow. He does it. He makes it through, not just as a struggle but as a sound byte that delivers one of his best.

Standing ovations for the whole cast and the lumbering thankfulness of a mother.

Backstage I gather my 10 year old into my arms, I wrap him in kisses and take him home.

I am so full-blown proud that he held it together, that he really, really understood what resilience really feels like. Its not just a word tossed about during class time, not just a stamp on a page that ticks the box.

Resilence is a physical, a mental and whole lot of guts to keep going, to stand up and stand out. Its a moment, a time that once strongly felt enables anyone to rise up and be counted.

And my mother pride saw the growing up of Tween Two, his gathering of inner strength and the breaking away of the boy that stood in his way.

The toughness of the moment led to a deep sleep that gave silver lining in the morning.

 

Warmly

in the library

Jessica x

5 July  2015

 

Ps. On the cold June night when my second child flooded his face with tears in the middle of the school production, I did everything I could not to rush onto the stage to cuddle him. To watch your young child soldier on, to sing an incredible piece whilst flooding the floor with his tears of inner despair and disappointment was heart wrenching.

Reflecting back on this moment I still feel slightly sick. I’m also incredibly proud of his strength to continue on – I wonder what I would have done if it was me?

As parents in the thick of parenting we can forget that our children are tough, or can be tough in circumstances we can’t predict. We are lucky to be watchers and to share their path of discovery.

Merciful holidays…. and it begins all again next week.

What toughness have your children shown you?

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Taking off – week 56

We are in Hanoi, having taken off for the spring break holidays to Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore.

The tween – having just turned 12 has flourished in our ever-changing daily environ. English by birth and a well travelled explorer he loves testing new food, catching the smells of the laneways and trying his luck (and bargaining skills) at the markets.

Whilst I am an a adamant “made locally and sustainable” shopper, I have to accept that the tween is working his way around a world that is not always congruent with his mothers’ purpose. He does well to balance the “cha cha” from the markets and paying a respectful price to the stallholders.

Hong Kong has found the tween smiling deeply at his new found centre of attention with mainland Chinese tourists loving his red hair and brown eye combination. Unusual in Australia, it is positively freakish in China. I’m thinking there will be many a family slide-show featuring the tween in his Rutgers t-shirt and Nike freeruns! It’s a small price for the kindness and happiness of others.

With this relaxed and uncomplicated mode, I have found the tween holding my hand (in public) and being affectionate.

Perhaps the release of being away from his “coolness” of the basketball court and the school playground has allowed this freedom of emotion to happen. It’s the change in environment that has brought out these wonderful secure traits and the connection with family that brings in the closeness.

Week one into the family trip has been awesome!

All love

JPH_Mar2014_smiling

Jessica

22 September 2014

Comments are always welcome. Please be mindful however that words can 
enlighten or dishearten.