Things are really heating up here in Delhi. For me, the heat is a signal of two things. First, the upcoming close of another academic year. Second, the deadline by which we have to use our personal leave time at school. Somehow, I made it to the end of the year holding on to two of my three personal days. So, Chad and I made plans on Monday to have an "adult day." We had the nanny come in late so we could spend the morning with the kids, and then we went to the mall for lunch, movie and a massage. All three were wonderfully relaxing. I have really tried to maintain a low-stress feeling ever since the babies have been born (well, actually since long before that), and I think that taking an afternoon away for yourself and your spouse is helpful.
The heat, which feels like the a permanent hair dryer blowing on you, has also signaled that it is time to start spending at least a portion of our weekends at the pool. So, Sunday morning we headed for breakfast right across the street from our apartment, and then went to the pool right after. The pool where we are members is almost entirely expats, and feels a lot like any country club in the suburbs of any American city. So, I was surprised when a man approached me while I was reading next to the twins, who were asleep. I knew he was coming towards me to tell me something. He had that look on his face that he was going to offer some unsolicited advice, and I was thinking "Please not here. I'm at the pool, trying to relax, and SERIOUSLY, I'm not doing anything wrong. They're asleep!" I have definitely had enough of people offering their expertise about parenting for no other reason than that I am a male and am in close proximity to children. And I know I'm not alone in having that feeling (read this too!).
So, I inhaled and held my breath for a second, waiting for his words--whatever they would be--to hit me.
But, then he surprised me. As he reached down and picked up his pre-school age daughter, he said, "I hope you have a camera, because that really deserves a picture."
As I exhaled, I smiled at him. Then, I thanked him for his kind words and looked at Cedric and Ezra before I went back to my reading.
I think we all cringe at the idea of "doing it wrong." And with parenting, I'm sure there are many ways to screw up your child, parenting--so far-- seems to me like an out beyond experience. For an explanation of that, I turn to my good friends in the women's world music ensemble, Libana and to Rumi:
Our beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
(The song Out Beyond is used with permission and is performed by Libana on their album Turning: Songs of Earth Reverence and Peace, which is available on iTunes. I plan on doing an upcoming post about another album of Libana's which has become one of our favorites in the nursery).