So…what’s new??

Posted on: January 2, 2012

My mother asks me this question every time we chat. EVERY TIME. We sometimes talk multiple times a day. And I know the answer she wants to hear – “I have a boyfriend” or “I met someone” or “I’m talking to someone seriously” and all I ever do is disappoint her when I always answer the same way: “Nothing. What’s new there?”

I don’t know what she expected to happen in the 24 hours since she last asked that question. I guess one day she’s hoping I’ll answer appropriately (or surprise her with an elopement??), but till then, I just keep making her and dad, and myself, sad with the answer. Did they think I imagined my life this way??? 34, single, no kids, no potential love?? This wasn’t what I had seen for myself. I thought by 30 I would have been married, I would’ve had at least 2 kids, I would’ve had an awesome job that I only worked at because I wanted to, not because I had to… I gave up on those dreams years ago, as each year my  birthday came and went, and I was no closer to fulfilling them.

She told me one day that she had a dream I’d met someone on the plane. Things were really good with British and I at that point, and I wanted to tell her everything – how she was right about how we met, how we talked everyday, how those texts she saw me write were to him — but I didn’t, because even back then, I wasn’t sure what the future would hold. I didn’t want her to start planning a wedding (like I already was doing in my own head) because I knew as much as it would devastate me if it didn’t work out, it would hurt her just as badly.

When I dated my very first boyfriend, my parents were not happy. He was white and ‘only’ had his bachelors and really tall — 6’5″, which was a HUGE deal, given that I’m only 5′ 2″ – the height difference really irked them for some odd reason! Like, every time we argued about it, they would bring up his height – “What will people say when they see you together?” Um… nothing? It was so weird.   They saw every dream they ever had for me die when I said I was with him. I was only 23.  My parents said things that every Indian girl has, at some point in her life, heard their parents say to them: “We should’ve never left India” ….  “We shouldn’t have given you so much freedom” …. “What did we do wrong in raising you?” … “How could you do this to us? What will people say? They’ll think we can’t control you.”

And the thing was, as much as I cried and told them I loved him, the answers to all those questions, which they see now, is they did nothing wrong. They raised me to be a loving person who puts others first. And that just because he wasn’t Indian didn’t make him bad. In the end, we didn’t break up because of them (or his parents, who also didn’t approve, but weren’t as vocal about it)… we broke up because we were so young and talking about life and kids and religion and how to deal with the pressures of marriage when neither of us was even finished with our graduate degrees. Some people could have made it work. We couldn’t.

We went through a year together though, very happily for the most part, until we knew that it had to end. And when it ended, I took it incredibly hard. I hadn’t told my mom that we had broken-up, because I had still been holding on to the hope that we’d get back together…. it was Thanksgiving (which doesn’t seem to be a great holiday for me in terms of guys and relationships) and I was sitting on the couch. My mom asked me, “Are you going to marry him?” and every tear I’d been holding back come flooding through. It actually still makes me cry now as I write this, the memory is so strong…. she didn’t know why I was crying and she couldn’t understand me through my sobs, but as soon as I cried, she cried. And she was just my mom and there was no judgement and she held me while I cried and I told her we were done and she just let me get it all out and was there for me.

I never told her about British… I almost did on another visit home but I guess I never had enough faith to think we’d end up together.
I wish I had, so I could cry in her arms again.


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