A beautiful paradox

I have very fond memories of my drop offs at SFO. Yesterday I added another one to the list.

One of my early memories is that of my father’s last waive as he navigated through the security lines, wearing a white hoodie that I had bought for him on that trip. Little did I know that I will never see him again. But unlike others who saw him after he died, I will only remember his smiling face amidst the crowds at SFO.

For that reason, it is exceptionally hard for me to drop off friends and family at the airport. But I do it. Again and again. To become stronger.

This time I subjected Tara to the experience. I knew she’d be better off just staying home, instead of going to the airport to drop off Dadu and Dadi. Yet, I wanted her to experience that emotion. That pull one feels, that reminds you how much you care about your family. And it is not often that we sit and think about how much we love our family. We just take them for granted.

It was hard to see her face. She wanted to cry, there were tears, but she was searching for them too, and hence fighting the tears to see clearly. It must’ve been so hard for my little 3 yr old to experience this separation. But I know that it strengthened her. And made her realize how much she loves her grandparents. Soon after we went and bought some gummy bears and lightened the mood.

This drop off was exceptionally hard for Agam and me. It was a short trip. In order to make the most of it, we packed it with a lot of activities, a short road trip, several celebrations and even a gathering at home. It left everyone tired and exhausted, but we made a lot of fun memories. Sadly, it was over in a whiff.

The drive back from the airport is always “full of silence”. You silently question your decisions, and the impact of your decisions on your parents’ life. You justify your actions, you rationalize your choices, and theirs, and then you move on, or pretend to.

In our case, we met friends for brunch. It was nice to share our rush of feelings with them over gobhi paranthas and aloo puri. After all, they are all you have here. Family members come for short trips and then leave. But friends stay with us over the years. Such a beautiful paradox – isn’t it?


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