Balancing on a wobble board

During a time that feels all too recent, I participated in physical therapy for my knee/leg due to a running injury. I was instructed to use the wobble board.  The wobble board is CRAZY hard.  Just when you think you’ve gotten your balance, you over-correct and find yourself right back where you started.  The energy needed to keep your feet level and perpendicular to each other is immense and the exercise is tiring.

wobble board

The wobble board … and the constant effort needed to keep your balance and your center evenly distributed at all times … builds your core strength while stretching and strengthening your problem areas.

(Note : remember the wobble board.  I’ll come back ’round to it and it WILL make sense later, I promise.  A conversation Mrs. L from Texas made this analogy perfectly clear to me … and I hope I can relay it to you just as clearly)

I feel like I’ve been living on a wobble board for quite awhile both emotionally and mentally.

The truth is, I’m quite often a mess.  Most days, I’m nearly on the verge of tears from sheer exhaustion or frustration.

I keep hearing “wow, you are so amazing” and “Naomi, I just DONT know how you’re doing all of this.”

I’m not a super hero, or someone to admire, really.  I’m not getting Mother of The Year and for SURE am not winning points in the friendship department. 

See, I plaster on a face every morning when I wake up.  It’s a face of “all-together-now”.  It comes complete with that smile … that smile that reassures you all that I’m handling this like a trooper.  It comes with bright and shining eyes that portray 100% excitement about the adventure we’re about to start.  It also comes with a tongue that I’ve been biting.  It comes with “cute” outfits (because as Mrs. L says, looking good is one thing that you CAN control when life feels like it’s rapidly spiraling downward) and perky answers to your questions about life in Delhi, India.

This isn’t about India though.

This also isn’t about solo parenting.

It’s about trying to navigate a HUGE life change … without my husband by my side.

It’s about trying to make sense of what our family needs most right now … without him to talk it through at every stage of the game.

It’s about needing to be told “this is going to be GOOD” … from the person that means the most to me.  He truly is my rock … the one that I look to when I need reassurance … and the one that reminds me that I’m ok.  He is the guy that can calm my fears with just a squeeze of my shoulders and can right my upside-down-ness with a simple “I love you.”

I have done a wicked job of holding it all together.  I’ve perfected the pat answers to the typical questions about our upcoming move.  But when I’m alone at night … or when I’m on the phone with Todd … I melt.

I’ve rocked the process of actually coordinating this move.  I’ve navigated — solo —- the unknown waters of sea shipments, international school applications, vaccinations/immunizations, relocating animals, readying a house to be put on the market and virtually “closing up shop” in the past 82 days.  I have efficiently gotten our family from a seemingly normal existence in the snowglobe of Ohio to the current upheaval of living out of suitcases for the past four weeks.  I’ve done all of that … with that stupid plastered smile on my face.  

At night, I cry.

See, the person that I chose six years ago to stand by my side … during the hard times and the good times … has physically been absent.  He’s been over 8,000 miles away since the middle of April … forging our path and working LONG hours these past 82 days.  He’s been adapting to a foreign culture, a new environment, ridiculous demands on his mind and body, cross country travel and sleepless nights … and doing it all for us. 

We work together as a team so incredibly well … he is 100% the person that brings resolution to my manic-ness.

I’ve been balancing on this wobbleboard for 82 days … for far too long now … without the one person that I want so terribly to hold my hand and help me find my center.

When I lean too far to the left – as I try to overcompensate for these kids having to say goodbye to their friends and family – I need him here to guide me back to “still”.

When my legs get shaky and I can’t seem to find my balance because I’m overwhelmed with the to-do list, I need his hands to steady me.

When I’m just in need of someone to hold me up because I’m exhausted, I need my life-blood to be on real time, not 9.5 hours ahead of me in his day/night.

Don’t get me wrong

The kids and I are having a BLAST celebrating holidays, birthdays, splashing in the pool, having a grand ole’ time during these final weeks of being ‘state-side’ … but in reality, I want more than anything for HIM to be along for this ride.  Nothing is making it more apparent and in-my-face than spending our last two weeks with HIS family.  Laughter, memories and great photos.

He should be here.

My ability to keep the wobble board upright is slowly waning … it actually has been for quite awhile now.  I just have been trying my hardest to pretend that it’s all ok.

My new phrase that my kidlets are T.I.R.E.D. of hearing by now is “Momma is doing the best she possibly can.”

Don’t put me on a pedestal or covet this new adventure.  I’m just a girl … doing the best she can … who misses her husband. Somethin’ awful.

Karva Chauth

In the ancient time, girls used to get married at a very early stage, and went to live with their in-laws in other villages. After marriage, if she faces any problem with her in-laws or her husband, she would have no one to talk to or seek support from. There used to be no telephones, buses and trains long ago. Her own parents and relatives would be quite far and unreachable. Thus the custom started that, at the time of marriage, when bride would reach her in-laws, she would befriend another woman there who would be her friend or sister for life. It would be like god-friends or god-sisters. Their friendship would be sanctified through a small Hindu ceremony right during the marriage.

(How cool is that?  A friendship between women, sanctified … )

Once the bride and this woman had become god-friends or god-sisters, they would remain so all their lives and recognize the relation as such. They would also treat each other like real sisters.

Later in life, if she faces any difficulty related to her husband or in-laws, she would be able to confidently talk or seek help from each other. Thus, Karva Chauth (also referred to as Karwa Chauth) was started to as a festival to celebrate this relationship between the once-brides and their god-friends (god-sisters). Along the way, and much later, Karva Chauth became a ritual of fasting observed by married Hindu women seeking the long life, well-being and prosperity of their husbands.

Married women keep a strict fast and do not take even a drop of water. It is the most important and difficult fast observed by married Hindu women. It begins before sunrise and ends only after offering prayers and worshiping the moon at night. No food or water can be taken after sunrise. The fast is broken once the moon is sighted and rituals of the day have been performed. At night when the moon appears, women break their fast after offering water to the moon.

I spent a day with two dear friends and we all got mehendi at a local crafts market.  It was great fun and even MORE fun to read up on the history of this festival and celebration. What better way to get “inked” for a celebration marking the importance of friendships than to have done it with those ladies!

I did NOT fast today, for the benefit of all around me although it has no bearing on the degree of love that I have for my dear Husb!

Tradition says that the darker the color on your palm the more your husband loves you! And the darker the color on the back of your hand, the more your mother in law loves you!

Mimi, although the color on the back of my hand isn’t nearly as dark as my palm, I won’t take that tradition too seriously  :)

Right about now (Delhi time) as the sun is setting, I imagine there are hordes of women … all looking for the moon.  Unfortunately, I can’t venture out to snap photos or experience this because the littles and homework are calling my name.  I hope for the sake of the ladies fasting, that the moon comes out soon!

Burn, baby, burn – Navratri and Dussehra

We’ve just seen the conclusion of the 10 day fasting, rituals, festivals and celebrations called Navratri. I may not be explaining all of this correctly, so if any of my readers have a better explanation, I welcome it! This festival honors the “win” of Lord Rama over the demon Ravana. During the 10 days of festival, an Indian worships Shakti (power) and by doing so, attains three-fold powers (physical, mental and spiritual) which then enable one to progress in life with ease.

The ‘Ramlila’ – an enactment of the life of Lord Rama, is held during the nine days preceding Dussehra. On the tenth day (Dussehra or Vijay Dasami), larger than life effigies of Ravana, his son and brother – Meghnadh and Kumbhakarna are set to fire.

Dussehra Navatri Effigy Delhi India

The theatrical enactment of this dramatic encounter is held throughout the country in which every section of people participates enthusiastically.In burning the effigies the people are asked to burn the evil within them, and thus follow the path of truth and goodness, bearing in mind the instance of Ravana, who despite all his might and majesty was destroyed for his evil ways.

Dussehra Navatri Delhi India  Dussehra Navatri Delhi India  Dussehra Navatri Delhi India

Terran and I headed out to see this wonderful celebration (but unfortunately had to head home before they started burning the effigies so no photos!)

Terran and I also visited the Malai Mandir temple, and I have to admit that I really had (and still don’t) no idea what was going on, or what was being accomplished.  We were graciously invited to participate in the offering of coconut, bananas and rupees to the gods, after which those offerings (minus the money) was burned, and the ashes brought round to everyone to place on their foreheads (using only your ring finger, we learned).

Even though I don’t understand the rituals, it was a beautiful thing to participate in, watch and experience.

If there is nothing else I take home from our experiences in India, it is how gracious the people we encounter are.  GRACIOUS.  It’s a hard word for me and doesn’t often fit into my vocabulary.  I’m out for myself most days.  If you happen to fit into my days’ plans, wonderful.  If you don’t, then please kindly step aside.

There ARE moments of encounters that would not be described as gracious, but for the most part … it feels like the good ole’ midwest and the friendliness and kindness that I grew up with. 

People that may have so much less than I do, yet possess so much more in the way of honor, tradition, kindness … and graciousness.


National Rail Museum in New Delhi, India

Nearly every day on our way to somewhere while living in India, we passed the “Train Museum.”  It was barely 5 minutes from our house and while driving on an overpass, the kids could see the trains down below.  “Momma, Momma, can we PLEASE go to the train museum today?”
National Rail Museum, New Delhi India

[Can you read that?  Entrance fees were Rs. 10 for me and Rs. 3 for each of the kids … grand total of $0.33 USD to get in]
We had kind of forgotten to eat a filling lunch before we left, so we followed the signs to the “Canteen” and had a little snack of chips and lemonade.
The Joy Train looked fun, so we took a little spin [a bit more expensive than the entrance fee … but how do you beat these prices?]

The great thing about the National Rail Museum is that there are loads of green spaces that the kids could just run … it wasn’t crowded … it was so crazy reasonable to experience an afternoon (less than $3.00 USD total WITH snacks) … and it’s SO close to the house!

One of my favorite trains ::


We will definitely be back to the National Rail Museum.  Next time we go, we’ll spend more time in the building that houses the history of the trains in India.  Fascinating and really a cool set of displays!
If you live in Delhi, it really should be on your “must do list”, no matter the ages of your children!  You can even pack a lunch and have a picnic on the greens … bring a blanket!